A 6 partner CPA firm with 3 offices was struggling with stagnant growth and an incomplete team. The firm needed to kick-start their growth culture and get more people involved in their progress. The firm didn’t currently have a full-time marketing professional on staff and had not invested in education around marketing. While staff participation was expected, it was never pushed or monitored.
We needed to find an easy way to motivate and encourage employees to participate in marketing activities. It needed to be broad enough to appeal to various levels of staff, and at the same time encourage partners to do more mentoring around marketing.
We chose to put together a marketing incentive program because it would be a fun way to help foster teamwork. The program was launched during the busy season because it would be the most opportune time of year to have the entire firm out networking. We anticipated that some activity would decline due to client demands, but felt the benefits of the limited efforts would be positive overall.
In designing the incentive program, we kept a couple of things in mind. First, we focused on the goals. Second, we looked at behaviors. Our goal was to kick-start the firm’s growth culture; we weren’t expecting high close rates for new business, and neither was the firm. Many of the people involved in the program were going to be participating in marketing and business development activities for the first time, with little-to-no training. In order to motivate the staff, we needed to focus on the right activities and rewards for participating in those activities. To help us accomplish this goal, we created a list of activities and tiered the point system based on who was performing the activities. We even created specialized activities that only administrators and staff could complete to encourage participation across the entire organization.
Overall, the program accomplished what it aimed to do, kick-start growth. Staff involvement spanned across all levels of the firm and about 50% of the firm actively participated in the program. When surveyed, nearly 70% of the participants agreed that the program offered them ideas on how they could contribute and 50% of the participants contributed more to marketing than they had in the past.
While new business wasn’t the ultimate goal, year to date, the firm has generated 60% of its previous years new business fees in half the amount of time.
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