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Revenue Operations

Breaking Even or Breaking Out: The Impact of Recession on The SaaS Industry

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How do you stack up with the rest of the SaaS industry in this economic downturn? We surveyed 100+ companies to learn what’s mostly affecting business during these times.

With results in hand, we invited Siva Rajamani, CEO and Co-Founder at Everstage,Camela Thompson, VP of Marketing at CaliberMind, and Robert Gammon, Practice Lead, Revenue Operations at Cortado Group; to shed some light on how RevOps leaders can navigate these challenging times.

We are serious about our RevOps data, and many of our members are hungry for benchmarking, so we surveyed 100+ SaaS companies in partnership with Everstage in a report called The Impact of Economic Downturn in the Saas Industry, which you can download here.

Sales Attainment: The Struggle is Real

Results showed that 67% of companies didn’t meet their H1 Attainment, SaaS declined by 53% from Q3’ 21 to Q1’ 22, and the projected Global growth is down by 50% compared to 2021. 

“We are seeing whatever was not working well is now working worse, including poor messaging and poor ICP targeting. This is a great time to reassess your funnel”. - Camela Thompson

Yes, there is the economic aspect affecting companies, but we are also in a moment in history where our relationship with a lot of things are changing even faster than before. Ever since the pandemic hit in early 2020, we’ve been reassessing how and where we work. When it comes to your targeted customer, things are also evolving. 

Team demographics are different than they were just a few years ago. There are more Millenials in buying positions now - less Baby Boomers and Gen X - and 43% of these Milennials B2B buyers prefer to research online and rely on peer based reviews instead of talking to a sales person. No wonder it’s so hard to get those sales over the finish line!

This brings us to the next challenge: sales cycles are getting longer. 

Recent reports reveal that a significant proportion of companies are experiencing heightened sales cycles, with over half reporting an increase of 11% or more in pipeline closures. This disruption to annual plans has caused companies to reevaluate their strategies. Our expert guests believe that the solution lies not in automation or increasing sales reps, but in adapting to changes in buyer behavior. To tackle this challenge, they recommend the following steps:

  • Early identification and action on qualifying and unqualifying opportunities
  • In-depth lead conversion analysis, focusing on high-performing profiles and sources
  • Evaluating the strengths of your sales team and identifying areas for improvement through targeted training. The goal is to pinpoint any gaps in knowledge or skills and empower your team to succeed. By understanding the unique strengths of each team member and replicating best practices, you can drive consistent performance across the team.

Dealing with Churn

More than half of the respondents reported churn rates of over 10%. As a result, the least affected teams by layoffs were the CSM teams, while marketing was the most affected.

During times of crisis, it is common to reduce marketing budgets and simplify the tech stack. However, this period is different than others. After the recent upheaval, many people switched companies, making it unlikely that the B2B buyer you worked with last year is still in the same place.

“People need to take a proactive approach to connecting with stakeholders and resell their product and speaking to the value of the product.” - Camela Thompson

Maximizing customer satisfaction can be achieved by aligning marketing and customer success strategies to gain insight into the motivations behind purchasing decisions. Also, crafting a comprehensive profile of the typical customer who churns will allow you to detect patterns and trends.

This is an opportunity to utilize the CS and Marketing teams by improving their data literacy skills so they can effectively communicate performance insights to stakeholders. Marketers are valuable in identifying at-risk personas and executing targeted re-marketing campaigns. It's important to keep in mind that marketers need various channels for raising awareness, generating leads, and maintaining the sales pipeline, and not to rely solely on one metric or initiative.

2023 Focus for RevOps Leaders 

Going forward in 2023, our panelists recommend adopting a flexible attitude. During challenging times, take advantage of the opportunity for growth and learning. Make do with what you have and find creative solutions. If you don't have ideal data or a top-notch CRM, start by analyzing the data you have and gradually build what you need. Don't forget to have fun on the weekends too!

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