COVID-19 June 9, 2020

COVID-19 Support: Perspectives from B2B Sales Leaders

Written By

Stripes Team

In response to the challenges many of our businesses are facing from COVID-19, Stripes has been hosting virtual panel discussions led by subject matter experts from our network to share lessons learned. You can view summaries from our past panels here.

This column focuses on the B2B sales challenges posed by COVID-19. We’re grateful to draw insights from:

  • Paul Melchiorre, Operating Partner and Former Chief Customer Officer & CRO at Anaplan, Moderator
  • Jamie Garverick, Head of Sales at FullStory, a platform helping businesses build a more perfect digital experience
  • Steve Goldberg, CRO at SalesLoft, a sales engagement platform enabling teams to deliver a better buying experience
  • Shannon Copeland, COO N3, a provider of outsourced inside sales & customer success teams

We thank our informed and insightful panelists for their time, particularly while they’re facing many of the issues we discussed during our session.

To view a recording of this session, please click here.

While each firm's response will be different, our panelists shared what has been successful for them and how they’ve advised their peers. More specifically:

  1. Encourage senior sellers to spend more time with junior sellers. Jamie Garverick noted that adapting to COVID-19 can be particularly hard for sellers that haven’t navigated an economic environment like this. Having senior sellers share their experiences and sales tactics from other downmarket cycles can reassure junior sellers.

  2. Offer greater rewards for your sales and customer success teams to gather market insights. If a prospect in a particular industry isn’t interested, Shannon Copeland has incentivized the sales reps that he works with to report that back to the broader team. This reduces market uncertainty fears among the team and helps refine the sales strategy & messaging to drive greater efficiency.

  3. Be proactive in reaching out to customers, and ask how they’re doing with no intention of upselling them. Steve Goldberg encourages sellers to be “maniacally focused on customer success.” This means understanding at a more granular level how each customer segment is impacted by COVID and being prepared to offer price reductions or spread out payment terms.

  4. Similarly, focus your customer success teams on driving product utilization and understanding how customers are using your products. Steve Goldberg explained that since customers may not be interested in upsell opportunities right now, your team should help customers understand the products they’ve already purchased to drive utilization. Jamie Garverick added that in those conversations, reps should also get a deeper sense of how customers are using your product to create new sales materials. By doing both of these things now, you’ll put your team in a better position to succeed when budgets expand later on.

  5. To keep morale high, offer employees child care options and rest days. Shannon Copeland mentioned N3 is spending roughly $250K per month on employee child care so employees have one less thing to worry about. Steve Goldberg added that SalesLoft gave employees a rest day to shut down email traffic and relax. In each case, employees have really appreciated the gesture, and productivity has improved as a result.

As the environment around us has been changing faster than ever, we expect to add or revisit topics and additional resources as they become pertinent and helpful. Should you have any follow-up questions from the summary above, or if you have any other suggested topics or questions for us to cover, please submit them through this form.