The Devil Is Here. What About The Boss?

baby bossLast week I covered ideas on holdouts for reps here:

Now we talk about how to handle it for the managers! In my opinion the logic behind the holdout concept is pretty much:

Holdouts on some number of open opportunities will be allowed in order to ease trick/touchy account ownership transitions (more reps, new segments etc) and although we need to scale this puppy I want to reward my current reps for their hard work with near term momentum deals as well as not screw up revenue that we all need in order to keep this rocket flying up and to the right. 
Now that you have your plan in place for protecting reps on their precious ones here is a rundown on the ways I’ve sen it implemented as well as some commentary:
General Approaches
– Scenario 1: The opp flows to the rep and his/her old manager, assuming they also helped worked the deal towards closure.
– Scenario  2: The opp flows to the rep and his/her new manager since they are on that person’s team now and they will likely be doing 1:1’s and integrating them into the new team etc
– Scenario 3 – The opp flows to the territory manager regardless if its the old manager (staying in the same role) or a new  manager taking on that role to manage the territory where the deal was originally sourced.
Offshoot Scenarios
Scenario 1A: Flowing to the “old” manager feels right. It makes since especially when the old manager is not moving out of his/her territory and it’s just the rep that s moving to another team. For example Rep from SMB team has been promoted and is joining the Mid-Market team. In this scenario the reps closes their deal and the revenue stays with the team where the deals were baked and the manager had quota against the headcount.
Scenario 1B: Flowing to the “old” manager when the rep and the AE are moving together can make sense because they are working together on 1:1 and baked the deal together. Example Large deal worked on the Mid-Market team and both manager and rep are promoted at the same time to join the Enterprise team. One potential gotcha here is the old territory/quota may have been built on that potential Account Value being part of the available market and therefore the manager there would be short-changed.
Scenario 1C: Flowing to the “old” manager gets wacky when managers are shifting around and at the same time one of the “old” teams is doing minor shuffling. For example: the manager of the verticals team moves to general business team and a mid market manager moves to the verticals manager role. Additionally the verticals team has some minor territory adjustments, so reps are tagging holdouts within their existing team. If you followed the 3 holdout rule I suggested previously and the team had 8 reps that were staying on their team while the managers are moving, you could end up with as many as 24 opps in the vertical team “rolling” to their previous manager. Yes he/she helped bake them, but he/she also helped bake all the deals in the vertical so following this logic to the extreme would have them deserving credit for every single deal that closes during the holdout period, not just the holdouts. This becomes obviously problematic for both the new incoming manager and the outgoing manager. Especially if the outgoing manager is going into a role where there is no minor territory shuffling and reps have no holdouts. Imaging trying to build an equitable quota model and comp plan and quota for either of the managers in this scenario! The incoming manager has 24 opps in her/his new territory that she/he wont get paid on but will have to work. Likewise, the outgoing manager moving into a region with less shuffling has 24 opps “follow” to the new role while his/her new territory has no holdouts so all deals will roll into her/his paycheck. 
Scenario 2A: Flowing to the “new” manager can make sense when they have to take an active role in closing the opportunity, they are working with the rep on 1:1s etc anyway. It gives an incentive to the team as a whole to get to work on their entire territory.
Scenario 2B: This gets weird when the opp is very large and financially significant or closes immediately in the holdout period and the previous manager worked on it with the AE for a significant amount of time. I’ve been on both sides of this scenario and it is crappy both ways. It is an emotionally painful thing to watch someone else get super paid on a deal you worked. It’s also awkward to get paid well on a deal you had very little to do with.
Scenario 3: In most cases this is what I would recommend. In my experience its very easy to implement in a CRM at scale. This is in effect what happens in 1A anyway (so previous manger gets credit for the work and everyone is happy) and it allows you to avoid problems that occur in 1C above. It does expose you to Scenario 2B but as long as you have done a good job with quota modeling the revenue is accounted for in the potential revenue and both sides of the manager coin should be fairly rewarded over the long-term. In general I believe the manager should be more concerned about what is best for the business and likely if they are moving its because they were promoted so they can be incented in other ways. If I was running the show I would also likely build some sort of incentive (likely stock options) for the manager leaving to give a symbolic gesture of thanks for both doing an excellent job as well as thinking about the long term health of the business vs short-term financial gain.
I typed this one up as a quick brainstorm so I bet there are typos and scenarios I’ve missed! If you have anything to add or comments I’d love to hear them!
Holdouts and Account transitions will absolutely be a part of any sales gig you get if you are in a high growth environment. Deal with it by using logic and managing emotions. It’s easiest to deal with when we take a step back and remember why we are doing them and why they are necessary in order to maximize all of our shareholder value!
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