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Valerie KliskeyNov 12, 2020 2:15:16 PM2 min read

The COVID-19 Impact on Sales vs. Marketing Emails


As many businesses work to resume selling and marketing “as usual,” we revisit the HubSpot COVID-19 Marketing and Sales Benchmark Data to find out how well these different types of emails are being interacted with by recipients. Sales emails are meant to progress the sales process one-on-one, with the goal being a meeting/sale. Marketing emails are meant to get a conversation started with sales by sending prospects relatable content. But which of these emails attracts people to open and read them currently?

Based on 70,000+ companies, the number of sales emails has been up and down but ultimately has increased from March thru November. Beginning in March, the sales email responses have been in the negative 25% range [important to note that this is vs. the pre-COVID benchmark]. As a salesperson, this data is disheartening, but reaffirms that this situation is consistent across the board for many other sales teams.

HubSpot Sales Emails Sent

Based on this information we also notice that larger companies are sending a higher quantity of emails compared to mid and smaller sized companies are:

HubSpot Email Sends by Company Size

The response rate to these sales emails indicates that recipients are not ready to be “sold to”

HubSpot Response Rate by Company Size

When looking at industry data, the Construction, Manufacturing and Consumer Goods industries are sending out the most sales emails:

HubSpot Email Sends by Industry

Based on our last blog post on this topic, even those industries like Construction that HAVE experienced an uptick in closed deals have had a significantly low response rate to sales emails as indicated in the chart below. The entertainment industry, however, which is notably on pause right now actually IS receiving responses, probably because people are anxious to get back to socializing and being entertained.

HubSpot Response Rate by Industry

In comparison, let’s look at Marketing emails and their open rates. Remember that marketing emails are meant to get a conversation started with sales by sending prospects relatable content. Compared to sales emails, these open rates are much higher (at least they are on the positive side of the graph).

HubSpot Marketing Emails Sent & Open Rate

Continuing to look at trends, this data shows that most marketing emails are being sent by smaller companies, followed by mid-size companies, followed by large businesses. It’s the opposite scenario than what we see with sales emails.

HubSpot Email Sends by Company Size

Looking further at this data we see that the Human Research industry, followed by the Construction industry are sending the most marketing emails. This makes sense, as the Construction industry has surged since COVID.

HubSpot Email Sends by Industry

Let’s look though at the open rates for those same marketing email sends. Consumer Goods and Computer Software have the most consistent open rates, then Construction which has fluctuated up and down the past few months.

HubSpot Open Rate by Industry

In our opinion, this data means that people are more receptive to receiving and interacting with marketing emails versus sales emails. Prospects are in a mindset of receiving information that will help them and are much more likely to engage with a marketing email versus a sales email. This indicates to salespeople that they need to have a soft sell approach, and to lead with content that will inform their prospects as well as educate them. Keep this information in mind as you create your marketing and sales plans for the rest of 2020, with the intention of gaining the interest of prospects and increasing your open rates.

Download our complimentary Marketing During a Recession Guide to further help you with your marketing and sales efforts.

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Valerie Kliskey

Inbound Marketer and Trade Show Marketer with a passion to help companies exceed their goals.