August 10th 2020
Written by Alina Jingan, MarTech Practice Lead at MRM and Salesforce Marketing Campion 2020
You could be forgiven for thinking that the beginning of 2020 looked rather apocalyptic with so much anxious uncertainty in the world. We had to learn how to deal with our own insecurities and vulnerabilities, while caring for our families and loved ones and pushing ahead with our projects at work. At the personal level, work has become more than just work, it’s been a medium that has helped us to stay sane, plan for the future and to see the bigger picture. Leaders and businesses soon realised that the show must go on and in times of uncertainty they can choose to focus on what pro-actively can be done today for a better tomorrow.
In the last 2 months, our CTO and I have been very busy with what in the pre-pandemic world was called pitching. In just under two months we have delivered 5 pitches. The learnings that we gathered have been transformational. We can summarise our experiences in 5 key learnings:
1 / Stop pitching, start helping
Connection and empathy and the ability to relate to one another have been essential for us all during these pandemic times. When our worlds have turned upside down, the last thing that leaders in search of a solution need is to be sold and pitched at. Now, more than ever, these leaders are looking for consultancy, for trust, for an opportunity to leverage the existing relationships and partner with trusted advisors. For all businesses out there trying to sell Salesforce offerings, I’d say that you need to help in the moment if you can, and think long term. Nothing is permanent, not even a global pandemic. As trusted advisors is your responsibility to recommend something that can survive the test of time – a future-proof and scalable solution. As a consultant you might not be in a position to answer with certainty “Where do we go from here?”, but again, this is an opportunity re-assure the client that ‘We’ll go together from here’ and together we’ll find the right answers in a world that keeps changing at an incredible speed.
Top tip: Focus on building trust and a long-term relationship through relevancy – this is so critical in the Salesforce ecosystem, the deals will happen at the right time
2 / Tech is good, but tech alone can’t save us
Teams, zoom, skype, you name it – tech has been a life saver every day in so many situations. Tech is not here just to replace us with robotics and steal our jobs, tech is here to empower us to deliver our best work remotely, to collaborate, to connect and relate to people and places.
However, people behind the tech remain the key to any success. As the definition of digital is expanding, we all become tech managers to some extent advancing what we thought hardly possible in a pre-pandemic world. We, as a team, would probably never attempt to deliver a big Salesforce pitch online or run an interactive workshop online – and off course, it’s only human to want to give your best in a face-to-face environment. However, when that’s not an option, we learn to swiftly change mediums while still giving our best, and remain helpful and add value to the client.
Top tip: Give everyone the change to speak in the first 5 min – this encourages interaction and active listening.
3 / Digital transformation gets fast tracked
In the face of a crisis, some companies freeze while other companies press the dial up button at full speed on their digital transformation projects. These are the companies that came to us asking for Salesforce strategy and direction, for new systems and capabilities to be put in place to better prepare themselves for a new normal.
Companies that eagerly got to work to build better times ahead, are the companies that chose to be adaptable in unprecedented times like these.
Top tip: Self-assessment and focus will help understand what needs to be fixed now vs incremental optimisation. Prioritisation is key, review the value attached to each effort.
4 / Change as an opportunity, not a threat
Sometimes change is hard. Sometimes change is scary. Sometimes it’s both. Those who acknowledge that change is the only constant, are better equipped to pro-actively plan and not just react to what’s happening in the world.
To assess the Salesforce maturity, we use a framework that simply categories companies into 3 stages: walk, run and fly. Companies that came to us during these pandemic times, seeking Salesforce partnership are those companies who realised that ‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf’ (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
Top tip: Change can be perceived as a personal loss, don’t push change into your clients, be honest and transparent if the process is not going to be easy, but it might be worthwhile down the line.
5 / We’re better together
During the pitches that we had in these last few months, we’ve noticed an increased focus on the importance of bringing people along on this journey. We’ve seen teams are coming together as a unit, a whole, regardless if they work in marketing, sales or product. This awareness is paramount to the digital transformation. The lack of team and stakeholder alignment to the strategic value that Salesforce can provide is a key blocker to transforming current ways of working and existing processes. The newly found appreciation for collaboration and knowledge sharing might have cracked the code of ‘we’re in this together’ and ‘we don’t just want to go fast, we need to go far, and we can only do it, if we go together’. This societal shift and awareness will bring transformational impacts for companies that are inclusive in their approaches.
Top tip: Prioritise empathy to how people are navigating these times, finding what works for themselves in terms of collaboration and virtual team building/culture.
This pandemic is new to all of us, there is no roadmap of hacks and best practice to get successfully to the other side. Together we navigate the uncertainty of these times while keeping businesses afloat and even growing. Now is not the time for pitching, now is the time be the most relevant and helpful and focus on building meaningful relationships.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.