It’s been about three months since workplaces across the world went through a transformation. Where conference rooms became living room couches, and break-rooms became kitchen counters. This unplanned work-from-home experiment has been successful for the most part, but it’s just not the same. It’s not business as usual, but hey, life has to go on.
This pandemic and the lockdown have changed the business landscape as we know it for good. We’re going to witness the evolution of sales and marketing trends, consumer behavior, and office culture over the next few years. And it all starts with salespeople adapting to the new ways of doing business–which directly affects Zoho, as a CRM vendor.
Over the past few months, we’ve observed drastic changes in how salespeople have used the Zoho CRM mobile app. These changes have given us an insight into what’s coming, and we thought it would be useful to share five key trends that could shape the future of sales.
1. Decline in the nearby maps usage and check-ins
Let’s start with the obvious one. Salespeople are not traveling to meet clients, and it shows. During the lockdown, the number of check-ins made via the mobile app declined by over 73%, and the usage of nearby maps fell by nearly 60% overall. Both features are critical for on-field sales reps, and the decline in their usage goes to show how much the lockdown has affected this category of sales.
Not every industry can make do with Zoom or Zoho Meetings—some businesses, like real estate companies, rely on physical, onsite meetings to close deals. But the problem is that consumer behavior has changed. Even after the lockdown has been lifted, it’s likely that many customers will prefer not to have physical interactions. This lockdown has forced many businesses back to the drawing board to rethink sales in the post-pandemic world.
2. Increase in activities and notes
The decline in client meetings and commuting hasn’t stopped salespeople from being busy. In fact, working from home has increased productivity. This is indicated by the increase in the number of activities added—a 22% uptick to be precise. There’s a lot of free time on our hands, and plenty of us are catching up a lot of activities that we’ve put on the back burner.
On top of that, the number of notes created increased by over 29%, which means deals are moving and customer relationships are being built even in these tough times. But perhaps the most important takeaway is that salespeople finally have the time for data entry, the most boring part of work. That’s a big win in our book.
3. Increase in calls, decline in emails
One of the least challenging aspects of the work from home transition has to be communication. There’s no shortage of collaboration tools, and they’re robust, scalable, and mobile enough to keep the conversations going. During the lockdown, the number of calls made increased by over 55%, filling in for the decrease in physical interactions and break room conversations.
On the other hand, mail magnet usage dropped by over 68%, which goes to show the current state of email as a communication channel. Emails are not going out of relevance anytime soon, but this lockdown has made us get accustomed to a certain lifestyle that email does not fit into. It’s just easier to text or call someone, whether it’s your teammates or your clients.
4. Decline in the # of approval requests made
Another interesting observation was that the number of approval requests made went down by 16%, despite the increase in the number of activities and calls added. This drop can be attributed to the fact that sales funnels have fewer items now, and sales teams are better connected to their managers. As communication over deals is happening in real-time, there might be no need for formal approvals.
On the other hand, since salespeople are away from their office, they might be expected to make their own decisions. It’s not because approvals mean less, but because this is the time for sales to be flexible. Leads are not exactly in surplus, so bringing in new customers relies on an adaptable system that leaves salespeople to their own judgments.
5. Decline in the # of records added, increase in # of updates made
The truth is that business has not been great for many people, and the number of new records added during the lockdown reflects that. Overall, there was a 28% drop, and we all saw that coming. This is not a great time to make difficult financial decisions, and it’s especially harder for B2B companies. But this too shall pass, better days are ahead of us.
Since the number of records added declined by more than a quarter, you’d expect the number of updates made to records would drop too, but it didn’t. In fact, there was an increase in the number of updates made to those records. And perhaps, that’s the silver lining.
This shows what companies are focusing on: customer retention. This is the time for businesses to band together and help each other get through this financial crisis. When you build better customer relationships now, they will bear fruit once the world returns to some form of normalcy.
During the lockdown period, the average number of sessions and total session time has increased overall, with certain anomalies in select countries depending on the severity of the lockdown imposed. It’s great to see that the overall usage of the mobile app has increased. It’s a start for the global shift in how the idea of work from home is perceived.
Zoho CRM’s mobile app is one of the highest-rated CRM apps in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. As the WFH culture moves forward, having a powerful CRM app on your smartphone will become critical to get work done. Check out what the Zoho CRM mobile app can do to help you sell smarter.
Which stat here surprised you the most? Do you have a CRM story to share? Drop a comment and share your thoughts with us!
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