The Daily Briefing: April 30, 2020

April 30, 2020

Jackie Goudreault

Today’s Daily Briefing marked the last day of April, and over a month of data and insights delivered to you every weekday morning. Thank you for tuning in!

Jim Benton was joined today by Roque Versace, CRO of Troops. They discussed top-performing segments, and how Sales Tech can maintain their momentum.

Here are the numbers:

  • Sales Productivity Across Segments: Sales Tech meetings are way up. +14% above pre-COVID levels and +17% week over week. Most Companies are still down an average of 7% across most segments when compared to pre-COVID levels, but are up at least 7% on average week over week

  • Sales Productivity Across Markets: Meeting volume is up across all market geos week over week, including the Bay Area (+10%) and NY (+5%)

  • Prospecting Activity: Overall cold call dials are down 34% since March, up 7% week over week. Relative Connect Rate is up 11% since last week

  • First Meeting Activity: First meeting volume up slightly (2%) week over week for Account Executives, up 4% since pre-COVID

Before they dug into the data surrounding top-performing segments and how Sales Tech can maintain their momentum, they focused on the human impact of COVID-19.

Sharing anecdotes of how they are spending their time, and how fatigue is hitting home, they each shared optimism for when the markets open back up. They also shared enthusiasm for companies that are adapting to a “service and support first” approach.

Revenue teams are getting creative. #

For example, Troops developed a Work From Home pack. This allows companies to try Troops for 60 days - for free. “When you join as CRO, you have a revenue target that the board wants you to hit. A 60-day trial isn’t something you’re going to do right out of the gate. But we were seeing prospects who loved the product, but had a hard time articulating the value,” said Roque. “Now they have 60-days to try it for themselves and truly see the value.”

They needed to get creative. “I’m happy we did it now,” he added, “but I wish we had done it a long time ago.”

Ultimately, it’s about supporting people and delivering value now. “It’s why we created the Daily Briefing,” said Jim, “to provide insights and help, but also to stay connected.”

Sales Tech meetings are way up, more creative and better selling #

The Sales Tech segment is +14% above pre-COVID levels and +17% week over week.

Chorus’s data was very much in line with what Roque was seeing. He shared that there were a few variables that led to Troops’ increase.

“There are two variables at play for us,” he said, “We’re having more conversations with active prospects, and we’re offering something better than before.”

Because they have developed a 60-day free trial, they are having a lot more conversations overall. “The offer is much more apparent,” Roque said. “We’re having more conversations with active prospects. They’re making a choice to work with us, so we are being proactive. We want them to feel like we’re an extension of their team, which drives a lot of meetings.”

And they are exploring new use cases that organically pop up. He shared that they’ve used Chorus for market intelligence; their marketing team listened to rep calls to hear what they’re actually saying. “It’s not a traditional use case, but it’s been incredibly helpful for us,” Roque said. Similarly, they’re finding that people are using Troops in unique ways that they hadn’t until this time.

“We’re doing better, consultative and strategic selling overall,” he said.

Learnings from the last downturn #

“We’ve both been through the last downturn,” said Jim. “What are your big learnings from that time?”

“The bust was more painful for the tech industry than the financial bust,” said Roque. “I think we’ll look back and say that ‘I wish we had been more confident.’ Let’s not let this scare us down. Tech stock prices are at an all-time high right now. It’s hard humanity-wise to see unemployment at an all-time high.

But I think the market says we’re going to get through this, and the ones who don’t chicken out will be fine.”

How did meeting volume change since last week in major markets

How did meeting volume change since last week in major markets?

Meeting volume is up across all market geos, including the Bay Area and NY #

It’s really about how quickly that things get back to normal - and what “normal looks like”. They discussed work and sales travel.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of travel over the next year,” said Roque. Before there's a vaccine, companies will likely be more conservative with travel.

They agree that one change will likely stick. “I think a lot of laptop workers are going to be hesitant to come back to the office,” said Roque.

In-person meetings will take a turn as well, but it’s not clear in which direction. “There has been a trend over the past few years to get in person,” said Roque. “Perhaps it comes back stronger because people miss it.”

Jim agreed. “We want to have experiential meetings with our buyers, and build trust and relationships outside of the office,” he said. “I think we’re hungry to do that.”

Overall cold call dials are down 34% since March, up 7% week over week. Relative Connect Rate is up 11% since last week #

Before COVID-19, Troops was working double time. “We averaged 90 calls a day per rep, which I think is high,” Roque said. “But the calls weren’t great. Now we’re doing a lot less calling, and they’re a bit warmer than pure cold.”

It seems that most people are doing more personal, targeted outreach than simply pure cold outreach.

“The thing is,” said Jim, “connect rates are up. So people are open to talking right now. The authenticity of these calls has changed. And somehow with cold calls down, first meetings are up too. We’re seeing new behaviors in the market.”

Roque agreed. “I do get the feeling that people aren’t rushing you off the phone during meetings than they used to. This is completely anecdotal,” he clarified, “but if they’re talking to you in the first place - in this climate - they’re more willing to dig in. They’re more interested in meaningful conversations. People are more focused.”

Markets, behaviors, and messaging have changed since January. Companies are adapting and doing what they can to meet these new challenges head-on. For Troops, Roque said they’re trying not to lead into the fear and panic.

“We try not to over-index and do the COVID alarm. We’re built for remote anyway,” said Roque, “so we have selected what area of our product would be especially helpful for our people today.”

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