Mentor Group Insights


A Virtual Reality

by Matt Webb / September 22, 2020

Picture yourself in the summer of 2019. Perhaps you were at home, on holiday, attending a music festival or enjoying your favourite hobby. At that moment, someone walks up to you and says, “this time next year, we will be in the midst of a pandemic, stuck mostly at home and you will go weeks without seeing your friends and family.”

I would imagine you would shrug your shoulders, smile quasi-politely and slowly walk away. And yet, to invoke a sci-fi phrase, “it’s life, but not as we know it” would perfectly sum up 2020 in several ways. 

This has been a transformative year for us at Mentor Group. Before the pandemic, 50% of our work was delivered virtually. From March onwards, that changed to 100% and furthermore, it has accelerated our transition towards digital learning through technology. 

It would be fair to say that at first, many of our clients were reluctant to move to a virtual learning approach. The belief was that sales development had to be done face to face as you need to interact with people.

The reality was (and still is) that we simply cannot do this so, what options or choices do we have available to us? Well, there are two choices really. We can either choose to do something, or we choose to do nothing. 

At Mentor Group, we chose the former and quickly identified some key areas of focus for our clients where we knew a change would be happening. Here are a few examples:

  1. Remote working: What is different and how do I maintain productivity?
  2. Virtual selling: How do I continue to engage my customers in an effective way?
  3. Virtual coaching: How do I look after the wellbeing and development of my team without seeing them?
 These are big topics and we found and continue to find that people are still in different stages of the change curve. We wanted to help people survive, thrive and succeed wherever they found themselves on that curve. 

As the weeks and months have passed, the focus has started to move again, and we are building solutions that meet the needs of our clients now. Two recent examples included Virtual Account Management and Storytelling. 

Learning in a virtual environment is different from face to face. The brain gets tired far quicker, which means the density of information shared needs to be reduced, which in turn means sessions have to be much shorter. 

Why am I telling you this? Is my intent to put Mentor in the shop window? Possibly. Is it to show how Mentor has adapted during these uncertain times? Probably. 

That being said, my real intent is to demonstrate that sometimes life has a way of handing you different perspectives and realities that accelerate the pace of change; not because you want to, but because you have to. The reality is virtual, and we must embrace this to continue to grow and develop in whatever way is right for you. 

Picture yourself in the summer of 2025. What’s changed? What’s stayed the same? In my opinion, learning has changed for the long term and technology-based learning and enablement will be unrecognisably different 5 years from now. 

What an exciting journey to be a part of.

Stay safe!

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Matt Webb

Matt Webb

Matt is a business consultant at Mentor Group, specialising in sales transformation and increasing the productivity and performance of sales organisations