The Future is here. Let’s get started.
The wait is over. Welcome to the new (emerging) normal.
It feels like last week we reached a pivotal point in our Corollercoaster ride – when we started to see what working in this “new world” will look like.
Last week tech firms Google, Zillow, and many others announced WFH for the rest of the year.
So at least this aspect of “corona life” will be baked into the AC (After Corona) world. This IS the “next normal”. We’re here.
So where are we?
First, we see that the slow movement towards WFH has leapt at least three years in three months. It’s a “thing” and it’s not going anywhere.
On the other hand, we must also recognize that not ALL companies or ALL workers will be working from home. In fact, about 60% of jobs cannot realistically offsite IRL in post-pandemic life. So…
This means that many companies outside of the FAANG world will be comprised of two sets of workers – those who need (or choose) to be
on-prem(ise) and those who are remote (or “in the cloud” as we would say in the software world). It seems that the human world is becoming more like the technology world those workers have been creating.
For the foreseeable future, work will be… mixed. Work will be virtual. And not. Which means that companies – and the companies selling to them – must get used to a mixed workplace “multiplex”.
But wait. There’s more.
This isn’t JUST a move to Work From Home. WFH means really means WFA (Work From Anywhere). That means that at least some Silicon Valley knowledge workers can throw off the exorbitant rents they have been paying and telecommute from somewhere half the cost.
Think of what that means for parts of the US that are not Seattle, San Francisco, New York, or Boston. For example, Tulsa OK is offering $10K to remote workers willing to relocate. This may reverse the return to cities and start to rejuvenate the suburbs.
And think of what that means for house and rental rates IN tech-oriented metro areas. It’s hard to maintain a huge premium to live near the Googleplex when Google would rather pay you to live in, well, Tulsa.
Even for people going back to company offices, they will find their colleagues behind plexiglass and masks… and the rest will not be there on odd (or even) days.
We are not going back to work
Let’s face it — we are not “going back” to work.
We are “going forward” into the new distributed workplace.
So what does this mean for B2B sales & marketing?
Well, some things are better. Some things are worse. And it’s all… different.
There frequently will be a mix of people online (Zoom, Teams, Meet, etc.) and “in the room”. This will mean that most meetings will need to accommodate for being online, which changes the dynamics of those meetings.
Even in the office, the days of everyone jamming into a conference room are over. The dreaded cubicle may return, replacing the dreaded open office.
In sum, there are many ways that separating coworkers by time and space increases transactional friction, which tends to make communication, meetings, achieving consensus, and decisions harder.
On the plus side…
- Meetings will tend to be more structured and intentional.
- There may be fewer needless meetings (yeah!).
- And traveling to meetings just got minimized (double yeah!).
On the other hand…
- It’s harder to get people all “in one room” (even a Zoom room) with (more) different time zones and tech glitches.
- Accordingly, it will be harder to get everyone “on the same page”. Achieving consensus will likely take longer and take more effort.
- Finally, with the virtualization of the proverbial water cooler, workers will have less chance to just “stop by your office” to get information or agreement quickly and informally.
So on the balance, selling into corporations may have just gotten harder. At the least, it’s different, so that’s a new practice to learn.
This doesn’t just change the way you go to market. Your sales team may also need a new (virtual) buyer-based sales playbook.
Let’s get started… together.
The clock has started. It’s time to just deal with where we are now. We need to adopt a startup mentality. We won’t know all the answers. We have to experiment.
The companies that succeed will be the ones that are quickest to switch from “we can’t” to “we will”. If you’re not doing it, your competitors will.
Look for our next post on Buyer Scrum, our one-week, high-impact method for getting you and your team focused on what you can learn – and not just conjecture about – how your customers are really thinking about you (and what to do about it).