Tag Archives: Reward

How Do You Respond to a Competitor’s Sales Tactic? Six Ideas

Situation: A company has learned that a competitor has cloned their client development approach. This approach enabled the company to gain early market share. They have since moved up-market and have enhanced their sales tactics. How should the company respond to the competitor’s tactic?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Reconnect with the market contacts that got you where you are. Be sure that they are aware of your track record, the value that you provide your clients, and reinforce your current market development focus. Now that you are established, position yourself as the proven producer who consistently produces results.
  • Study what the competitor is doing, who their target customer is, their close rates, and what if anything they are doing to enhance their close rates. Learn from them and copy or improve on their practices where this will yield benefit.
  • If your sales development is based on referrals, enhance the rewards to contacts who bring you new business in your prime target markets.
  • Your principal concern may not be your client base, which is likely unaware of the differences in your versus your competitor’s approaches, but in the referral structure that is your primary source of new business. Focus effort and resources to shore up your relationship with your referral base.
  • Focus on your strengths – performance and excellence in managing client relationships.
  • If the competitor is focusing on down market accounts that you no longer cultivate, then expect them to succeed in this market. Become the provider of choice to up market accounts and the natural referral choice for these accounts. If the competitor stumbles, you may pick up unexpected business.

How Do You Shift From Regional to National Operations? Three Foci

Situation: A company has a network of regional offices, operating under loose oversight from the home office. Increasingly, large customers are asking for national service agreements, but the company struggles to coordinate uniform national service delivery. How do you shift from independent regional to coordinated national operations?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • If you want to act like a national company, then organize like a national company. Create a national account office which will take the lead in negotiating national contracts. That office will then coordinate with the regional offices to assure that service delivery occurs according to contract.
    • As the national office is built, it will be important for them to understand how service delivery may vary between states because of differences in state regulations. This will require a manager who is experienced and knowledgeable in your field. This may be a promising current regional manager or an outside individual from your industry.
    • You will also want to define customer categories which will enable you to classify current and prospective customers as regional or national accounts. You may want to consider three customer categories, for example Regional, Emerging National and National Accounts.
  • The key to success will lie in your incentive and professional development structures.
    • If region managers receive their incentives and promotions primarily for developing regional business, then this is where they will focus.
    • If you want the region managers to shift their activity and priorities to creating and servicing national contracts, then bias both your incentives and professional development programs accordingly.
    • For region managers, continuity of business will be a top priority, as this enables them to maintain region performance. To come on-board with the new program, they must perceive a value for both themselves and their customers.
  • Once you have determined your structure, look for high profile wins that drive the structure. Reward and promote those who produce these wins.
    • These producers will become your champions for change.
    • The message will spread quickly across the organization.

How Can You Use Web and Mobile Tech to Bridge Different Worlds?

Interview with Jason Langheier, MD, MPH, Founder and CEO, Zipongo

Situation: The Internet and social media provide opportunities to bridge seemingly distinct worlds through common interests. For example, grocery chains that sell healthy foods and health insurance companies might be brought together through a common interest in healthy eating habits. How can you use web and mobile technology to bridge these two worlds?

Advice from Jason Langheier:

  • Interests and industries which are at first glance distinct can be brought together using the power of the Internet and social media. For example, Let’s Move and the Partnership for a Healthy America have nudged national food retailers and grocers to improve the health of their offerings in an effort to fight childhood obesity. Success here can benefit health insurers because obesity leads to increased healthcare costs through its link to diabetes and other complications. The potential of subsidies from health insurers to promote and generate healthy food choices is interesting to food retailers, but requires new incentive and recommendation systems.
  • We want to help people harness their motivation to build lasting new eating and activity routines. We do this through rewards based commerce, supported by social networks and gamification to help reach one’s health goals. We focus on choices that people make in daily living like grocery and restaurant choices and physical activities. We highlight alternatives, create simple recommendations, and make it easy to act on those recommendations. We encourage repetition of positive choices through a feedback loop which is tailored to the individual.
  • Commitments made within a social network are more likely to stick than promises to self. We leverage existing social media networks and offer incentives for referring friends. Friends help friends make better choices by encouraging them to read labels and buy healthier foods at the moment of purchase.
  • It is important to keep the user interface simple, especially at first. Many of the most successful applications initially present simple yes-no choices. From a tracking standpoint, this also minimizes variables and improves data measurement. Featuring high contrast action buttons on our site also helps prompt decisions.  There is a sweet spot on a commerce site between presenting an overwhelming array of options, and too few choices – which we assess through A-B testing.  By starting simply and building complexity slowly we build a baseline control scenario, then vary choices simply off the baseline to improve results.
  • The entrepreneur seeking to truly achieve a social mission must plan for both the short and long-term. In the short-term, it is critical to build milestones which will demonstrate financial feasibility and sustainability for potential investors. However a long-term perspective is also essential, particularly when one is interested in long term behavioral and economic impact.

You can contact Jason Langheier at j@zipongo.com

Key Words: Internet, Social Media, Food, Insurance, Health, Common, Interest, Software, Bridge, Entrepreneur, Partnership for a Healthy America, Incentive, Tracking, Reward, Commitment, Behavior, Change, Friend, Simple

How Do You Transform Company Culture? Three Keys

Interview with Joe Payne, CEO, Eloqua

Situation: A company is the leader in an expanding market. To sustain growth, they must transform how their people operate so that they better address and serve the needs of their target customers. How do you transform company culture?

Advice from Joe Payne:

  • We have a saying at Eloqua: Culture eats strategy for breakfast. More important than this year’s product strategy is the culture you build that let’s employees make decisions on the fly because they know “that’s how we do things at Eloqua.”
    • Look at how you pay and reward your people. We all receive bonuses on the same team metrics: company sales, profitability, and customer satisfaction. If the team wins, we all win.
    • We are not a democracy, but everyone has a voice. Although we make decisions as a business, we avoid top-down management. We push as much authority and accountability as far down the organization chart as we can. You can only do this well with a strong culture.
  • We adopted a mantra to guide our way, “Get it done – Do it right”, and a set of metrics to make it part of our culture.
    • We created a two-by-two grid, with “Get it Done” on the Y-axis and “Do it Right” on the X-axis on which all employees, including the Executive Team, are plotted. If rated in the top right quadrant, that employee is doing well. If someone finds himself or herself plotted in the Upper Left quadrant (getting it done, but not doing it right), that person has one quarter to improve. Lower Right people get two months. Lower lefters are out that day.
    • We can measure “getting it done” using standard quantitative metrics, but “doing it right” is more qualitative. We ask questions like, “Is the person a positive source of energy for the team? Does she go above and beyond for other staff and for customers?” We provide examples to help evaluators plot individual performance.
    • Once we instituted this matrix, one of our top selling sales reps was evaluated as being in the top left quadrant. When he only paid lip-service to changing and didn’t correct this behavior after a quarter, we let him go, numbers and all. This decision was both a major “wow” and a major win for the company.
  • Culture and culture change start at the top.

You can contact Joe Payne at joe.payne@eloqua.com

Key Words: Culture, Growth, Transform, Customer, Needs, Pay, Reward   

What are Your Plans for 2011 Bonuses? Seven Thoughts

Situation: A company has historically given Christmas bonuses at the rate of 10-20% of salary in a good year. The CEO is concerned that employees may stay until their bonus is received, and then leave for another job. What are your plans for 2011 bonuses?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • First, what is your objective in granting bonuses? Which among the following are you trying to achieve?
    • Showing appreciation.
    • Acknowledgement of effort.
    • Effort above and beyond the norm.
    • Once you determine your goal, design a structure that will effect this goal.
  • What practices are typical for your industry – your competitors, vendors and clients?
    • Background research on industry practices provides a basis for your own practice. You can then evaluate whether varying from industry practice can give you an advantage.
  • Company performance should be a factor in determining bonus payment. So should performance against individual employee goals and objectives.
  • How much discretion should be given to managers for setting bonuses for their direct reports?
    • Talk to your managers and get their input on how they would handle bonus evaluation.
    • A number of companies give managers a pool guideline, and have them produce a spreadsheet of recommended bonus distribution for executive review and approval.
    • Individuals should not decide their own bonuses. Bonuses for all employees/managers should be decided by their direct supervisors.
  • Should the CEO be concerned if an employee takes their bonus and then leaves?
    • If an employee has earned their bonus, then you are granting them an earned reward. Their departure likely has much less to do with whether or not they receive a bonus than other factors.
    • Human resource research consistently demonstrates that compensation is at the bottom of the ladder of reasons that workers remain or leave – particularly workers who exercise critical thinking and judgment in their jobs.

Key Words: Strategy, Team, Bonus, Annual, Christmas, Incentive, Objective, Industry, Reward, Performance, Measurement, Discretionary

How Does an Entrepreneur Evolve from Doer to Leader? Four Suggestions

Situation: A company has grown largely through the determination and energy of the founding CEO who is still the principal business development resource. The CEO wants to move from day-to-day focus to a leadership role, planning for the future. How have you evolved from principal doer to leader?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Start by developing and managing an organizational chart for the business.
    • Create the organizational chart initially by role and responsibility.
    • Match existing people to the roles. Individuals may fill more than one role, but be sure that the individuals are suited to the roles to which they are assigned.
  • Give ownership of areas of responsibility to others.
    • Make it clear for each area of responsibility that the individual assigned is now in charge.
    • Match projects or assignments with individuals’ abilities and available time.
    • Establish quarterly or annual performance objectives WITH as opposed to FOR each individual – objectives that support company objectives.
    • See that people are rewarded for their results – both soft and monetary rewards – as appropriate to the responsibility held by each.
  • While you continue as the lead of business development, hand off new clients to others as soon as you get them on-board. Let others take on the customer nurturing and maintenance roles. Establish a plan to replace yourself in this role.
  • The EMyth Revisited by Michael Gerber provides a soup to nuts recipe for moving from doer to leader of a company. Everything starts with your organizational chart.

Key Words: Leader, Doer, Role, Focus, Organizational Chart, Org Chart, People, Match, Ownership, Responsibility, Performance, Objectives, Reward, Results, EMyth, Gerber

What is an Agile Leadership Paradigm? Three Perspectives

Interview with Jorge Titinger, CEO, Verigy, Inc.

Situation: The environment has become more complex for leaders. Not only must leaders perform classic roles, they must also deal with increased uncertainty and change. How do you build a new leadership paradigm to address ongoing change?

Jorge Titinger’s Advice:

There are three challenges facing leaders today.

  • First, given that change is constant, what does the next likely settling point look like in your environment look like and how is this different from past settling points?
    • Everything starts with the people.
    • Once you determine the likely next settling point, do a capability inventory within your leadership team to determine whether you have the right people to handle the new reality.
    • Can current members be trained?
    • Do you need to bring in new talent?
  • Second, are your processes limiting or enhancing your flexibility?
    • Do current processes encourage adaptability and cross-functional connection and communication?
    • If not how will you change them?
    • Deconstruct/reconstruct all critical processes to make them more agile.
  • Third, how are you linking desired outcomes with rewards and incentives within the company?
    • Growth in the past focused on building up infrastructure – adding more people and capacity.
    • Knowledge management focused on tools and processes to make people more effective. Individualized assessment and reward structures became an obstacle and had to be shifted to emphasize the importance of collaborative versus individualized performance.
    • Agile leadership and management focuses on reaching outside the boundaries of your own company. To deliver differentiated value suppliers and customers must be included in the exercise. We must reinvent how we engage with suppliers and customers so that they are part of the collaboration.
    • The agile paradigm focuses on the unspoken needs of suppliers and customers. This takes the conversation beyond the transaction and includes quality, on-time delivery, and other differentiators that are mutually important. It can include competing for your competitors’ suppliers by being a better customer!

You can contact Jorge Titinger at jorge.titinger@verigy.com

Key Words: Agile, Uncertainty, Change, Paradigm, People, Training, Talent, Process, Communication, Reward, Incentive, Supplier, Customer

How do you Manage a Multi-generational Staff? Nine Suggestions

Situation:  Employee pools are now multi-generational, with Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Echo-Boomers. Each group may have different expectations for work environments and careers. How do you connect with different generations? How have you set up mentoring programs?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • People may be of different generations, but they are still individuals. Ask what drives or motivates them, and what they would consider an ideal reward for hard work.
  • Some companies offer a sabbatical after several years of employment – the opportunity to work on hobbies, go on an adventure or use the time as they wish. This attracts employees and encourages retention.
  • Some employees don’t seek promotion but are good contributors. They may prefer an extra week of vacation over a promotion.
  • One company gives employees budgets to spruce up their work space – allowing them some control over their work environment.
  • What are good tips on working with younger employees?
    • Coach them to communicate thoughtfully and carefully – instead of shooting from the hip without considering impact or consequences. Younger managers may find that they need more patience communicating expectations to older staff.
    • Establish individualized performance metrics and enable them to monitor progress on their computers.
    • Bring them into the process; don’t tell them to wait. Let them start as an observer. Listen when they have questions or suggestions. Ask their opinion.
    • Break down job tiers into additional levels with more achievement incentives. Allow them to reset expectations frequently.

Key Words: Multi-generational, Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, Echo-Boomer, Expectations, Environment, Career, Mentor, Motivation, Reward, Sabbatical, Incentive, Communication, Performance, Expectations                                  

How do we Get our Doer/Sellers to Sell? Four Recommendations

Situation: The Company has a geographical sales and service organization. Much of the sales effort comes from the consulting reputation of the managing director of each geographical unit, but he directors’ core values usually favor consulting over meeting sales plans. How do we get these directors to meet sales goals?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Experience turning around a consulting organization with no sales culture:
    • Ours was a 5-year process. It starts with a leader who sells successfully and teaches by example.
    • As we made the transition, we selected new hires for sales skills to compliment their consulting skills. This facilitated our transition to a strong sales culture.
  • You need to commit to build a sales culture.
    • Moving to an account manager team versus an engineering/professional team was a big shift. It takes time and patience.
    • Hire effective sales people to jump-start the process. Most of the successful seller/doers will be new hires.
    • Revise your reward and recognition structure around your objectives.
    • Make rainmakers your best paid people. This will bring others out of the woodwork.
  • Bias sales compensation for doer/sellers toward variable compensation. Allow successful individuals to make over $200K per year.
    • Consider a 3-year phase-in by not increasing base pay through raises. More than make up the difference in available variable pay. Directors will now have more incentive to hit their sales numbers.
  • This is a difficult change in both sales leadership and culture. You may have to make significant leadership changes.

Key Words: Sales, Compensation, Core Values, Consulting, Goals, Reward, Incentive, Transition, Hiring, Culture 

How do you Create Performance Incentives? Four Approaches

Situation: The Company is considering options for both team and individual recognition. What have other companies found to be effective?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • One company has foremen compete on project quality, cost containment, and other measures. Bonuses are based on a mix of team performance, project difficulty and individual initiative.
  • One company uses year-end bonuses, but places more emphasis on frequent small recognitions: pedicure, manicure, going out for a meal on the company – things that let the employees know that they are appreciated on a regular basis. Any incentives paid are based on a mix of individual and team performance.
  • One company has completely eliminated bonuses. Salaries were raised to make up the difference, and individual incentives are created and paid during the year. Incentives reward specific accomplishments which are highlighted when the incentive is paid. Incentives are a mix of team and individual performance.
  • One company is very generous with bonuses – $5K to $10K at a time at the discretion of the CEO. These are paid face to face by the CEO and the individual is congratulated on their performance. However, the bonus recipient also signs a paper pledging not to talk about the bonus. If they tell others about their bonus, they are eliminated from the bonus pool. The company also uses publicly announced annual awards, performance-based monthly awards, shirts, etc. that are presented at company meetings. Interestingly, the smaller rewards and public recognition appear to have the most impact.

Key Words: Recognition, Bonus, Reward, Public Recognition, Effectiveness. Competition, Incentive