Apparently, the incompetent mailmerge fellow was even more incompetent and sent another pink slip to the same list again. Irony had a field day. I don't know till today if it was a mistake or my boss was fighting a fight to keep my job.
All this while I had to put a brave face to my customers, who were automakers going towards or emerging from Chapter 11!
I will spare the details of the saga. I had a year full of such stories and moments as I stayed back in the company due to some warped sense of morality.
Let’s talk about the present that looks much like the past. Except that, the switch isn’t flipping in a moment. We are on a freeze-frame mode, edging slowly. The flip is drawing out.
The unraveling of today
Patagonia closed even its eCommerce operations today. Olympics may not happen. NBA is out. Fine dining hotels are becoming drive-in burger joints to keep up with the needs of the time. The government cannot bail out a few bankers and automakers this time and call it done. And it’s not just America’s problem.
I hope China is telling the truth about getting back to near-capacity production. I don't doubt that China is past its peak point in their fight but I also don't believe that production won't go through a whiplash effect. I do hope that the eCommerce industry sees those tailwinds and shift of dollars towards online as people stay home.
But what if the death numbers go crazy? What if a few more countries mess it up? The UK already is making a very risky manoeuvre! It’s not what is happening that sets the tone for the economic conditions. It is the uncertainty and fear of it. At some point, the market decouples itself from reality when it doesn’t see definitive cues and instead, constructs its own reality.
It doesn’t matter if we are in a recession and how deep it is. If the market believes we are in a recession, we likely are. I have been here before. Err on the side of caution.
Be the rainmaker
I have some advice to offer to post-2008 workers and especially frontline salespeople.
1. Close every deal. Now is the time to keep deal prudence aside and give those discounts. Do whatever it takes. Close! Not because it’s your job but you could truly help your colleagues keep their jobs. Rainmakers have to spin the wheels of the economy. There are war-time CEOs and then there are war-time sales reps. There is actually war-time everybody. Give your best customer service. Write your best code.
2. Display grace even as you are trying to go out there and close. It’s a pandemic. People are in their emotional low. Don’t be that account executive that “checks in”. Build an authentic relationship. Offer help beyond your work.
3. Work very closely with your current customers and your customer success teams. Make them happy. Give extra to your customers. Keep them. Stand shoulder to shoulder with that technology lead with whom you've never spoken.
4. Stop looking at excel sheets and dashboards for projections. The next few weeks will not be an extrapolation of the past. Use your instincts. Observe. Manage deal by deal. Email by email. Ticket by ticket. There are no roles and hierarchies for the next few weeks. It’s time to be in the trenches.
5. Be kind and gracious to your spouse, kids, roomies, and strangers. Don’t anchor your mood around your workday events.
That is all.
- Ashwin Ramasamy
PipeCandy is a market intelligence platform that tracks the global eCommerce & 'direct to consumer' landscape.
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