We Cut Our New Business Team [to increase revenue?]

It’s my birthday (it’s not divisible by five, just another on the short march towards the big five-oh), and I’ve given myself permission to rant after hearing this comment one too many times from an agency principal,

We’ve decided to eliminate our new business department.

Did you hear the news? HP has laid off it’s entire sales force! Home Depot is letting all its store associates go! Starbucks is going self-serve (sorry no more humor from behind the counter as they make your favorite concoction).

In a recession – or anytime for that matter – why would you cut the people responsible for generating your agency’s future revenue?

Now, I know there can be legitimate reasons. For example:

  • Poor performance. Provide training; do role practice. If that doesn’t work, replace them.
  • Not a good fit. Quickly hire someone who is.
  • Ethical issues. Replace them immediately.

But, “budget” should never be one. A good new business person should only be let go when the agency is closing its doors. Period.

If you see this happening in your agency, jump up and down and raise an enormous fuss. New business is an investment in your agency’s future.

If you disagree, recognize your risk: cut your new business staff and your demise may be as close by as the unexpected loss of a client.

End of rant.

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