The Daily Briefing: April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

Jackie Goudreault

On today’s Daily Briefing, Jim Benton was joined by Jenn Haskell, the Director of Sales Enablement at Everbridge. They discussed how companies are enabling their sales teams to address the current climate and prepare for the eventual acceleration.

Here are the numbers:

  • Overall cold call dials are down 35% since January
  • Connect rates are holding steady
  • Timeline risk mentions are below peak, but still far above pre-COVID levels
  • Employment risks are up since the beginning of March. RIF is up 121% and “Not Hiring” is up 151%

Before diving into the data, Jim and Jenn discussed the unique role that sales enablement plays in setting companies up for success.

“It’s an evolving category,” said Jim. “What role does sales enablement play in the current crisis?”

Jenn responded: onboarding and training. “We are hiring and we’re making sure that everyone is getting an optimal onboarding experience. We are also treating existing sales reps as new onboards to continue to help them feel connected; not just with me, but with new hires as well.”

When it comes to messaging, Jenn said that Sales Enablement at Everbridge has pivoted like never before; releasing a lot of new content and creating reactionary trainings. “We like to be proactive,” she said, “but our reps had to be ready and had to be on message. We did a lot more than we would have normally because it’s top priority right now.”

Jenn shared a feeling familiar to many right now: surprise at the immense productivity of teams working from home. “I’ve been surprised at how everyone has been able to be agile and be able to pivot,” she said. No one has worked harder in their lives.

I wonder what will happen in the corporate world after this because it’s clear that you don’t have to have brick and mortar to be productive. It’s amazing how much more effective everyone is being.”

Adapting prospecting in the age of COVID-19 #

Chorus’s data shows that overall cold call dials are down 35% since January, though even week over week. Connect rates are holding steady, only slightly below pre-COVID levels. This implies that cold calls are as effective as they have been, but the dials themselves are down. Jim and Jenn explored why this is, and how to reverse this trend.

“We are starting to change the way that we are conducting outreach,” she said. “We’re trying not to rely only on cold calling. People aren’t in the office so the phone numbers we have right now aren’t allowing us to connect. I think we’re going to see a big shift and connect in different ways outside of just dials.”

Jenn offered some advice she gives her teams.

“Don't get discouraged,” she said. “Go back to basics and connect in any way that you can. We might even be seeing opportunities to have a quick Zoom meeting to have that first connection, who knows? Trust the process and try new things.”

Keeping teams motivated is a key priority for managers, especially now.

Jenn shared her tactics to keep her teams engaged:

For calls:

  1. Let’s always start our calls with that human element
  2. Don’t prospect right away, make a connection first

For team morale:

  1. Virtual social every Thursday
  2. Send the team lunches on lunch & learns and meetings
How Explicitly Prominent is Covid 19 on sales calls

How explicitly prominent is COVID-19 on sales calls?

Leverage your champion and economic buyer to handle increase timeline and employment risks #

Timeline risk mentions are below peak, but still far above pre-COVID levels. Jenn was not surprised.

“We have to know our buyers will always assume risk no matter what is happening,” she said. “Choosing a solution could make or break your career. There’s always a risk, it’s just now elevated to the next level.”

Her key advice: Make sure to understand the difference between your champion and your actual economic buyer. “If they see the ROI on your solution they can fight for the budget at this time,” Jenn said.

Employment risk mentions have increased week over week. Since the beginning of March, RIF is up 121% and “Not Hiring” is up 151%

Jenn shared her experience from the 2008 economic crisis.

“When one door closes, another door opens,” she said. We can’t control the market, but we can control our behavior. “What can you do in this time to expose yourself to something different?”

After much of the staff was let go from Kronos in the Great Recession, she went back to get her master's degree. “Try to do something for yourself, the company, or the industry,” explained Jenn.

Ending on a high note, Jenn offered optimism for the future of the market and of sales.

“I’m a half glass full kind of person,” she said. “Companies that have been future-proofing for a while will come out okay.”

How are deals being affected due to the crisis

How are deals being affected due to the crisis?

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