You’ve got to love January. Those plans you’ve been revising for months are finally in motion. The agencies are gorging themselves on billable hours to fund their trips to Cannes, after an exhausting December of canapés and signature martinis.
Yet even as that New Budget Smell lingers in the hallways, the Sales Squirrels are already screwing the whole thing up.
Their nine-year-olds are re-templating your PowerPoint, their Call of Duty buddies are rewriting your sales letters and they’re offering discounts on things that are practically free to begin with. I’ll bet they’re already asking you for hockey tickets.
Go ahead. Swallow that Nyquil and have a little cry in the service elevator, if that takes the edge off. It’s all going to Hell, just as you knew it would. But this year, let’s try something different. Something more daring than hiding your Wednesday tequila in the telecoms room (we all remember how poorly that ended, don’t we?). Something that’ll have those Squirrels dropping their nuts all over the place. I know, let’s try saying “Yes” every now and again.
Here are four things you can start with:
Yes to the Mess:
Let them destroy the PowerPoint templates you paid some guy with a soul patch $10,000 to over-design. Does it matter, really, if they redo the whole thing in Brush Script bold? It’ll be ugly and illegible, but is it worth arguing about? Maybe not.
Yes to the Stress (balls):
Give them trinkets for heaven’s sake. You have the budget, and you’ll want to get that Cupboard O’ Crap nice and full before the Keebler Elves come looking for a reforecast in a month or two. Travel mugs are always nice, and you can’t go wrong with logoed golf balls. Imagine the Squirrely surprise when they ask for three dozen things and you produce them, as if by magic, in hours.
Yes to the Press:
Squirrels love press releases. If they had their way, you’d issue them every time they won the fantasy basketball league or repainted the parking lot. But we know releases about every account win or product update are bad media karma. That’s why you should go ahead and publish them but don’t release them. I wrote dozens of press releases at a software company that never saw the newswire. I simply stuck them on the website and emailed them to the Squirrels. Everyone went home happy.
Yes to the Integrated Cross-Functional Project Task Force:
These are not quite as painful as being on the social committee and much more fun than arguing about why the Squirrels can’t have a print-on-demand, fully-customized online direct mail generating system that also figures out their golf handicap. When they come asking for a better billing system or lead-scoring platform, set up a giant committee to write the business requirements document, technical specification, RFP, and critical path. A strategic “leak” to the Productivity Prevention Department should produce an under-employed project manager who can spin this thing like a well-sugared toddler for most of the year. Naturally, it’ll get cut in the third quarter, but at least you gave it a good ol’ try.
There are countless other things you can start saying “Yes” about in 2013, and I encourage us all to try. Not because it sends a positive vibe to the universe, but because it means that when you say “No”, they’ll take it seriously.
BizMarketer is Elizabeth Williams
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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