Archive for the ‘Resource’ Category

Show me the money (part one)

December 4th, 2012

Having been a new business employee, employer, client, service provider and recruiter, I have been asked many times over the years to advise on the thorny issue of performance related pay.


There tend to be two instances when discussions around commission or “win bonuses” crop up. The first is when recruiting in house new business talent, the second when hiring external new business support, typically a new business or lead generation agency.


In both cases, I would urge proceeding with caution. Unless such deals are structured with care, either or both parties will be left feeling short changed.


From the outset, a win bonus seems, well, a win win for both parties. The business will only need to pay out having secured extra revenue and the new business person, or supplier will be motivated by the prospect of getting the lead over the finishing line. But this is exactly where the theory can start to break down.


I’m a firm believer in performance related deals, but first we need to define performance. New business talent comes in all shapes and sizes, with an array of differing strengths and specialisms. There are a rare few who can single handedly sniff out an opportunity, make introductions, stay connected, concoct the strategy, creative, then lead and close the pitch. More often, you might have a brilliant opportunity spotter, networker or pitch manager but the winning itself is down to teamwork – the chemistry between the client and agency client lead, a cracking strategy, creative work, and ultimately the end of year billings for that client reflect on the performance of many, many individuals across the agency.


So when thinking about a win bonus, whether for a new business manager or supplier make sure the bonus reflects the parts of the process where they have influence or control. If they can influence opportunity creation or an agency shortlist, then agree the criteria and reward accordingly.


Sometimes there is no escaping a revenue percentage deal. If this is the case then spend time on definitions. Project or first year income? Turnover, revenue, gross income or net profit? Be sure to work through a variety of scenarios until you are comfortable with all possible outcomes.


I’ll leave you with the mighty Dan Ariely putting pay and performance under the microscope in this illuminating video.


Feeling optimistic?

November 27th, 2012

It’s worth stating at this early point in the proceedings that this is not a self help blog. But if I have learnt one thing over the years of new business practice, it is that all other things being equal: relevant offer, quality work and a good plan; one of the key ingredients for new business success is optimism.


Now let’s be clear this is not blind optimism. This is not charging headlong into unqualified pitch opportunities, or projecting new business revenue based on an exchange of business cards at a conference. This is simply remaining positive, optimistic and motivated enough that you continue to do the good things well, day-after-day.


Sounds simple? In theory yes it is. But as we all know agency life has a tendency to get in the way. Whether you are an agency head also tasked with generating new leads or you have a role solely focussed on marketing the business to new clients, remaining optimistic every day can be a challenge. Things go wrong. People have disagreements. Technology can let you down. The list goes on.


So how do you block this out?


I was struck by a recent post by Hunter Walk, observing the behaviours of new starters at Google – or Nooglers as they are known. Hunter describes how:


  • New employees are always psyched about the opportunity – they see the glass half-full, brimming with potential.
  • New employees don’t yet know “that’s the way it’s always been done here” – they see processes and limitations with fresh eyes.
  • New employees aren’t aware that “it’s been tried before and failed” so they are able to surface the things you should be doing but struggled to execute.
  • New employees introduce themselves to everyone, because, well, they’re new and there’s no social stigma to it at all.
  • New employees don’t have any political baggage – they give their colleagues the benefit of the doubt.


Now, what if you could recreate that optimism, every day, in a new business context? What if you could adopt that new employee mindset? Wouldn’t it just be a little easier to get things done?


Tempted? Try it and see.