The economic impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. In the face of closings and changing consumer behavior, businesses around the world have had to adapt to rapidly changing economic circumstances.
At HubSpot they present a report that addresses the questions that we all ask ourselves: what next? What should we change regarding our strategy, and what can continue, business as always? If we have to make changes, where should we invest our resources and focus?
It can be difficult to have a clear idea of how the market is changing in real time. There are a lot of headlines about the current state of business, but reliable data showing how behaviors are changing week after week are few and far between.
In the interesting Hubspot report they look for some specific reference points. We analyze aggregated data from its global customer base of more than 70,000 companies to understand how business metrics are changing as the world grapples with the global pandemic.
From now until the end of June, Hubspot plans to update this insight based on additional business metrics such as website traffic, sending emails and opening rates, sales commitments, closing rates, and more. While it is too early to make definitive predictions, we hope that you will set useful benchmarks against which to measure your business and serve as an early indicator of when short or long term adjustments to your strategy may be necessary. You can sign up to receive notifications of new statistics here.
* The spread of COVID-19 has had a different timeline in different regions, so we are using the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 as our “official” start date.
NOTE: Because data is aggregated from HubSpot customer companies, please note that individual companies, including those from HubSpot, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, setting, and / or other factors.
Buyers search for and interact with businesses today more than a month ago. This is at least in part due to the fact that home stay orders and business closings have driven many online transactions out of necessity, but it shows that, for now, shoppers are still looking to participate.
However, the volume of business creation has decreased, a decrease that will affect the sales forecasts of most companies. Responses to sales scope have also decreased, suggesting that sales strategies need to be adjusted to reflect the current buying reality.
External factors such as budgets and industry-specific impacts of COVID-19 will inevitably affect sales cycles, but the data suggests that companies have an opportunity to attract and engage interested customers.
The number of closed closed deals won and new offers created are decreasing.
As economic uncertainty has led many companies to reevaluate their financial health, we saw the number of closed businesses drop. The volume of new deals has also declined: As a primary indicator of the health of the sales pipeline, this metric indicates that effective prospecting is more important than ever.
The weekly average of offers created decreased globally by 17% the week of March 16 and fell 23% in the week of March 30, compared to previous world averages for those weeks. Region-specific data is included below.
Now let’s look at the behavior by region:
EMEA: Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
LATAM: Latin america.
NAM: US and Canada.
The number of closed trade deals decreased globally from previous weekly first quarter averages by 21%, with the most notable decline also occurring after the week of March 16.
Your website is an important source of business right now.
Customers are initiating more business interactions today than they were a year ago, and are investigating more online.
Average monthly website traffic increased by 13% in March compared to February.
Weekly chat volume via site chat and Facebook Messenger increased 5% after March 16, based on global weekly averages for the first quarter.
Marketing and sales teams sent significantly more emails in March. However, engagement with marketing emails only increased, suggesting that there is an opportunity to improve reach and connect with the right buyers at the right time.
The scope of sales has increased, but responses are decreasing.
Sales teams were significantly more active in March, but buyers were less committed to sales content. The lower response rate at scope was ultimately reflected in lower turnover.
On a weekly basis, companies sent 23% more sales emails ** the week of March 16 compared to previous weekly averages in the first quarter.
The response rate to those emails began to drop the first week of March, with a total decrease of 27% in March compared to February.
The reach of the commercialization, the opening rates and the growth of the database have increased since the beginning of the crisis.
Email open rates increased in March despite a significant jump in sending volume. Corporate communications that carry COVID-19 related messages likely contributed to some of the growth in email volume, and we expect this metric to change over time. Encouragingly, the average number of contacts added to HubSpot’s customer portals increased over the same time period.
Average marketing email volume increased 29% the week of March 16, while open rates increased 53% the same week. Throughout the month, the open rate increased by 21% overall.
The weekly average number of contacts added per portal increased by 51% after March 16, based on global weekly averages for the first quarter.
While this is initial data, some opportunities have already emerged for companies.
Focus on education, not promotion.
The increase in website traffic, buyer-initiated conversations, and marketing email open rates suggest that customers are still trying to engage with companies.
Your clients may be more interested in learning and education right now. The Hubspot website has also seen an increase in visits to educational resources.
Rather than branding the promotion of your products and services during a crisis, an approach that may be callous to your customer base, focus on nurturing the long-term relationship. Identify where you can help your customers today, without asking for anything in return.
The data shows that chat volume has been increasing steadily in the past two months, and we believe this number is likely to continue to grow. Conversational marketing offers a real-time way to answer customer questions, as well as automate the lead routing process so that your business can serve existing and potential customers even when your team is out of the office.
Depending on your company’s sales process, a drop in new opportunities today may not affect your company’s profit and loss statement until several months from now. Many companies will need to rethink what prospecting looks like to strengthen their portfolio over the long term.
Operationally, regularly adjust your sales projections to reflect potentially extended sales cycles or a smaller deal size so that the forecasts remain accurate. Just a touch of process (or improvements to existing processes) goes a long way in creating a clear image of your business over time.
In individual calls, encourage your team to emphasize a helpful and consultative sales approach. Certain factors, such as your customers’ budget and willingness to engage in sales conversations at this time, are beyond your control. Rather than cold calling your entire database, use your knowledge of your customers’ industries to prioritize contact with:
We hope that these benchmarks provide useful context as you monitor the health of your business in the coming months.