Eight steps to making new business part of your DNA

Keeping that all-important new revenues pipeline full is the stuff of nightmares for business owners. But getting it right is key to survival. And if you help your boss win business, your career will sky-rocket. Here’s how to do it.

Making ‘Pipeline’ part of your business’s DNA is key to success and survival.

Identifying, nurturing and then converting new business revenue can be one of the most thrilling parts of our business. It’s also critical. The Pipeline must always be full, no matter how busy we are at any given time. The busyness suddenly ends as projects wrap up. You look into the Pipe and there’s nothing there. Oh dear.

Here are EIGHT STEPS to making Pipeline part of your DNA:

  1. Involve your senior people: your most senior people must lead from the front and be deeply involved on Pipeline work, always.
  2. Identify your rainmakers: not every senior colleague will be able to identify and seduce prospects. It’s not in their DNA. Find out who can do it. Get them engaged. Put others to work on other aspects of Pipeline- writing credentials documents, identifying targets, research, etc.
  3. Allocate and delegate: share responsibility. Give a range of people specific jobs to do, every week. Share the load to keep the Pipeline fresh and evolving.
  4. Set measurable KPIs: what gets measured gets done. Set specific KPIs for each person on the Pipeline team. Review and reset them every 100 days.
  5. Make it 100% transparent: create a war room, list all the targets up on a whiteboard, prioritise, set a 100 Day Revenue Target, and then keep updating the run rate as revenues are won and the gap to the target closes.
  6. Create rituals: play a ‘theme song’ when a team is leaving for a pitch or important Pipeline meeting (we used to blast out the music from ‘Apocalypse Now’ …remember when the helicopters are approaching the village they’re about to bomb…and we’d all cheer the team away as they went down the lifts). Ring a bell when a new project is won. Celebrate every win.
  7. Allocate set times for Pipeline work: set a weekly Pipeline session. Non-negotiable. Same time every week. Police this relentlessly. This meeting MUST happen. Set your own times to do your part. When John Gardner was leading Savage & Partners, he tried to work ‘in’ the business, on clients exclusively, from 8 am-4 pm daily. Whenever possible, he’d work ‘on’ the business after 4pm, and this always included Pipeline.
  8. Work your Pipeline in 100 day cycles: every three months, reset your goals, set new revenue goals, refresh your Pipeline targets (drop some, add others- see separate posts on this), allocate responsibilities, set individual KPIs, and get cracking. Three months later, start again.

And remember the advice of former Wallaby rugby captain Phil Waugh. If you want your teams do what you want them to do, set the example: be on your own game.

>View a video of Chris retelling this post

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4 Responses to Eight steps to making new business part of your DNA

  1. Anne Miles November 23, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    What I like about this is that this is highly specific about HOW to actually achieve what it is that you have proven over time Chris.

    I’d add to that that the people on the floor can also be empowered to the mission too in both feeling supported during the overload and also in being able to have a role in bringing in business.

    I often find that the biggest thing affecting a business’ growth is the fear of it from the floor. They resist being overloaded and new work is seen as a negative and not a positive. From my experience it can be overcome if they are involved in the process of handling the growth. In my time in agencies I recall only one time when a senior leader asked me if my team could handle it if we won a certain account, and we discussed how we could manage it. Every other time it has been announced and then we’ve worked it out on the fly and most times just been simply overloaded.

    The staff can identify the weaknesses in process that will likely be stretched during growth, the weaknesses in skill base for certain types of work understood, timing of new projects around other planned or expected activities, any new tools needed to improve efficiencies and so on. These can be dealt with and anticipated before being put to the
    test when the new accounts land.

    Additionally empowering each person in the company to come up with initiatives or to plant seeds with existing clients about doing extensions of existing work or referring to other clients isn’t often considered by the some staff who feel they are just there to do what is asked of them. Giving them ideas on how to see their role wider than that is good for growth.

    Another great idea I’ve seen is to have an internal register for all accounts each staff member has worked on previously so they can be called on for their expertise in the category or on specific business. This makes the staff feel they have a role to play in new business.

    My favourite above – working ‘on’ the business every day for a specific time. Very cool.

    • Chris Savage November 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks Anne- insightful feedback as always. Chris

  2. Mel November 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Great advice Chris, and point number six made me laugh – we have an Asian gong in our office rather than a bell. When new business is announced we all brace ourselves for an eardrum bashing..

    • Chris Savage November 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      Aha! Gong or bell- it all works for me! Thanks Melinda for the input.

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