“May you live in interesting times” is a quote often cited during difficult or trying times in our lives. Ironically, one of the origin stories of this popular phrase is often described as a “Chinese Curse” while others credit it to a collection of Chinese short stories written in 1627 where one of the main character says:
“Far better to be a dog in days of peace
Than to be a human in times of war.”
No matter the origin – the quote sticks with us during difficult times.
This time, though, the difficulties reside in both our personal and our business lives as millions of people around the world adjust to a temporary new normal of working from home.
And, it goes without saying that we ARE living in interesting times.
In our discussions with our existing customers and prospects we are definitely seeing a significant slowdown in sales (all sales, both new, renewal and upsells). With so much uncertainty – businesses of all sizes are unsure about their future – and it is having a noticeable impact on their sales pipeline.
Anecdotally, we’ve noticed that at least 50% of the existing sales pipeline has been moved out of this quarter.
We also noticed that while a portion of that movement has been in the past 30 days – a majority of that slippage occurred prior to 30 days ago.
This implies that businesses were adjusting their buying decisions over days ago (prior to February 26th). In late February, while the US had not gone into any sort of lockdown – there was still indication of worry from the cases that we saw growing in China.
But not everything is bad news – we noticed that while more than 50% of total pipelines shifted out of the quarter – we also noticed that a majority of the deals only slipped 1-2 quarters.
Perhaps it’s a ray of hope but it also displays an optimism among businesses and customers that believe “we will get through this faster than we expect.” Perhaps its just optimism – but the sentiment was obvious, strong and the data was very real.
While we all struggle to make sense out of uncertainty – we know one thing for sure – the entire world is connected and we are all in this together.
Our business depends on the growth and success of our customers and businesses all over the world.
And while we certainly live in interesting times – we also know that our collective future resides in supporting each other and how we all work together through these uncertain and interesting times.