Part 2: So, What Does it Mean Moving Forward?
In part 1 of this 2 part series, we discussed the impact COVID-19 is having on the sales functions within the access control industry. In part 2, we get into the mid and long term lasting effects of what sales is going to look like moving forward.
Now, let us get this out of the way up front. I am not a peg to peg, binary type of person. I believe in phases and orthogonal thinking. Sure some companies will try to go back to doing things the same, some will stay completely remote, and most will be somewhere in between. Navigating how and what each company does will be an art form and hard to track. Here are some scenarios I expect us to see and suggestions on what to do:
- Customers are not going to want external guests to just “stop by.” Essential employees may be in the office but guests will be limited. Critical meetings will be ok, but the rest will be done online. That is here to stay. You will be working from home more and need to start thinking of yourself as part salesperson and part influencer.
- The flexibility for some customers to work from home or remote will make “stopping by” impossible and inefficient. Your travel, if any, will be more purposeful, and chances are, done over video to bring the right groups together. So what is your plan?
- For business continuity and risk mitigation reasons, companies may work in shifts (eg. Team 1 works from 6 am - 2 pm and Team 2 works from 3 pm - 11 pm). So, having all stakeholders for a meeting in person may be impossible. Like above, your travel, if any, will be more purposeful, and chances are, done over video to bring the right groups together.
- Whether it is for expense reduction, safety concerns, or because they just do not want you to do it, your company is going to restrict travel and entertainment budgets. If they do not, they are asleep at the switch. I believe this will become normal standard operating procedures moving forward. So, how are you being creative?
- Large conference rooms where you “pack them in” for trainings will be the thing of the past. You will need better tools, storytelling, and ways to bring people together to get your message across and stand out. What tools do you have?
- Large conferences like ISC West, GSX, and others will be a shell of their former self. I think this is a moment and opportunity for our industry, both who exhibited and attended. Expect to see more companies produced shows like Milestones in person MIPS and Genetec's online Connect'DX. Companies should go 100% in on this just like Apple (WWDC), Google (IO), and Salesforce (Dreamforce) have to control their message, reduce costs, and maximize impact. Those saying that ISC West and GSX are "over" are wrong and either have a personal beef with the people running it or are hoping "if I say it, maybe it will come true." It will definitely look and feel different. Both of those shows were due to being reimagined anyway. Unless forced to do so, they probably would have never have done it, so in the end, this is a positive impact. But for you, what is your company investing in to take advantage of the new norm?
- Random packages of swag handled and shipped, although nice, can be seen as inconsiderate and a risk (even if it is a Yeti). So, how are you going to show appreciation to your customers?
Lastly, if you are just starting to do webinars, you are late. There is already fatigue from them. Here is what I suggest. As a leadership team, get the right people in a room and make it a priority. If you do not have them, bring in external resources to help. Put a plan together. Invest resources (time and money) into it. This is not the time to allow your conservative communications department and legal department to manage your voice. Yes they should be at the table but they should not be the last mile filter on how you communicate right now.