Keeping tabs on sales benchmarks is central to understanding where both your and your sales org’s performance stands in the broader sales landscape. So to help you keep a pulse on those figures, we’ve pulled relevant data from HubSpot’s recent Sales Strategy survey of over 1,000 sales professionals.

Here, we’ll take a look at the hard data around some key metrics, explore how those figures could change in a potential recession, and review some strategies you can leverage to protect your numbers during economic turmoil.

Let’s dive in.

From 2021 to 2022,

Sales win rate, like several other sales KPIs, can take a serious hit during an economic downturn. Though the figures were solid from last year to this one, there’s a very real possibility that those trends won’t hold up in a potential recession.

When a recession hits, businesses tend to keep a closer eye on their spending — that often means potential deals face more scrutiny and purchases require additional eyes before they can be approved.

Companies generally consult more stakeholders when buying during an economic downturn. So you, as a salesperson, need to be prepared to deal with more company representatives before you’re put in touch with a legitimate decision-maker, mid-recession.

So how do you prepare for this trend? Well, you can start by understanding that your prospect research has to be higher volume without sacrificing thoroughness — you’re going to have to keep track of the needs, interests, and personal qualities of more contacts at a given company than you did before.

Gather as much insight as you can about every touchpoint you connect with at a business — scour their LinkedIn, company website, or any other public-facing resource that can give you perspective on who they are, what they do, and what approach will resonate most with them.

You should already be used to doing this anyway — but amid economic turbulence, you have to be ready to do it more.

This point is an extension of the trend referenced above. With more stakeholders involved in buying and a general sense of uncertainty around deals, potential purchases will probably take longer than they would in a sound economy.

One way to protect your win rate as much as possible is to remain patient. Don’t take your foot too far off the gas, but be ready to give prospects a little more room to make their decisions.

Recessions are naturally anxiety-inducing for businesses, so you don’t want to put potential buyers off by applying too much pressure. You should always be mindful of your prospect’s timeline when trying to close — regardless of how sound the economy might be — but that principle is especially relevant during an economic downturn.

From 2021 to 2022,

The same principles that I mentioned when discussing how win rates might change apply to sales close rates as well. Though the numbers were solid from 2021 to 2022, economic turmoil could very well roll back that trend.

Specificity is always important when trying to close, but during a recession, it’s absolutely essential. In an economic downturn, prospects don’t have time to consider generally relevant pain points similar businesses tend to face — they’re much more fixated on ones that are uniquely theirs.

Being able to craft the kind of value proposition that will ultimately translate to a close involves careful attention to detail at every stage of the sales process. During discovery, try to ask thoughtful questions that get at the organization’s goals, mission, structure, history, and competitive landscape on a granular level.

At every stage from there, maintain careful notes on issues and objectives the stakeholders you interact with mention — and conduct as much independent research as possible to get a feel for the company’s self-perception, ideal future, and how your solution could play into both.

You don’t want to know that the edtech startup you’re working with is “trying to be the preeminent curriculum scheduling resource in the United States.”

You want to know that it’s “looking to expand from serving 25 institutions to 100 within the next three years by moving its business development team in-house and doubling the size of its marketing department — all while highlighting its software’s impact on degree velocity as a differentiator within its space.”

In a recession, businesses are trying to trim as much fat as possible, so keep your approach lean and specific — vagueness doesn’t close in an uncertain economy.

As I just touched on, you want to keep your interactions with prospects frank and focused to close in a recession — a big part of that is framing your solution as a need-to-have, not a helpful-to-have.

If you’re selling a conversation intelligence platform to suit a business struggling with sales development, your product shouldn’t be “a great way to make SDRs more productive!”

It should be “the best possible solution to remedy the issues the company has with onboarding SDRs — ensuring those reps are getting the informed coaching and support needed to minimize the department’s financial inefficiency and improve morale.”

I keep alluding to it, but it bears another mention — recessions make businesses stingier and more mindful of need versus want. If you want to protect your close rate as much as possible during economic turbulence, you have to sell with more urgency than you would otherwise.

Average deal size’s definition is fairly self-explanatory — it’s the average monetary value of successful deals a business makes with its customers.

From 2021 to 2022,

Prospects might lack the flexibility or buying power to make larger deals during a recession — naturally, there’s a lot of room for average deal size to decline during an economic downturn.

Offering a discount during a recession might seem like a no-brainer — it’s a quick fix that lets you accommodate a prospect and arrive at a price point that both parties can live with. But the process and implications of discounting are rarely that straightforward.

Yes, a potential customer might be more inclined to pay less for a product or service during stretches where they’re being more careful with their spending. And yes, your company might feel like closing deals at lower price-points is a more reliable way to ride out economic turmoil.

But rashly discounting during a recession can have some major consequences — starting with the self-explanatory fact that discounts take an immediate toll on your average deal size.

Slashing prices for a single customer is a slippery slope. If other prospects see industry peers or businesses of similar scale receiving discounts, they’ll be inclined and empowered to ask for the same rates.

The shift that comes with that leverage can decrease your product or service’s perceived value. Even during a recession, you don’t want to undermine the merit or utility of your solution by presenting it as cheap or low-quality.

Now, this isn’t to say discounting in a recession won’t work or is bound to totally tank your value proposition forever — it’s just to say that you need to give the strategy some serious thought and scrutiny if you’re considering it.

Ultimately, if you want to protect your average deal size — among other key factors that will shape the present perception and future appeal of your offering — be very wary of discounting amid economic turmoil.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, keeping tabs on Sales Benchmarks is central to gauging the soundness of your and your sales org’s efforts — particularly when it comes to the metrics we have listed here.

And as we move into an uncertain economic future, understanding how to protect the KPIs detailed in this article is going to be crucial, and doing so all revolves around one key element — value.

If you can effectively grasp, articulate, personalize, and believe in your solution’s value, you’ll put yourself in a solid position to ride out a recession without tanking the metrics covered here.