“It’s the next best thing, really”
As we see the corporate inversion trend taking hold and causing panic in the financial markets and elsewhere, some patriotic companies are choosing to stay put and cough up the hefty 50% tax rate because they’re not in business to actually sell anything, they can’t, they just want employees to hang in there, make the company look whole and have a nice life. Kinda like hospice.
Until they can find a buyer, they are committed to using all the warm bodies they have in place, then rotate them again if they’re still breathing. Human potential is never under valued.
These resourceful companies are choosing to “get fiscally creative” and skinny it down by cutting back on one of its biggest expenditures, their Annual National Sales Meeting. These clever folks have found ways to re-create the atmosphere of a real humdinger, party hardy, let it all hang out, BYOB, virtual, celebratory sales meeting.
Some of their successful cost cutting and morale boosting methods include using the word “team” incessantly and saving big by using the last three year’s slide decks and re-playing the video of the “How To Tell Stories” guy. “Are you ready to go out and start telling stories to your customers? Woo Hoo!”
Some of the team activities include taking a few minutes to pay special tribute to their down sized comrades. Which are legion.Then they usually gather at the bar late at night and scare the crap out of each other by replaying last year’s switch to telemarketing scare. “They wouldn’t reeaaallly do that, would they? I mean, would they?” Brrrr!
By renting just one suite and letting reps in two at a time to have a drink, a few appetizers, a rented sun lamp and an ocean noise machine, they have found a way to show their appreciation for getting through another year.
Though the attendees are forced to sleep on floors and empty elevators, the folks I spoke with said the carpet was fairly plush and they actually felt a bit refreshed in the morning even with maids dragging laundry carts over the top of them.
They also save money on airfare by using Go ToMeeting, conferencing in, or face timing anyone who lives outside of the Billerica town limits, which adds up when your dealing with a field sales force that tops out at maybe twenty or so. (At the time of this writing, anyway)
Most of these reps are elderly, so travel can be a burden. Especially if they’ve been selling the same product for forty years. These folks have been together so long they can actually finish each others’ sentences. (while in different states.) They mostly speak in product specific sound bites and footnotes from package inserts. And really, who wants some incoherent guy from Buffalo in a walker, roaming around Logan airport trying to rent a bicycle?
This massive celebration, through the hard work of the marcom team, whose creative use of crayons, construction paper and interior decorating skills, are able to bring the festivities to life.
I have personally had my interior decorated by them, so I know first hand of their many talents. What they lack in creativity, they make up with a style that any fourth grader would be envious of.
So, as you can see, with a little creativity and a frugal CFO, you can still capture all the thrills, glory, excitement, and dare I say, decadence, while still capturing that “Motel 6” feeling with a few borrowed cds, a boom box and a “if you sleep in your car, we will pay for your parking” policy. It doesn’t get any better than that. Unless you like to sleep naked… in January.
At this rate, the company will actually make money on this three night orgy. Now that’s innovation. You have to hand it to them, (and they’d like you to) they certainly don’t let things get out of control. “We’re a small company”, the CEO said “So there’s no reason to get all crazy with this shit.” Well put, I’d say.
One of the employees, who spoke on condition of background, told me that in anticipation of this annual gala event, and to cover costs, they actually shut off the air during the summer. I told him I thought it must be uncomfortable to have to work without air conditioning. He said, “No, they’ve shut off the actual air. There is no air. None.” And he collapsed.
Well, that only tells me one thing: these savvy, bargain basement meeting planners are saving up for maybe an even bigger bash next year. If there is a next year. Can’t wait.
The theme for next year’s National Sales mini-meet is prescient, “Always Be Closing.”