REPORT: Optimizing Outbound Sales During COVID-19

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First, read our data-driven report to outbound during COVID-19.

Now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the business world right now. Companies dusting off their business continuity plans, combing through budgets with a fine-tooth comb, preparing for the worst. Now’s probably not the right time for sales development teams to be prospecting, right? 


Prospecting Is More Important Than Ever

In fact, right now might be the most important time for SDRs to be prospecting, especially for companies that are not just selling a “nice to have” product. Even a 25% dip in activity over a 3 month period will push new business revenue down by over 17%. And that’s a very conservative estimate. Not sure if you can afford an SDR? Learn the true cost of hiring an internal SDR.

GRAPH: Impact of a Stall In Sales Prospecting

Not All Industries Are The Same

Yes. There are some industries that are getting hit harder than others, so it will absolutely be more difficult to get a meeting with a company like Hilton or Delta, or even with a small business owner that was forced to close for a month. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, nor does it mean you should just wait for everything to go back to normal because the reality is that nobody knows when that will be.

We’re entering a defining moment in our world economy. Not even the most astute economists, financial wizards, CFOs, even world leaders have any sense of what normal is going to be in the coming weeks or months. So does that mean we close down shop, go down to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and let this all blow over? 

If what you’re selling truly warrants that, it probably wasn’t that valuable of a product or service to begin with. 

The reason companies are in business is for one simple reason: to solve problems. Yes, making money is the goal and outcome, but the money is finite if companies stop being able to solve problems that others are willing to spend money on. 

In a climate like this, SDRs, AEs, even marketers need to remain focused on what they were trying to accomplish before the world went to hell in a handbasket overnight. Just 2-3 weeks ago, they were trying to help other companies solve problems. So what about that changed? 

The true answer, is nothing. 

A Whole New World

Yes, a lot has changed, and it would be ignorant to say otherwise, but the reason for selling a product that solves a problem hasn’t. 

Those problems didn't just magically evaporate over the last few weeks. Companies still have these problems, and they still need a solution. No, they may not have the immediate budget to purchase like they did a few weeks ago. They may have more time though to learn about solutions. 

The Big Drop

Our research found outbound effectiveness dropped by 30% already. SDRs are seeing lower opportunity rates, and companies we surveyed are anticipating 35% drops in closed-won conversions. 

It’s bleak, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to be successful.

How To Adapt: Getting Creative

The difference today comes down to how SDRs approach their prospects, and making sure that activity is keeping up with changes in effectiveness. Companies are going to need to get creative with ways to make that a reality without destroying their market credibility or burning out their already overloaded SDRs. (Have you ever considered getting help with some of that activity from an outsourced sales development agency? Not only can we help, but we can make sure it’s done the right way! Also consider hiring more than one outsourced lead generation company)

Leading with value, demonstrating empathy, being strategic with what channels they are using are all critical to current outbound SDR success, when even a few weeks ago outbound SDRs could get away with maybe following one of those criteria. Now, outbound SDRs are going to have to follow all of those criteria, and increase their activity levels by a significant amount to see the same success. 

With the right approach, SDRs have a chance to stand out now more than ever. Leading with value to tell your prospect what you can do for them NOW, and why it’s worth considering. Acknowledging that today is not normal circumstances, and you understand that and believe you can help them through this difficult time. Attempting to first connect with them on a less intrusive, digital channel like email and LinkedIn before you reach out through channels like cold calling (imagine working from home with all of your kids home, and getting a cold call as your first touchpoint from an SDR). Note: If you are new to cold email, consider our article on how to write a badass cold email. Also, email deliverability to cold contact is getting more difficult than ever before, if you are having issues with getting emails read, check out our blog on email deliverability.

A few weeks ago, SDRs were hunting opportunities. Today, SDRs today are planting seeds. Those seeds will be the most important seeds a company has ever planted once the current pipeline has dried up, revenue stalls and clients start to leave. After things level out, which they will, the company that planted seeds today will harvest what other companies are just starting to grow. 

Don't Over Think It

Remember, nothing has changed about why you’re reaching out. The only thing that has changed is how your prospects can react. If you do everything in your power to continue to show the value you bring them in a time like this, and you can do it in a respectful, empathetic manner, you may be surprised at what the outcome is down the road. 

We’re here if you need help with your outbound, and you can reach me directly at or schedule a time to discuss ways we can improve outbound for your company during a difficult time.

About SalesHive

Not every company needs a massive SDR team. In fact, most don't.

We help companies grow their pipeline instead of their headcount by providing outsourced SDR services that:

  1. Act as an efficient, flexible, and cost-effective solution for sales and marketing teams that need to create more qualified opportunities with buyers.
  2. Utilize proprietary technology that enables our team to perform high volumes of outreach on behalf of our clients without losing the human element.
  3. Combine 4 unique channels to catch prospects with the right messaging, on the channel they are most responsive to.
  4. Have successfully booked over 9,000 qualified meetings with buyers, and over 70% being set with Director or higher titles.
  5. Offer Experienced US-Based SDRs dedicated to each client on a half or full-time basis so they aren’t stretched too thin across clients
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