The Digital Ninja Club News Aggregation service has sourced the following article originally published on HubSpot:
For the last few months, businesses around the world have had to rapidly adapt to the impact of COVID-19.
In a time where it seems like things change every day, it can be difficult to gauge whether the challenges your business is facing are widespread.
That’s why we’re publishing week-over-week benchmark data for core business metrics like website traffic, email send and open rates, sales engagements, close rates, and more. These core metrics are split by region, company size, and industry cuts, so you can explore data for companies most similar to yours. You can find the data, and more context on the dataset and sources, here.
Because the data is aggregated from our customer base, please keep in mind that individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, may differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage, and/or other factors.
These insights are refreshed every Thursday morning ET, and will be accompanied by this short writeup. You can find past writeups using this timeline.
We hope to establish useful benchmarks to measure your business against, and serve as an early indicator of when short- or long-term adjustments may be needed in your strategy.
What We’re Seeing
Here are the three key takeaways from the most recent week’s data:
1. Deals closed rise significantly as May comes to an end. Deal creation remains flat with NORTHAM experiencing a small setback.
Last week, we were deeply concerned that the positive momentum we were seeing for deals closed was lost. This turned out to be an aberration, as this week we saw a 24% increase in deals closed and posted the most deals closed-won since pre-COVID. Both the APAC and LATAM regions had a positive week, and are now at or just below the benchmark for deals closed. The industries leading the charge with the most closed-won deals last week were computer software, consumer goods, and manufacturing. They’re all now sitting at or just below the benchmark as we come to the end of May.
On the other hand, global deal creation didn’t gain momentum last week hanging at 12% below pre-COVID levels. NORTHAM recorded an 8% drop in deal creation as every other region either saw an increase in deals created or remained consistent with the week of May 18. As the initial reaction to current events settle and more states in the U.S. continue to reopen their economies, we’ll look for this metric to bounce back in the coming weeks.
The drop in deals created affected nearly all industries, except human resources and entertainment, which both saw small increases last week but are still below pre-COVID levels. As of now, the only industry that’s trending above the benchmark is construction, which sits 16% above pre-COVID levels. Consumer goods, computer software, and manufacturing have all fallen back below the benchmark after trending slightly above it in early May. These industries are now roughly 10% below pre-COVID levels. They’re still in a safe spot and are positioned nicely to have positive performances in June.
2. Sales teams send fewer emails, email engagement continues to grow slowly, and marketing metrics remain strong.
While sales email volume is still trending 39% above the benchmark, it’s dropped 18% in the last two weeks. Sales teams sent fewer emails as they seemed to be focused on closing deals toward the end of May. Accordingly, email engagement increased 3% last week and continues to be on a slow — but steady — rise since late April. It’s now sitting at 26% below pre-COVID levels.
After increases in early May, call prospecting continues to drop recording a 6% decrease following the Memorial Day holiday in the US. It’s now fallen back to 22% below pre-COVID averages as reps continue to struggle with connecting on multiple channels as well as bringing a balanced approach to outreach efforts. This is consistent across all company sizes and fairly consistent across global business regions. The only region that made more sales calls last was EMEA, which saw a 7% increase but this region is still making fewer calls than any other.
While the number of meetings booked fell for the second week in a row, it’s sitting significantly above pre-COVID levels. Currently, meetings are trending 16% above the benchmark and have been above it since early April. As more businesses open up and companies master the art of social distancing, we should expect sales teams to continue booking online or in-person meetings as an effective way to engage their customers.
Email marketing continues to be an effective channel for communication as open rates last week remained consistent with the week of May 18 and are still trending 15% above pre-COVID levels. Marketers did send fewer emails — likely due to the holiday weekend — but, despite this 6% dip, email volume still remains far above the benchmark at 26%. All of the industries we’re tracking are trending above pre-COVID levels, except for travel which seems to be sending fewer emails compared to the rest.
Other marketing channels, like customer-initiated conversations and web activity, are showing strong numbers as well. The number of conversations initiated last week increased 6% and reached a year-high at 43% above the benchmark. Customers are clearly embracing live chat as this marks the seventh week in a row where global conversations have increased. Website activity is also performing well even though it has trended downward over the past two weeks. It still sits well above the benchmark at 17%.
3. In the United States, sales and marketing metrics fall during Memorial Day weekend.
After three weeks of steady performance, deal creation fell 11% last week and is now sitting at 16% below pre-COVID levels. Though deals closed did improve last week compared to the previous one, it’s still trending 15% below the benchmark. Sales email volume dropped 14% while response rates dipped slightly at just 1%. Although sales email volume has dipped over the past few weeks, sales teams are still sending significantly more emails than they were before COVID-19. Response rates have remained steady since April, but continue to trend well below the benchmark.
Marketing metrics took a small hit in the U.S., but overall remained positive compared to pre-COVID levels. Even though Memorial Day dug slightly into email volume, U.S. consumers are still engaging with this type of content. Open rates are consistent with the week of May 18 and are holding at 15% above pre-COVID levels. Email send volume dropped 9% last week, but is still 25% above the benchmark.
Web traffic took a slight dip in the U.S., falling 4% last week. Despite this, U.S. websites are still seeing a lot of traffic and are trending 19% above the benchmark. Conversations followed a similar path, dropping 4% last week but remain 25% above pre-COVID levels. Marketers should continue to lean on these channels as they keep searching for more conversion opportunities.
What This Means for Businesses
Sales teams need to reinvent how they prospect.
While buyer engagement reaches all-time highs, sales results have not come close to seeing a corresponding increase, suggesting that salespeople are reaching out to poor-fit prospects. This month has seen improvements in deal pipeline metrics compared to March and early April, an encouraging sign that more businesses are reentering buying processes — but it’s too early to tell how much of this growth will be sustained. For now, it’s a safe bet that your sales team should continue prioritizing high-interest, good-fit buyers rather than indiscriminately prospecting.
Resources to Help
- Refresh your email outreach with these sales templates.
- Start using video in your sales outreach to engage more prospects.
- Use this guide to increase your sales close rates.
- Lead with empathy in sales emails to build rapport and increase response rates.
Free Software to Get Started
- HubSpot CRM is free and comes with included advertising and sales acceleration tools, including free 1:1 video, meetings, and chatbot tools
- Gmail and Google Calendar integrations with HubSpot
- Zoom integration with HubSpot
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration with HubSpot
- Check out what HubSpot’s app partners are offering at this time with this list of relief initiatives
Consider whether online advertising is a fit for your business.
The significant dip in advertising spend tells us that many businesses have paused their ad campaigns either temporarily or indefinitely. There’s an opportunity for companies to enter a more affordable market. Whether or not this approach is right for your company entirely depends on your audience and offering, but if online ads work for your business, now may be a good time to un-pause campaigns.
Resources to Help
- Get up to speed on using Facebook Lead Ads with this beginner’s guide to building audiences and ads
- Read our ultimate guide to online advertising
- Plan your investment with this guide to budgeting for advertising
- Set up and run campaigns using HubSpot Ads, Facebook Lead Ads, or Google Ads
Invest in employees.
The last few weeks have been a volatile time for both business owners and employees. The HubSpot Research team surveyed over 1,000 consumers on their company’s COVID-19 response, and found that 33% were likely or very likely to look for a new job in the next six months. Of that group, 77% rated work-life balance as “important” or “very important” in deciding what job to take. Burnout, already a concern pre-COVID for workers around the globe, will be even more important for employers to guard against as the pandemic progresses.
In addition, violence and racial injustice has hit a point of crisis in the United States and exacerbated the strain on many. This acute confluence of factors makes this an incredibly complex and important time for workplace culture. Because of this, we’re dedicating this week’s Adapt series entirely to how companies can support employees in times of crisis.
Join this week’s Adapt 2020 webinar to learn how to serve your employees better in times of uncertainty.
Resources for Company Culture
- Read our ultimate guide to company culture
- Understand employee sentiment with these survey questions
- Improve team communication with these tried-and-true tactics
- Learn how employee happiness leads to higher productivity
Resources to Support Your Employees of Color
- Become an action-oriented ally with these tips.
- Read about Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement.
- Watch this video on how studying privilege can strengthen compassion.
- Get involved with the Anti-Racism Project.
Learn more about HubSpot by visiting their website.