The Daily Briefing: April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

Jackie Goudreault

In today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Grayson Cooper, Head of Sales at, to discuss prospecting in the COVID-19 era. Chorus data shows a lagging cold call dials and discovery conversations, while connect rates and first meetings hold relatively steady.

Here are the numbers:

  • 38% drop in cold calls since January, but at a slower pace week over week
  • Cold call connect rates continue to hover between 9% - 10%, relatively stable since pre-COVID
  • Discovery calls are down 25% from the same time last year (start of Q2)

Before launching into the data, Grayson shared his experience with a new, fully-remote team and how his sports background has given him a helpful perspective: Offence/Defence patterns.

Like many revenue teams, COVID-19 forced’s SDR team to work remotely for the first time. This shift has yielded some surprises along the way.

Specifically, how the market has changed and how their teams are adapting to support them.

When it comes to managing remote teams and getting them up to speed quickly, Grayson has some tactical advice. “Don’t miss out on what you’re used to seeing in the office. Daily standups have been helpful,” Grayson said. “It’s a chance to have that coffee conversation that’s crucial to having healthy relationships with your team.”

38% drop in cold calls since January, but connect rates are holding steady #

There has been - and continues to be - a significant drop off in cold call dials since the beginning of the year. The key here is that connect rates are holding fairly steady, even at the lowest rate since COVID-19.

Other things equal, cold calling is as effective now as it was before.

When asked if this reflects what Grayson has seen on his now virtual sales floor, he agreed it does. “People are figuring out how to work from home, how to have the right conversations with the right people. Dials definitely took a hit while we were adjusting,” he explained. “It took a second, but now they’re coming back.”

“We’re seeing ppl put more heart into these calls,” said Jim. “Any change to your message and approach in these cold calls?”

No matter what, cold calling is a gamble. “You’re making a gamble now more than ever,” said Grayson, “because there’s a lot more stress. There’s a lot more pressure. You’ve got to approach it with genuine questions. Ask if this is something they actually need right now, and understand if the time isn’t right. You have to lead from the heart.”

Motivating your team to be more productive in adjusting and uncertain economy is another challenge revenue teams are facing. Grayson says that this is when revenue teams need to lean on innovation and creativity.

“Anytime there is a lot of change, there’s a lot of innovation. Each year, our teams analyze what’s working and who they’re talking to. If it yields the right approach, implement more iterations.”

Among fine-tuning your approaches, Grayson recommends using this opportunity in time to experiment. “Allow your team to be more creative in their experimentations,” he said. “I like to think of it like an offense-defense pattern. What’s working with the team? Where should we invest our money? There is an opportunity for us to be successful and capture a lot of market.”

Is it impacting initial conversation

Is it impacting initial conversations?

People continue to take meetings, still interested in engaging #

AEs are continuing to schedule and attend meetings. After a slight dip at the end of Q1, saw a slight uptick towards pre-COVID meeting levels at the start of Q2.

Grayson’s team is seeing this too. It took some time, but is seeing success after retargeting and shifting focus. “People that are buying now are buying because they truly need it and they need it right now,” said Grayson. “There’s a lot of buying pressure right now. If you know where it is, there’s a lot of opportunity.”

At the start of Q2, discovery calls are down 25% from the same time last year. #

Discovery calls are down slightly at the start of Q2 vs. pre-COVID - and significantly down YoY - but are up slightly week over week. They are fluctuating since the beginning of 2020, but are well below the baseline.

Grayson offers two explanations for this: one macro, one micro.

“On the macro level,” he said, “sales as an industry is figuring out how to do discovery differently.” People are trying to be more effective at getting in front of the right prospects. It’s challenging for the entire industry.

“On the micro-level, “right now we could be doing discovery and buying conversations in the same conversation. What could’ve been a discovery call looks very different than it did a few months ago.”

Lead with the heart #

Grayson left us with this advice for sales leaders:

“Lead with heart. With your prospects and customers, and with your own team. Allow them to feel the stress of this situation, and give them the room to do it. Maybe they need an hour to go for a walk. Give them flexibility to make them feel comfortable. Anyone who feels backed against a wall may not be as productive.”

Are sales processes changing in response to the crisis

Are sales processes changing in response to the crisis?

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