What a million sales conversations reveal about the COVID-19 crisis

Salesken.ai
Posted by Salesken.ai on May 6, 2020 1:33:16 PM

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all facets of everyday lives. It is no surprise then, that it has also impacted sales in a big way. For many sales teams - there has been a disruption to their way of working and their pipelines, as their customers grapple with the crisis.

What impact would this have on sales conversations? At Salesken.ai we have the benefit of assisting and analyzing almost 1 million minutes of sales conversations every month. Our customers include companies in Education, Software, and the Financial Services industries. And their buyers are both businesses and consumers. 

Here’s a few interesting insights to come out of our analysis

COVID-19 has dominated all sales conversations from March 10

Almost in line with the world’s interest in the Coronavirus epidemic, mentions of the virus spiked in sales conversations on our platform from Mar-10. Look at this chart of the number of mentions of coronavirus* per day on our platform.

Coronavirus mentions in Sales conversations

*For the purpose of this research, we looked for mentions of any virus related terms like “COVID, virus, pandemic,       epidemic, lockdown, etc” and took the average of their mentions per day.

 

No surprises really, but it does show, how much the crisis has taken over sales conversations 

Sales Reps tend to talk about the epidemic a lot more than their customers

We split the mentions of the Coronavirus by Reps and their Customers. This threw up our first surprise.

Coronavirus mentions by rep and customersWhile there was an overall spike in mentions of the COVID-19 epidemic, it seemed that Sales Reps were mentioning it a lot more than their customers were (sometimes almost 3-4x more in a day). This may be due to an attempt to display empathy on the reps’ part. However, if you or your sales team is talking about something 4 times more than your customer, it’s unlikely to be a good thing.

There has been a smaller yet sizable spike in mentions of an economic recession

It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to a massive humanitarian crisis but our attempts to fight the spread of the virus, have also led to economic slowdown and uncertainty.

We looked at the mentions of the economy* on our platform for the same period (Mar 1 to Apr 30). And there was a spike in mentions about it from Apr-1. While the spike was not as steep as the one for coronavirus, the mentions continue to rise as of May 2nd. 

Economy mentions in sales conversations

*For the purpose of this research, we looked for mentions of any economy-related terms like “economy, recession,  slowdown, downturn etc” and took the average of their mentions per day.

 

It’s interesting how the conversation between sales reps and customers seems to be moving from the epidemic to the economic situation. (An economic downturn may be a more clear and present concern for many people). 

Customers tend to talk more about the economy than sales reps

On splitting mentions of coronavirus by reps and customers, we got our second surprise. Mentions of the economic recession seemed a lot higher by customers than sales reps.


And the gap in mentions has been more pronounced in the past fortnight. There could be mitigating circumstances, but it does seem like there are two separate ways that sales reps and their customers are seeing the current crisis.

In conclusion

It is pretty evident that the prevailing pandemic has impacted sales conversations, just as it has every other aspect of our lives. However, our analysis suggests that sales reps and their customers have interpreted the crisis differently. While reps seem to be mentioning the virus and talking about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, their customers seem more preoccupied with the economic impact of the pandemic. 

We talked about keeping your message relevant to the crisis at hand in our blog on How to Sell in a Crisis”. It is also vital to ascertain what crisis you are being relevant to. Mirroring is a powerful technique to build engagement with your customers and prospects. Try and keep your pitches and conversations with your customers about the economy, if that is what they seem more concerned about.

Also, it is evident that in times of such massive change - the dynamics of sales conversations change, week to week. Within 2-3 weeks, we noticed a shift of concern from catching a disease to facing a slowdown. It’s important to keep tabs on the voice of your customer, more than before. You can get insights like this for your business. Just contact us to know how.

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