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Cognition

Sales

In which Happy Cog staff discuss the dance steps before the design engagement.

We’ve written 13 blog posts about Sales. View all topics »

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Win Some, Lose Some

    We work in a wonderfully open community where ideas and best practices are shared and implemented liberally. Well, except when it comes to sales.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Illustration by Yesenia Perez-Cruz

    What’s the ROI on Cool?

    Industry creative folks I’m friends with personally and respect professionally have uttered the following to me on multiple occasions:

    “I want to make cool shit.”

    I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it. To be fair, it’s safe to say I don’t get “cool” in general. I routinely dress like I’m headed to a corporate team-building ropes course, and I’m still waiting for Firefly to be picked up for season 2. So maybe it’s no surprise that the quest for cool escapes me. I don’t get the allure of making something cool for the sake of it being cool. Further, I don’t understand how you sell that to clients, or more importantly, why they would pay for it.

  10. The Devil is in The Invoice

    5/12/11

    by Greg Hoy

    51 Responses

    If you run a creative services business and haven’t seen Mike Monteiro’s F*ck You. Pay Me. talk, take 40 minutes and watch it. In his ever-so-subtle style, Mike provides a real world overview of the red flags that result in you not getting paid for your work. A lot of the talk focuses on the importance of having a sound contract and a lawyer’s ear, both of which are crucial. While Mike’s talk hit on the big points, there are also some smaller details that can a make big difference. For example, how you invoice.

  11. Hollywood

    Typecasting Ourselves

    In the movie business when an actor plays the same role over and over, he is considered “typecast.” A word that carries negative connotations and general disdain. The typecast label implies actors only play one role well, emoting the same expressions throughout projects, and presenting the same personality no matter the situation. Generally, being typecast is not something an actor strives for.

  12. Will you be mine?

    The Beginning of a Relationship

    At Happy Cog, I am responsible for the bulk of our sales efforts along with ensuring that our ongoing client relationships are positive. The early days of the professional relationship are not unlike the very early stages of courtship and dating. If there’s a connection to be made, its foundation is built on listening and sharing, which are sincere efforts for us to understand and help each other.

  13. Bloodhounding Budgets

    10/14/10

    by Greg Hoy

    82 Responses

    Laying the groundwork to earn a respectable wage in any service business can be a cat-and-mouse game. I’d like to share a few tactics I’ve picked up over the years that have helped us root out the answer to the queen mother of all biz dev questions: “What’s your budget?”