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    Issue 26

    April 11, 2020


    • See how your peers are doing
    • Bring your best to video calls
    • Try this to control fear
    • Can customer intent data work for you?

    If you celebrate religious holidays this week, Happy Easter or Chag Pesach sameai-ch.

    If not, you can at least celebrate April 15 whooshing by. That’s when U.S. tax returns are normally—but not this year.

    I hope you celebrate something or someone, and I wish you health, strength, courage, and peace.

    In this week’s issue…

    We look at these topics, in order:

    • Survey of B2B revenue leaders: How is COVID-19 affecting their work?
    • Video sales calls are here to stay. These 4 tips help show you at your best.
    • Try this simple, powerful strategy to overcome fear
    • Grab a no-cost trial of customer intent data

    Reading time

    Your reading time this week is about 8 minutes if you read at 200 words a minute.


    Survey of B2B revenue leaders: How is COVID-19 affecting their work?

    How are your peers coping with the fast-changing situation?

    The Revenue Collective, a group of senior revenue leaders around the world, just published the results of their ongoing survey of members.

    This article shares a high-level summary of the survey’s key findings.

    For details, download the full report from the link at the end.

    Why it matters now

    Things are changing week by week in most SaaS companies.

    And here you are, stuck at home. It’s as if you’re trapped in a submarine or a bunker.

    Information from your peers is priceless. So take a moment to raise your periscope.

    What’s happening

    Overall effects of COVID-19

    Survey question: Have you felt an effect on your business from COVID-19?

    Respondents: Nearly all companies (~95%) are feeling its economic effects.


    Question: Have you taken a pay cut because of COVID-19? (Have you taken an explicit reduction in on-target earnings [OTE], especially to your base salary?)

    Respondents: Almost a third say they’ve taken pay cuts.

    Revenue targets or forecasts

    Question: Has your business adjusted revenue targets or forecasts because of COVID-19?

    Respondents: Almost 9 in 10 (88%) have made changes of varying sizes.

    Question: By what percentage have revenue targets or forecasts changed?

    Respondents: About a third (37%) say their company has reduced revenue targets from 25% to more than 50%.

    Sales quotas

    Questions: Has your business adjusted sales quotas because of COVID-19? If so, by how much?

    Respondents: About two-thirds have either reduced quotas or plan to do so. About 43% plan to reduce quotas by 25% or more. Almost 15% have reduced them by more than 50%.

    Hiring and staffing

    Question: Have you been laid off as a result of COVID-19?

    Respondents: About 10% say they’ve been laid off.

    Questions: Have you stopped or paused hiring because of COVID-19? And If so, for how long?

    Respondents: About 80% say their company has stopped hiring. Almost half (47%) say their company has done so indefinitely. About 24% have done so for 3 to 6 months.

    Questions: Have you reduced headcount as a result of COVID-19? If so, by how much?

    Respondents: About two-thirds (63.3%) have lost no headcount. For the one-third that have lost employees, about 42% reported losses in the range of 10% to 25%. Almost 10% have reduced headcount by more than 50%.


    Questions: Have your team’s budgets been cut because of COVID-19? If so, in what areas?

    Respondents: About three-quarters (78%) have had their team budgets cut. Most cuts are in these areas:

    Professional development

    New software purchases

    New hires

    All business travel

    Cuts to budgets for marketing, demand gen, and consulting or contractors have been minimal.

    Customer churn

    Question: How have your customer churn rates been affected by COVID-19?

    Respondents: About half said their churn rate has been about the same as in the prior period. About 23% reported increases of 1% to 5%. The remaining quarter said their churn increased by more than 5%.

    Expected duration of business effects

    Question: How long do you expect COVID-19 to continue affecting your business?

    Respondents: About three-quarters (78%) think the crisis will affect their business from 3 months to the end of 2020.

    Level of optimism

    Question: Rate your overall level of optimism on a 5-point scale.

    Respondents: In a distribution graph, the results form a classic bell-shaped curve. Most express moderate optimism. Far fewer express either strong optimism or strong pessimism.

    How you’re coping

    Question: What concerns you most? (open-ended)

    Respondents: Health, cash flow, unemployment, finding a new job

    Question: How do you think this will affect your business once it’s past? (open ended)

    Respondents: Product will be in high demand; situation has added weight to our value proposition; slowed down, but will regain momentum; close dates are pushing out; could crush our business and our industry.

    Question: What’s working best for you? (open ended)

    Respondents: Keeping a stoic outlook; upskilling to remain indispensable; being innovative to adapt; taking calls while walking outdoors; teamwork; yoga and meditation; offer services free of charge to build goodwill; logging off from online systems to avoid discouragement.

    Survey details

    Results are current as of April 6. All respondents are vice-president level or higher. The number of responses varies by question. The average N across questions is about 120.


    COVID-19 Economic Benchmarking Survey Summary Results. Revenue Collective. April 6, 2020. Downloadable PDF. 31 pages. No charge.

    What you can do now

    If you want more survey results similar to these, you can take part in the ongoing research of TOPO. They’re an analyst firm that helps B2B companies grow.

    If you take their survey, TOPO will share results at no charge. The company runs 4 surveys.

    You can take the surveys at these links:


    Video sales calls are here to stay. These 4 tips help show you at your best.

    Many revenue leaders are new to earning their living through video.

    This article shares 4 quick and easy tips you can apply right now to look better on camera.

    Why it matters now

    With travel cut to zero, everyone is selling by video conference.

    The restrictions may stay in place for a few more months.

    Looking less than great is probably OK for internal calls. But you want to be better than OK.

    And you may reduce your income if you don’t look presentable on calls with customers and prospects.

    Everyone in your shoes is trying to figure out how to sell online. And many of us have a lot to learn.

    We’re all making allowances for each other as we work from home. .

    But do you want your customers to make allowances?

    When you sell remotely, you miss many of the visual cues that give you important feedback during a face-to-face session.

    You’re also competing for attention with your prospect’s home environment.

    To be effective, you must present yourself as competently as you can.

    1. Encourage customers or prospects to turn on their video camera

    Many customers and prospects are reluctant to show their faces on video during a remote sales discussion. That’s their privilege.

    Maybe they feel they don’t look presentable. Or they want to catch up on email or grab a snack.

    Absent visual feedback, you have no idea when and how much they’re paying attention. You can’t correct your course when you’ve lost them.

    So it’s better for you when they have their camera on. They’re more likely to pay attention. And you’re more likely to shift your pacing and tone when you see you’re losing them.

    So turn your camera on first. Many people will reciprocate without you asking them to.

    You probably don’t have to nudge them beyond that.

    2. Maintain ‘eye contact’ by looking straight at your camera

    On a video call, it’s natural for you to look at your prospect’s face on your screen. But when you do so, they see you as looking downward or off to the side.

    When you look down as you talk, you appear to lack confidence. When you look to the side, you seem distracted.

    Place your camera properly

    Experiment before your calls to see the best position for your camera. It should be at or slightly below your eye level.

    You don’t want your camera pointing up or down at your face. Don’t make people look up your nose.

    Nor do you want your face too close to the lens. The wrong position may cause unflattering distortions. (My nose looks even bigger when I’m closer.)

    Test where your eyes should look

    To appear to be looking your prospect in the eye, look at or near your camera.

    You don’t necessarily have to stare straight at the camera. You might focus your eyes a few inches below it or slightly to the side.

    Test various positions for your eyes. You can do so by recording a private trial session on Zoom.

    Once you’ve found the spot that looks best on video, mark the position on your computer screen. You can use a little piece of easy-to-remove painter’s masking tape.

    Then remember to look at the tape when you’re talking online.

    If you maintain good eye contact most of the time, you can glance away occasionally to check your notes and the faces of your prospects.

    3. Light your face properly

    You want the light on your face to be flattering.

    Avoid sitting with your back to a light source such as a window. That will darken your face.

    Strong side lighting casts shadows that emphasize the features of your face, including your nose and skin texture.

    Use fill light to complement your face

    I use an adjustable drafting lamp with a daylight-temperature LED bulb. The bulb casts natural-looking light that doesn’t make my skin look yellow.

    I place the lamp just offscreen and somewhat ahead of me, about even with my computer screen.

    I can point the lamp in any direction, and it doesn’t heat up the room. I sometimes diffuse the light by putting a thin or gauzy cloth over the lamp. It’s safe because the LED light stays cool.

    You can get more sophisticated with lighting, but these tips will serve you fine for now.

    4. Make your presentation memorable

    You won’t move your sale forward if your prospects can’t remember what you’ve said.

    When you’re not in the same room with them, it’s harder for them to remember even your most important points. Research shows they forget about 90% soon after your conversation.

    Corporate Visions just offered a good webinar on how to make your sales presentation more memorable. It’s based on brain science.

    For details, Dig deeper..


    (Video tip): How to make eye contact in your video meetings.” Julie Hansen. Performance sales and training blog. March 30, 2020.

    Dig deeper

    The Keys to a Great Remote Sales Presentation.” Carmen Simon. Tim Riesterer. Corporate Visions webinar. April 8, 2020.


    Try this simple, powerful strategy to overcome fear

    Fear can be your friend or your enemy.

    It’s your friend when it keeps you out of danger.

    It’s your enemy when it continues for too long. Then it fogs your thinking and compromises your immune system.

    Driven subscriber Kristin Zhivago has a straightforward strategy to control fear.

    In a blog post she published this week, Kristin offers this advice:

    “Simply decide that fear has no place in your life.”

    Kristin says she learned this from her husband, a former U.S. marine. He applies what he calls the “4 Fs:”

    Find it. Face it. Fix it. And if you can’t fix it, “F” it and move to plan B.

    Kristin shares how she and her husband kept fear in check during an 8,000-mile, 60-day voyage on a 2-person catamaran.

    They sailed their newly built craft from South Africa to New England, facing life-threatening squalls en route.

    Their fearless mindset has also helped the couple get through 3 bouts of “fatal” cancer for her husband.

    “Fear is a wicked master who wants to control you. Brush it off.”

    Overcoming fear may be simple, but it’s not easy. Kristin offers this added advice, with more insights in her article:

    • Decide.
    • Be deaf to fear.
    • Be prepared.
    • Do your best.
    • Remember, this too shall pass.

    Kristin is a revenue coach and founder of Zhivago Partners, a firm that helps small and mid-sized businesses with digital marketing.

    She’s also author of Roadmap to Revenue: How to Sell the Way Your Customers Want to Buy. Amazon readers give the book a rare 5-star average rating.


    Grab a no-cost trial of customer intent data

    Did last week’s article about customer intent data catch your interest? If so, you may want to try some intent data at no charge.

    Bombora, one of the leading providers, offers a trial of their Company Surge service. The service identifies organizations that are searching online for solutions like yours.

    Get the details here.

    Let me be clear. This is not an endorsement or recommendation of Bombora. I get no fees or rewards if you choose to use their services.

    Maybe you can help other readers of Driven.

    I’ve been wondering if intent data has become less accurate with everyone working from home. Much of the data relies on accurate identification of corporate internet protocol (IP) addresses.

    When people work from home, they’re not at their corporate IP address– unless they’ve connected through a virtual private network (VPN).

    If you use intent data, what’s been your experience with its accuracy?


    That’s it for this week.

    If you liked this issue, please share Driven with friends or colleagues.. They can get their own copy by clicking on the button below.

    If you plan to celebrate, remember to keep your distance.

    Stay healthy and safe.

    See you next week. 


    Dave Vranicar


    Driven is a free weekly email for time-strapped revenue leaders in business-to-business SaaS companies.

    Its goal is to keep you informed about a broad range of topics related to revenue growth.

    We scan the horizon for insights and ideas from sources you may otherwise miss.

    You can receive your own copy of Driven at no charge by sharing your email address here.

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    When I provide links to articles from vendors, it does not imply an endorsement of their products or services. I link to them because they offer good content.

    I’ll make it clear when I’m recommending a product or service. 

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