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Monday, July 20, 2020

The Channel Revolution Nobody is Talking About

"If you keep staring at the sun, you won’t see
What you have become, this can't be
Everything you thought it was
Blinded by the thought of us, so
Give me a chance, I will
Fuck up again, I warned
You in advance

But you just keep on starin' at the sun”

The End of the Beginning -

There is a revolution afoot few recognize or acknowledge.  This event will obliterate every business model in our channel. Most of corporate America, the Fortune 1000, have decided to keep employees working from home, they’ve canceled yearly company get-togethers and will not be sending anyone to shows or conventions.

They will save millions of dollars in real estate costs, have a happier workforce, and attract better employees and they will not print; they will not copy.  

From Nationwide Insurance to Apple to PWC to higher education, organizations are :

* Skittish about employees' health as they come back to the office
* Reducing business travel
* Eliminating large internal meetings and special company events
* Cancelling ‘roadshows’ and trade show participation
* Not attending conventions and shows
* Schools are wavering on face-to-face education
* Retail businesses closing and shifting to online
* Home sales are up.  Suburban housing increasing as more people don’t need to commute

What comes next is more than a recovery - we are in the midst of a destruction and rebirth cycle. It is the annihilation of brick-and-mortar offices, and the continued flattening of hierarchal structures - a “Reset”.  I’m sure some aspects of Pre-Covid19 will return, but I’m not sure which ones.

There’s more. 

In June, new housing rose by 55%.  Some postulate the work-from-home experience is a secular change and new buyers are scurrying to the ‘burbs, away from brick and mortar because they can - who wants to work in a city with traffic, parking headaches, and riots?  And what about efficiency and productivity in the WFH world?  Pre-Covid19 managerial thought considered working from home the last resort as employees out of sight could not be trusted to work as hard as they would under the eye (or thumb) of a ‘caring’ manager.

Of course, this proved to be bullshit. Productivity from WFH is going through roof, Zoom sessions are as normal as paperclips once were and without the commute, workers roll out of bed, take a dozen steps, and login ready to rock.  The computer is on after the kids get to sleep - afternoon walks are a thing, even on a Tuesday.   

This is the way; the New Way.

Current imaging channel: You are “... blinded to what you have become…"

Dealers/Providers: Are you insisting on bringing employees back to the office?  Is this because you still believe in WAM?  Are you You’re stuck in a 75-year mortgage?  This Pre-Covid19 mindset will finally put you in the dirt.

Imagine your folks are back in the office.  You implement Monday morning meetings and Friday afternoon sales get-togethers.  Your demo floor is stocked with all the latest toys (#ArcDrive) and your team is grinding out 600 dials and 200 cold calls a week - you are back to normal.

That is until: 

* One of your technician's tests positive
* One of your Salespeople tests positive  
* One of your CLIENTS has an outbreak  
* Your UPS driver tests positive  
* Your contracts manager tests positive
* Covid20 ‘gets out of the lab'

Now what?  Your salespeople suck on the phone because you didn’t change.  Your clients are not just scared of COVID, they are now scared of you and yours because you didn’t change.  You had a chance to unleash all your talent, but you didn’t change.  It isn’t fair, especially because all you wanted were things to get back to normal.  Is that a lot to ask?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

This is the real revolution. 

“It’s worse than you think.” "It usually is.”

As more workers move to a different environment, let’s call it a ’self-managed’ landscape - what happens to all those midlevel managers? If you hire correctly if the next couple of generations are savvy in the online world, motivated, and not afraid of having their sales activity monitored, why do you need Sales Managers?  No really.  Why?  

The Unleashed are selling on their own.  If they don’t work out, they move on. Systems are in place to measure productivity - software can monitor activity, and sales revenue is the number one measurement - I do not think that will change.  What must change is the way you and I sell.  No more glad-handing and dropping in with pies or goodies.  No longer will a CEO place his other C-levels in harm's way by scheduling a meeting in a stuffy conference room.  We must reach through the screens and connect in a succinct honest manner - no more techniques, fancy suits, or chunky watches.  As strange as it sounds, we will need to be more human than human in the virtual realm.

This is just a taste.  

The post-Covid19 world affects every corner of our niche: OEMs, dealers, supplies, clients, prospects, software, IT Services, employee retention, customer retention, education, spending, buying, food service, bars, state, local and federal organizations, travel, the end of conventions and big corporate meetings, international travel (the Canadian border is still closed) TV shows, and movies.

To think we’ll move forward in the same direction as January 1, 2020, is like staring at the Sun; Foolish.


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