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Cognition

Business Development

We’ve written 18 blog posts about Business Development. View all topics »

  1. Connecting KPIs to goals and objectives

    On October 5, 2016 I published an article in Cognition entitled Deciphering goals and objectives. In that article I described how clients use goals and objectives interchangeably in Request for Proposals (RFPs). I also offered one solution for how to clarify goals from objectives to ensure a proper project approach. Once the goals and objectives of the project are understood, the next step is to identify key performance indicators (KPIs). If you are unsure how to identify and connect KPIs to goals and objectives, here is one method to consider that’s been used successfully at Happy Cog.

  2. Deciphering Goals & Objectives

    Recently I’ve noticed that the terms “goals” and “objectives” are being used interchangeably in requests for proposals (RFPs) that we receive. It struck me that writing an article that explains how to differentiate goals from objectives has been tried many times before, but the message isn’t being received. Clients still use them interchangeably, making it difficult to differentiate the broader, more strategic purpose of the project (Goals) from the steps that will be taken (Objectives) to fulfill that strategy. If you receive a request for project work, and your prospect has taken some liberties with the use of goals and objectives, here’s one way to translate them into clear statements you can use to help determine your approach to the project.

  3. Show Your Work

    There is no Angie’s List for creative service companies. No IMDb for project credits. No peer review requirements for blog posts. Our industry is out here on its own, and left to act on our collective best behavior.

  4. Sharpen Your #2 Pencil. It’s RFP time.

    4/23/15

    by Katie High

    0 Responses

    Around here, it’s PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) season. I hear lots of stories from friends and family about the extremes of testing. Most recently, my brother-in-law demonstrated for us how he is required to respond to student questions during the test. Monotone. Neutral. Dispassionate. Not an easy task for a music teacher.

  5. Little Wins: Monthly Invoicing

    When I joined Happy Cog there were whispers about the elusive holy grail called monthly billing. It was hardly a new concept, but it was new to us. In theory, monthly billing would keep a regimented stream of cash coming in the front doors, and steady cash flow is almost more important to running a business than overall revenue. But we’d never made the move. We structured contracts so that our deliverable-based invoicing occurred at reasonable intervals, but if deadlines shifted, our payments did too.

  6. Conf Hack

    I don’t attend a ton of large conferences each year. I attend local events, but when I dedicate a few consecutive days to a larger event, I want to make it count. You may do the same—feeling like you only get one shot to attend a conference and learn all you can. Here are some tips I’ve learned for how to make the most out of these unique opportunities.

  7. The Magpie, the Peacock, and the Mole King

    We lost another job to spec work.

    Originally I came here, to this previously blank page, horrifyingly white (both myself and the screen—it’s been a busy summer) and blinded by rage, to rail against designer injustices (the ones made for designers and by designers) and gnash my teeth and furiously hammer out another scathing anti-spec article (that no one needs), when I remembered a conversation.

  8. Crafting a Business Ecosystem

    9/11/14

    by Greg Hoy

    0 Responses

    Sure, do it for money. But just as importantly, do it for fun.

    We’re currently working on a digital redesign for Lagunitas Brewing Company. It’s our first foray into the craft beer world and a bucket-list item for me personally, having long been a fan of Lagunitas. Many of their beers are complete style mashups (they are not staples at the Great American Beer Festival in part because their beer doesn’t fit neatly into judging categories). Their brand is decidedly lo-fi, but filled with personality. If you haven’t read a story on one of their beer bottles or some of the prose on a case, just have a gander.

  9. Taking the Local

    A prospective client recently raised the (periodic) concern that our team wasn’t in close proximity to their headquarters. My reply was thorough: “We have two locations ourselves; successfully working remotely is in our DNA.” “We have a track record of working with clients all over North America and abroad, and a laundry list of client testimonials and references.” “Even when we work with a client in Philadelphia or Austin (where we’re based), those projects behave the same way as when we work with a client in South Dakota. Our process is location-agnostic.” Etc. etc. etc.

    The client seemed to appreciate my response, but in the end, they chose a local firm instead. I missed my opportunity to win that particular project, but the next time our proximity to clients comes into question, I’ll have a different response. My answer should have been simple, concise.

  10. And They All Look Just the Same

    The article’s title is borrowed from Malvina Reynolds’ song, “Little Boxes.” No doubt, many of you have heard the lyrics, though sung by a different artist than the original songwriter. Malvina wrote the song to protest the mass conformity of home development taking place in a suburb of San Francisco in the early 1960s. If you have ever driven through the area, you can still see all the ticky-tacky, little boxes dotting the hillsides and throughout the area. Though Daly City provided the inspiration for the song, Suburbs of Sameness are prevalent throughout the country.

  11. Recruit the Recruiters

    Business development in a client service organization is a complex responsibility. Each approach is different from the next, but good salespeople share core competencies. I’ve talked to dozens of agency owners at Owner Camp, where the importance and role of business development is a popular conversation topic. Salespeople can be found in all walks of life. But, more than a few great ones I know were formerly recruiters, and here’s why.

  12. War on Spec

    Some agencies adhere to the mantra “you get the clients you deserve.” If that’s the case, clients also get the results they deserve—especially when they hire based on spec. This past year, I watched two projects implode after they landed with other agencies who provided spec work in the sales process. I’m not typically a sore loser, but if you hire a partner based off of spec work, you’re digging your own grave.

  13. Thomas Bayes, Save Me From Statistics!

    The only class I’ve ever failed was Statistics. I mean I flat-out failed that class.

    Since then, I’ve been statistically impaired. I’ve never argued with the value of crunching collected data, but I’ve always struggled to see the value in statistically-predictive analysis. In my role in sales, however, I’m very interested in understanding the behavior and the alchemy behind our sales process. Many of our leads come in through our online planner, but discerning how they arrived at the gates of our form has always been a mystery.

  14. The Dumbest Man in Congress

    Years ago, when men wore hats and the world was black and white, a small-town newspaper roused the ire of its hometown legislator, one Phineas P. Farnsworth, by labeling him “the dumbest man in Congress.”

    Not one to consider the merits of a criticism or take it lying down, the offended congressman immediately convened a press conference in Washington, DC. Journalists representing all the big American newspapers duly gathered to learn what was on the heretofore-unnoticed representative’s mind.

  15. Shut It Down!

    While cruising the boardwalk with my family this weekend, I was struck by what the boardwalk has in common with web design and development: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

  16. Vendor Selection Advice From The Front Lines…

    Recently, I offered my suggestions regarding the RFP construction and management process, but I left my dear readers with a cliffhanger… Now that your RFP is complete and you’re evaluating responses and pitches, how do you select the right proposal?

  17. RFP Advice From The Front Lines

    Stop what you’re doing! John Conner sent me from the future to prevent you from authoring this RFP. I’ve seen the aftermath. Internal teams at odds over the redesigned site, users confused by an experience that somehow got more complicated, unreconciled technologies, hopes dashed, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

  18. Buying Wins

    Investing in business development is like investing in anything else; you have a finite amount of resources to invest in a wide variety of options. In retail, the success of an enterprise often hinges entirely upon managing inventory. The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful venture often rests in the balance of ordering enough merchandise to meet demand, while subsequently avoiding over-ordering, and wasting money on overstock. In professional sports, a team’s success often rests in combining value among contracts, as much as in combining the right line up of athletes. In my role, the resource I invest is time. Money too, but man, it’s the time I miss.