I'm sitting here in London, this is our third week in self isolation. I'm still scared, I have two elderly parents who I could both lose to Covid19. My partner and I are shopping for ourselves as well as her mother. The death rates are truly terrifying and I'm sorry sorry for people that are losing loved ones. But we will get through this.
There are also some amazing positives. Sam Kelly's initiative to help people in self isolation. This went from an idea, to a global outpouring of help within a couple of days, this is a great example of how social media is being used for the good of humanity.
People are watching TV programs together, Dr Who for example and talking across social media while it's on.
Use of social media has doubled since the start of Covid19.
The UK Army have built (within an exhibition centre) a 4,000 bed hospital in two weeks. This is the same exhibition centre that I was supposed to be attending a sales conference this week. Ironic.
Nigel Walsh, who is a partner at Deloitte wrote this blog recently, which is a good read.
In it, he describes a brave new world, which if you think about it, it isn't that far fetched.
While I work from home often and have done for 20 years, many people don't. But the companies are enforcing them to stay at home. Other people are furloughed, a term I hadn't heard of until last week. British Airways (BA) has just announced they will furlough 36,000 staff.
All of us will have to get used to working from home, not travelling and get used to not having face-to-face meetings.
Maybe, we will all decide that travelling (commuting) to sit in an office is a waste of time? When you can sit at home and do it. My previous employer always told us not to travel, but to use technology to run meetings and training. While this can be shock at first, people get used to it.
A friend of mine recently told me that they had watched the film "The Irishman" and he couldn't understand why people were shaking hands. Times change.
What does this all mean for sales and marketing in the future?
The UK Government told us at the weekend that we would be in self-isolation for another 6 months. It looks like we lost the months of March, April, May and June for demand generation and, worst case is that we will lose September, October and November too. As business leaders we have to plan for worse case, as we all know that "hope" was never a strategy.
We are going to have to assume our traditional path of creatings leads through conferences and exhibitions won't happen this year.
"Engagement with social media advertising has also declined ... because audiences are turning to more organic content than paid."
"The researchers found the average global CTR (click through rate) across the 18 industries examined was down 17.2% in mid-March compared with the start of the year."
While there are some people that "shouting out" that they are cold calling. I am already seeing a backlash. Mark Schaefer says in this article, in terms of tone "How would you sell to somebody at a funeral?" I'm not sure you would cold call somebody at a funeral, even if they customer is at their office, which is highly unlikely as they will be working from home or furloughed. Even if you do get through to people, there are currently no face-to-face meetings.
How do you sell and market in a Covid19 World?
The feedback we are getting from senior leaders is social selling.
People are not looking for a master class that nobody will ever use when they come off the webinar, they want a methodology that will get into the sales team DNA.
As a CEO of a company said to me yesterday, "we need mindset change and habit change". His view is that selling through social is the "new normal". He also told me that in the future, our business will change. There will be more working from home, less conferences, less travel. People know they don't need to fly and have a face-to-face meeting.
This CEO wants to invest now, so that his company can survive the crisis, they have the time now to make the changes. He wants to invest, so they come out of this crisis stronger, with the skills your team and people need to know. Rather than trying to retrofit the skills once the floodgates open and we move into the "new normal".
We are in strange times, it feels that things are going to get worse, before they get better. I wish all of you good health, stay safe, as we work through this together.
If you want to chat sometime about the "new normal" then contact me here
The coronavirus is not only a health crisis of immense proportion—it’s also an imminent restructuring of the global economic order. Here’s how leaders can begin navigating to what’s next.