Not too long ago, if you were to write my job description, one line would be nonnegotiable: Travel required.Now? Not so much. Like everyone else around the world, my team and I have been grounded. Instead of traveling the country to meet with clients, we’ve been working from dining rooms and spare bedrooms and home offices, “meeting” virtually via Zoom, Ring Central, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams.
So how are we managing during the pandemic? We have shined.
This doesn’t come naturally to us. If you know anyone on my team, you know that we are a very collaborative group of people. We enjoy sitting together, catching up in the hallways, and stopping by each other’s desks. We feed off of each other’s energies. Our work is often inspired by clients and colleagues on other teams.
So how are we managing during the pandemic? We have shined. We’ve turned lemons into lemonade. It turns out that during the “old” normal, we spent a good bit of time organizing travel schedules and working hard to get everyone around the table, while feeling some pressure to fit a lot into a face-to-face meeting. In this “new” normal, we have more time to weigh in. We can focus on strategy. We’re thinking through execution. We can be more deliberate.
In this “new normal," we have more time to weigh in. We can focus on strategy. We can be more deliberate.
We’re also finding new ways to collaborate, not just with clients, but with each other. We’re using Slack as a “meet and greet” tool, because yes, we are still hiring, and despite being apart, we want to replicate that “walking the halls” feeling of knowing each other. We’re hosting virtual happy hours to celebrate sales wins, and deadlines met, and TGIFridays. And we’re making genuine efforts to take care of each other. When teammates feel overwhelmed or adrift, we’re prepared to step in and lift them up.
When teammates feel overwhelmed or adrift, we’re prepared to step in and lift them up.
Even our client presentations have changed, and for the better, I think. We’re conscious of how screen-weary our clients are, so we do all we can to maximize every minute of every (virtual) meeting. Our materials now carry more of a punch. We’re making greater impressions and telling our story more concisely.
And lucky us, we’ve been able to quickly apply lessons learned from our own inside sales teams. They were already pros at working virtually on behalf of our clients, and we’ve benefited mightily from their expertise.
At the same time, those teams have also stepped up. They’re doing stellar work supporting client sales, which is particularly important as on-farm meetings aren’t so desirable right now. One client has been so pleased with their TKXS inside sales team’s recent achievements, that they highlighted individual TKXS team members and accomplishments in a presentation during their (virtual) annual sales meeting.
The most important part is helping our partners achieve their potential, pandemic or not.
Are we doing everything right? Are we doing everything with excellence and at the caliber we’d want?
Not all things and not always. There have been some glitches. But I suspect this is the case for everyone navigating this “new normal.”
However, we are continuing to adapt and do our best to serve agri-business – an industry charged with the noble and challenging mission of feeding our growing world population. And we’re quickly learning that, as much as we enjoy face-to-face client meetings, they don’t define us. Meetings aren’t the most important part of what we do. We don’t need to travel. The most important part is helping our partners achieve their potential, pandemic or not.