It was an 'all-hands' meeting. They hadn't tried that since the first round of seed funding three years ago and many had not even been with the company at the time. But this was serious. Jack had called everyone in. Billy, Joe, Jim and Bob were in the office at the same time and noone could remember when that had last happened.
"Our biggest customer has just been the subject of a take-over bid", he said, "And it is leveraged and hostile", he added.
Everyone knew what that meant. If succesfull, there would be a period of savage cost cuts, which would have an impact on all four accounts the customer was trading through. They might even cease to be an active customer.
"We are very far from being take-over fodder ourselves", Jack introduced the meeting, "But, if this deal goes through, we will be lucky to keep them as a client."
Noone knew this better than Billy. He was by far the most experienced of the sales team and had been through many situations like this one. It was rarely pretty. He respected Jack for his go-get attitude in such times of distress.
"I want us to market the suitor like all hell has broken loose", Jack said. "This is maximum defense", he added, with an American emphasis on the 'de' in defense. He thought it made it sound more aggressive. Just what was needed today. "We will not go quietly into the night!"
"We need everyone to get stuff about the suitor into the CRM. I want to know the name of their CEO's pet poodle by the end of today. Get it all into the CRM system. And then I want to see them, meet them. Billy-Joe-Jim-Bob go see if you can get some meetings signed up. We need to be there before they take over our client."
That day saw the largest number of new documents opened in the short five-year history of the company. Everyone had an idea about this thing or that.
Johnnie in Marketing started 10 new brochure ideas that were meant to read like a serialization. Everyone in sales worked on variations of introductory letters. Jack and Jill started on three imaginative sales proposals for what they thought might be a pitch for a large slice of business. Even Harry from Accounts got inspired to write a note on how the target could finance a major purchase by spreading the payments over a longer period. It was even tax-deductible up front and he was quite chuffed for having thought of it.
Everyone sent documents to everyone else asking for reviews, comments and additions. Even Sally in Reception was on Jack's recipient list. Everyone's views were needed.
"Culd u cal me when u get off school?", wrote Jack in his SMS message to Frankie. "Something odd is happening with the system and we are having a very hectic day."
Jack really did not need to get random 'Disk Full' messages all over the company - today of all days. And it wasn't clear if it was the file server or peoples email in-boxes that were full. People were saving documents to their C:drives again, just to be able to cope with the workload. And there were now so many versions of each document that it was becoming unmanageable to have someone complain they did not see version four of a document, when it was already being discussed publicly as version five. He couldn't very well ask people to stop writing documents, since he had started them doing so. He just wished he could expand everyones storage space without upsetting anyone already working.
Jack made a note to himself to think about some new way of motivating Frankie. He was really needed.
He and Jill were talking about the situation over a sandwich lunch at their desks later, when Jill went:
"Would you know, I came across this banner add on the Internet. It said 'How's Your DMS Doing?' Do you know what DMS stands for, Jack?"
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