Saturday, March 24, 2012

But I Licked it First! -or- How to Ensure Prospects Die on the Vine

So here's the situation: One of your sales reps, partners, whatevers meets someone at a networking event. He or she logs the contact in your CRM (which is great), but then the wheels come off. No one else at your organization can even touch that contact or that company. Oh, they can, but they won't.

Why not? Because if anything ever closes from that contact or that company, the person who logged the contact has progenitor, that is, proof he or she was the origin point and, in many situations, gets all the credit and commission – regardless of any effort past the first touch.
"But everyone should advance the lead for the good of the business," you say from your corner suite.

"All I will get is pain and grief if I even go near it," they mumble from their office a floor (or more) below.

Why "licked it first?"

You open a box of donuts. There is one Boston Creme donut in there, but Bob quickly leans down and licks it. While many others wants that donut, no one will ever touch it. Why not? Because Bob licked it.

Eventually, the donut goes stale and it's tossed into the garbage.

Sadly, this describes the "origination" policies of many sales & marketing organizations. (And, in my world, every organization is a sales & marketing organization.)

How can you solve the donut problem? Drop a plastic knife into the box. Then people will cut off part of the donut and leave the rest for others.


An interesting 'fail.'

Sitting in a meeting (as a consultant), I learned that marketing had "stopped" delivering leads to a specific business developer. Funny, since the marketing team had no knowledge that they had been formerly successful for that individual. No credit was provided to marketing on the BD's reports. No mention that the efforts had led to "over the transom" calls. Not even a "Hey, thanks!" Nothing. Until, of course, the leads stopped arriving. And then, the marketing team was criticized for suddenly being a failure. (How heart warming!)

Now the marketing team knew their efforts were, possibly, indirectly helping that BD guy, since he was doing well on sales and they were promoting his services – but they did not know a specific direct path was working.

Why didn't the BD mention anything before? Because he did not want to lose the commission or have to fight for it. Also note: the marketing team at this organization receives no commission for being part of the success path. None. But the BD guy did not want to lose the leads to a "house" account, or even have to share the kudos, so he said nothing. Who won here? (Considering all the parties and making a mental tally...) No one! And everyone left the meeting annoyed at everyone else.

Who's fault is this? Leadership's for rewarding individual success and punishing teamwork.

So what can be done?

1) Time bombs. Set up a rule that any contact that has no activity for 30, 60, 90, or 180 days is fair game. (Think "fast fish" from Moby Dick ... which I believe I referenced in an earlier post.)

2) Teamwork. Sure, give credit for the original touch, but not 100% credit. What is the right number? The one that gets people to request help from the 'licker' (creating a pursuit team) vs. watching the contact die on the vine.

3) Bonus for growth, not specific sales. Sure, give the 'licker' a spiff for bringing the contact into the fold (after something closes or, at least, after there is a real proposal/contract on the table of course), but also give the other team members a bonus for hitting their larger goals.

4) Psychic rewards for playing nice. Publicly thank the other players, by name, and with some small or non-monetary reward. Too many leaders publicly call out the individual who originally licked the contact or brought the ball over the finish line without even recognizing the blockers or tacklers. Or, perhaps worse, pacifying them with "...and the many other people who helped here..." said right before the bonus check is handed over to the single individual.

A simple question.

Are you creating Bobs that lick the best donuts? ...or are you dropping a plastic knife in the box to promote teamwork?

No comments:

Post a Comment