In the early months of the pandemic, Goldman Sachs ran an article under the headline, “Light at the End of the Tunnel or an Oncoming Train? Depends on Where You Are Standing.”
The article highlighted several industries — transportation, hospitality, retail — that were staring at the headlights of a freight train. People were canceling their vacations, chefs were closing their restaurants, and owners were boarding up their stores on Main Street. Outlooks for businesses in these fields was bleak, wrote the author.
On the other hand, it picked out a handful of sectors that were enjoying hockey stick growth — teleconferencing, e-learning, and so on.
But success or failure during the pandemic comes down to more than just your sector of the economy. Some tourism companies will still find a way to thrive once again, while some online collaboration platforms will fade away.
Organizations in every industry have the opportunity to thrive during the pandemic. Indeed, according to a Boston Consulting Group study, 14% of companies were able to accelerate growth and increase profitability during the past four economic downturns.
What makes the difference in whether you survive, thrive, or fade away is you.
Faced with such seismic change, Carl Eschenbach says field sales leaders have two choices. One, go into your shell and just hope the pandemic passes. Or two, figure out ways to be successful during the pandemic. He calls the latter of these approaches “being a chameleon.”
“Be a chameleon, adapt to your surroundings, maintain a great attitude, and let your will be your skill,” Eschenbach told Gong. “If you follow those basic principles, many others will succeed.”
In this book, we profiled inspirational field sales chameleons. We learned how Ryan Bott built an eight-week training bootcamp to turn in-person sellers into remote sales rockstars. We saw how Miles Kane replaced face-to-face rapport-building with heartfelt virtual conversations. We explored how to make a crisis-proof forecasting system with Brian Breslin. We saw how to cultivate a long-distance culture with Josh Allen. And Eschenbach himself taught us the value of servant leadership, of listening before acting and treating your team like a resource, not a liability.
By learning from each other and emulating what they do best, we can reinvent field sales for the new normal. We can find the light at the end of the tunnel. We can help businesses to not just survive the pandemic, but thrive.