The Daily Briefing: April 9, 2020

April 9, 2020

Shawn Parrotte

In today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Thiago Sa Freire, SVP of Sales & Customer Success at Hudl. They discussed Chorus’s latest data which shows that executives are continuing to be active in buying and selling conversations, even after the quarter. And that extended terms continue to be a topic of discussion.

Here are the numbers:

  • Sales leaders join 50% more calls than before COVID-19 began
  • Buying-side leaders join 30% more meetings than before COVID-19 began
  • Traditional 30-day payment terms have dropped to just 61% of the time (almost 10 points lower than the same week last year)

Sales leaders continue to join customer calls, even after quarter end #

Sales leaders are appearing on 50% more calls than before COVID-19 began. Executives joined 73% more calls last week, up from 70% in the final week of the quarter.

“What we’re looking at,” said Jim, “is how directors and C-level executives are participating in selling conversations.” As we kicked off into Q2, we continued to see a significant increase in executive involvement. “[Executive meeting attendance] is actually 72% higher than baseline. Overall 50% baseline after quarter close last week alone.”

Thiago said that they’re seeing this at Hudl as well. “There are timing and budget conversations happening earlier than before, and considering there is a lower volume of deals happening, we’re able to join more meetings.”

Hudl is in a unique space: Sports. Hudl works with sports teams across the world to provide performance analysis, changing the way coaches and athletes prepare for and stay ahead of the competition. Making sure that they’re supporting their teams and their customers while everyone adjusts to this is a top priority for Hudl.

“Sports have been impacted, schools have been impacted,” said Thiago. “We are focusing first and foremost on the customer. The types of conversations we’re enabling are webinars that are localized across the world and expert chats that are one-on-one - all to ensure we’re engaging with our customers. We’re also providing resources about how coaches can continue to coach remotely.”

Executive involvement goes broader than simply joining meetings, Thiago explained. “We want to be the positive voice among all the uncertainty we’re having - that sports will come back stronger than ever.”

Buying-side leaders join 30% more meetings than before COVID-19 #

Leaders are continuing to join more conversations on the buying side - around 30% more often than before COVID-19. We are seeing more stakeholders on calls from both the buying and selling side.

“Not just executives!” Added Thiago, “It’s how budgets are working right now. They’re all being rolled up to the most executive number.”

It also comes down to the state of the deal. There tends to be more executive involvement in deals where more risk is being mentioned, Thiago explained. “We’ve seen a spike in risk in our conversations. As risk increases, there’s more pressure to include execs.”

The Daily Briefing Sales Leaders Joining More Customer Meetings

Director and executive level management joining significantly more sales meetings.

Conversations continue to shift heavily towards longer terms #

In early March, 30 day terms were being discussed nearly 77% of the time. That has now dropped to just 61% of the time. For the same week last year, 30 days was holding at 70%

“Payment terms have seen a big shift,” said Jim. “Are you coaching your team on how to work through these tough conversations?”

Thiago explained that Hudl is making proactive adjustments. “We went as far as to extend payment terms proactively. My advice is to understand the time we’re in right now. Build relationships with your customers to know where they’re coming from. We have to be more flexible.”

This approach speaks to a pivot from automated sequencing to a more empathetic approach. “How do we shift teams from automated to authentic?” asked Jim.

Hudl is doing this right now. “We’re going through a retraining process with new talk tracks in four key areas,” Thiago said.

Here are Thiago and Hudl’s four key areas in their new talk tracks to address the new normal:

  1. Lead with empathy
  2. Remain confident in product and solution
  3. Show how we can overcome challenges of today and the future
  4. Soften CTAs depending upon conversations

“By retraining your team to address the new normal, you have to think deeply about the problem you’re trying to solve,” Jim added. “And the solution you offer.”

Ending on a High Note #

Thiago is optimistic for the future of sports, and the future of sales. “You’re going to really see who your top people are. Each person at every role in has an opportunity to show up and be the best they can be.”

When asked whether this new normal will stick around, Thiago offered his perspective. “We have to weather the storm right now. But I’m a big believer that there’s going to be a new normal after this, and we’ll be able to decide what that new normal will look like.”

The Daily Briefing Longer Payment Terms Discussed

The shift to discussing extended terms has persisted, even after the close of Q1.

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