2020 has drastically changed the way we do business. The pandemic removed everything from dinner meetings, in-person sales calls and trade shows – and overnight we had to adapt.
For someone in sales, the sudden empty halls, meeting rooms and hotel lobby is a crushing blow. We had to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start the evolution to relevance in this new world.
Becoming Part of the Product Development Team. An essential aspect of our work in sales has always been to identify and understand our clients’ ever-evolving needs, so it made sense for us to be included in the initial development stage of the new virtual conferencing products and services. The all-inclusive approach adopted by our organization, has fostered this natural progression in being part of the team developing our virtual offering. This included streaming options, platforms as well as organizational and package structures.
At the onset, we attended the streaming workshops and training back in mid 2020. That was a very daunting time and we can really look back and be proud of the experience gained and how much we have learnt over the past eight months.
We continue to be part of the product development process and join each virtual event debrief where we formulate new ways to improve on each and every experience.
Gone are the days of only selling features and benefits. We have both always firmly believed in finding the right solution for our clients, rather than merely pitching a product to achieve a sale. To stay in the game, be relevant and evolve to meet our clients’ expectations, we had to upskill and completely immerse ourselves in this new way of eventing. A learning curve which was planned to take place over the next five years had to happen in a matter of months, and we embraced it. We have become not only product specialists but now understand the mechanics of virtual and hybrid eventing. If you had told us a year ago that we would understand production quality, JWT tokens, Stream keys and MS Teams NDI functionality, we would have laughed nervously and ordered a G&T! Education has therefore become more important in our sales tool kit. This is over and above educating our clients on our property’s services and facilities but educating on virtual events too.
Hands on approach and responsibility for service delivery. As much as we have always taken responsibility for our brand promise, we immediately understood that many of our clients were executing a virtual or hybrid event for the first time and we needed to embark on this journey with them, from A to Z. It was no longer a case of supporting the operations and services teams from the outside. We have both been part of the CCVCC helpline assisting remote delegates across the country to ensure that they receive the best event experience, we have guided Government Ministers with their presentation during their dry runs and even assisted the production team formulating the event analytics post the event. (We are both able to say our Excel skills have exponentially grown!) The degree of this change in our role will probably depend on many aspects but our hands-on approach with our clients will remain.
Moving forward, there are clearly two certainties, firstly virtual and hybrid are here to stay and secondly, we will continue to evolve and grow, reinventing ourselves for the best of our clients and business.
We miss our clients who have become friends and we look forward to welcoming you in person again, with twice the heart, love and hospitality. In the meantime, we will continue engaging with you virtually and don’t be surprised if you see us during an event dry run, prepping your speakers!
Take good care of yourself and one another and keep safe and healthy.
Century City Conference Centre and Hotels