Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Incentivize your bid team...and why not incentivize everyone?

Look through the job adverts - or perhaps you are even writing the job adverts?

Here are the salary highlights from two jobs posted today on an online jobs board:

1) Business Development Manager: BASIC £65K, OTE £100K+
2) Bid Manager: Salary: £45,000.00 - £45,000.00 GBP per year

Why do sales people get incentivised to perform yet bid teams often don't? OK - sales people are the ones generating leads and opportunities, but old on...that's their job. They are paid commission for closing the sale. And what do many businesses require before they are willing to sign the contract? That's right a proposal.

So if an integral part of your future business is in the hands of the bid team, do they not deserve some incentives too? How many members of a bid team have worked late, or even over the weekend to make sure that the proposal gets out of the door? And what did you get if that proposal was successful?

Sales structures within organisations have changed. There is more reliance on proposal writing as part of the capture process and just because proposal teams are not out chasing clients, that doesn't mean that they aren't integral to your success. Sales people are no longer the sole champion of winning new business.

Getting clients isn't easy - so I'm not prescribing getting rid of incentives for sales staff, but rather that incentives should be part of the proposal teams role. When it's late on the Wednesday night and the proposal team has to put in a few more hours before they go home, they will be more excited about doing a good job and creating a winning proposal - rather than just getting the damned thing out of the way - if they know they are being rewarded. And that means everyone in the bid team, not just the Bid Manager.

This should be taken further throughout the whole business. Reward and incentivise staff to do better work (not just the work they are paid to do). It might seem easy just now to pick up employees at the lowest rate and work them hard because they don't want to lose their job. But believe me, are they wanting to deliver above and beyond what is required? Will they move off as soon as a better opportunity comes along, leaving you with the costs of re-hiring?

Why not incentivise them for doing a better job? Finishing project early, with better quality? Coming up with new ideas? Suggesting new projects to the client? (How many project add-ons result from project teams with no sales involvement, yet the project team gets nothing and the sales person gets commission?).

Incentives will help you deliver a better product and happier customers in the hard times and have you better prepared for bigger successes when new opportunities emerge.