Goodbye 2020, hello 2021!

If there’s one thing I learned from last year’s annual predictions, it’s don’t try to make predictions! 

Though we’re all looking forward to saying goodbye to 2020 we need to remember that while there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel is still very long. I, for one, am very hopeful but I also know it’s going to be months before I’m putting my kids on a plane or meeting with all of you at an event. 

Probably the most overused phrase of 2020 was “the new normal”… but truth be told the new normal is here to stay. In some ways the world has completely changed and we need to start thinking differently and progressively if we want to thrive. 

We’ve All Had To Pivot 

While we’re looking forward to some aspects of life going back to the way they used to be, some things have changed forever thanks to the massive shift we’ve all experienced. For example, a local restaurant here in Boulder only accepted cash or checks for the 10 years we’ve lived here and conveniently had an ATM in its foyer. If you’re under 30 you can google ATM or automated cash machine. Since the pandemic though, no one wants to touch or exchange money so they had to make a change to survive. Now when you call in your order they take your credit card information over the phone and walk your food out to your car. What’s more, during a recent pick up my husband saw them carting the ATM out of the restaurant. No big deal right? Except that it’s someone’s business to own that ATM. Are ATMs going to be at all relevant in 2021? Everywhere that once only took cash now takes credit cards or in the case of a dispensary, a debit card.

The point is, everyone in our lives has reached a new level of technical ability this year. Whether that impacts your business directly or not, the future of work (and life) will be dependent on accelerated digital transformation.  We all must learn how to operate and communicate in today’s highly digital, work-from-anywhere world or we’ll fall behind. Now that my 83 year old father-in-law knows how to use video chat, he’s not going to stop using it once we can hop on a plane.

We’re Not Looking Back! 

We’re 9+ months into the COVID-19 crisis, and I’d like to give us all a personal pat on the back for the incredible resilience and flexibility we’ve all shown. We have been forced to pivot in unimaginable ways, make difficult decisions, and rethink how we run our homes, our children’s education and businesses. Not only have we made changes quickly this year, many of us have created processes for future-proofed success. We’ve set up grocery delivery, automated subscriptions, upgraded technology and cybersecurity, and have even mastered online schooling! We’ve risen to the occasion and learned how to keep life moving without in-person interaction. And guess what? The second stores and schools reopen, we’re not going to simply cancel these services. Our quarantine infrastructures are here to stay at some level. 

From a channel standpoint, these changes have created unique opportunities for growth in the new year. Partners had to pivot by expanding their demand generation practices and the moment live events are back on, they aren’t going to ditch the new strategies and tactics. If you haven’t already, it’s up to you to help Partners strategically reallocate event budget towards things like account based marketing (ABM) or social selling. Educate Partners to drive demand with exhausted, pajama-wearing targets through personalized video and give them the tools to reach audiences no matter where they are. 2021 will be the year to step back and think critically about how your solutions help propel businesses amid rapid change, and invest more in your indirect sales channel. 

The bottom line, many of us have found our recovery and will not immediately go back to “the old way” the second we feel safe to move about the globe.

Need a little help rethinking your channel approach for the new year? We would love to chat. Let’s have a conversation!