Sonos Chief Executive Officer Patrick Spence reports that his high-end audio speaker company’s direct-to-consumer sales shot up 300% from this time last year. In this recording of a live conversation with Adam Blitzer, Salesforce Digital’s executive vice president and general manager, Spence shares how Sonos flipped their 18-year-old sales model based on retail outlets and live events to digital in just a few short months. “We jumped ahead five to 10 years in a quarter,” Spence shares.
Quotes and highlights from Sonos’ Patrick Spence include:
How have your business operations changed since March, 2020?
Overnight we lost 90% of our business from all of the retail locations, and last year at this time, only 10% of our sales came from Sonos.com. Now our direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales are up 300% in the last quarter. We’d been investing in DTC over the last couple of years, but we never would have expected an accelerant like [COVID-19]. Three-hundred percent growth really stresses everything in the system, especially when you’re shipping physical goods. In addition, we had to shift to digital events to launch new products which was entirely new for us, and the team completely stepped it up.
What kind of change have you seen in customer behavior?
New habits are being formed every day. One thing we found surprising was the number of customers coming to Sonos.com and purchasing without ever having heard it or seen it. A conventional belief for our business is that people need to see and hear the product, but we’ve been able to overcome that. And these are not inexpensive products – some are $800. People are learning to trust brands and directly engage with brands.
How do you keep your team excited, motivated, and healthy?
This has been a huge challenge. One thing we introduced is Care Time. We’ve given our people 10 hours a week to help their kids with school or to help parents or neighbors. And we’ve taken Care Days – a monthly holiday – since this all began. We’ve seen people step up and persevere during this time in ways I could never have imagined. We’ve tried to be understanding and supportive, and we’re encouraging people to take vacation. We’re going to be in this for a while, and we need to do this in a sustainable way.
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This was the latest edition of Leading Through Change, our live video conversation series exploring how leaders use software to drive impactful change in industry. For more interviews: Salesforce.com/Live.