This article was based upon episode #5, please watch the complete episode here.
“I always want to protect every one of my teammates. I never want to have to lay anybody off. I always want to have everyone super protected. ” - Roger Parent
Have you ever been in a situation where you helped someone, yet they somehow dare to mistreat you like you did not just help them?
Others may even call it a betrayal, and this is very common in the business industry. In today’s client-horror story, we will be learning from the story of Roger Parent and his experience of being “betrayed” by someone that they helped in retaking his life back from a possible downfall. However, questions are circulating on whether it was an act of betrayal or simply just part of the business.
Well, it’s for you to decide after reading the whole story.
The whole nightmare started when Roger’s business partner introduced his friend to the entire team saying his friend is really in a tight spot and needs help. Roger did not really mention this “friend’s” name, but since the person is relevant in this story and to prevent confusion, we will just name him Jack.
Roger’s business partner shared that Jack is now looking for a job and would take any digital position. Jack came from a high-end company and had a very miserable experience there. He worked a minimum of 70 – 80 hrs a week, including weekends.
He was so busy and stressed that he could not spend time with his family anymore because of his work. Roger felt pity for Jack, and he offered him help. However, they cannot give Jack a job in their company as Jack’s price is too high for them. They are still a small company, so they cannot really hire Jack.
Lucky for Jack, Roger’s client, who owns a huge company, just fired their marketing team because of job-related problems. This client was also very important to Roger and his team because it was the biggest client they have, and their relationship with this client is firm. When Roger heard this from their client, he immediately referred Jack since he seemed perfect for the job. Roger was very thrilled when he introduced Jack to this client because he had a plan in mind that would solve their team’s main problem with this client.
Roger stated that his client did not give them access to their back-end data, could not do lead generation for clients, and could not determine whether the leads they are driving are great or terrible. What they did to compensate is to drive cheap leads without a complete understanding of what the client’s business is and what they are promoting. Rogers’s solution for this problem is to let Jack apply for the position of their client.
It was a triple-win situation. Jack gets a new high-paying job, Roger and his team can get the scale out of a client, and the client gets a much better marketing department and an additional experienced staff on the team.
He did not say it out loud, but it is a universal rule that when someone helps you, you have to help them back or do something good to repay their kindness somehow. With Roger’s small request, he trusted Jack that he would give them all the answers.
Thankless Child: The beginning of betrayal
Roger first discovered Jack’s betrayal when he suddenly blew up the budget from 70k-400k a month, even when Jack was still new to that company. It was pretty shocking, but Roger and the client agreed then, later on, raised the funding to 400k. Thankfully, everything was going great. Roger and his team could even start evaluating the data quality.
And then Jack’s true colors appeared. Jack has this “know-it-all” attitude management style to Roger’s team. Jack ordered Roger’s team to switch everything over to manual CPC bidding instead of doing the target CPA strat. It was really unusual for Roger because for him, what’s the reason for changing something that’s actually working?
Roger did not totally disagree because manual CPC is still a good suggestion. However, the target CPA that they are used to is still working without flaws. But since Jack was now in charge of the marketing team, Roger and his team followed what Jack said and switched everything to manual CPC. As expected in trying new things for the first time without proper planning, it became a disaster that Roger immediately switched back to target CPC to control and balance the chaos. Roger managed to save it, and Jack apologized to them because he did not listen to Roger’s concern about switching to manual CPC.
After that incident, Jack suddenly added an insane amount of management to Roger’s team, and he was ordering everybody around on what they were supposed to do. Jack also gave these extreme deadlines like he wants Slack access to be present after an hour. Roger’s team followed Jack’s instructions, and they were wondering about the sudden micromanagement by Jack.
They concluded that maybe Jack was still adapting to their client, and perhaps they were not going too well with his client. Roger added that maybe Jack’s performance was not enough. Perhaps he needs to double his efforts to impress the client. It could also be that Jack was still under the massive pressure of managing a high-end company.
The bottom line is that Roger and his team still trust Jack, and they know that he will repay the kindness they gave to him. But, Roger assumed that Jack was pressured to push through the switching to manual CPC by his client.
The second act of betrayal
The second problem that Roger faced was when Jack hired 2 PPC people and another two that portrayed the same role as Jack. The 2 PPC experts tried the manual CPC again and tried to make it work, while the other 2 helped Jack manage the team, creating twice micromanagement and doubled their workload. Roger’s team was overloaded with work, and then he decided to talk to Jack and discussed their concerns.
Roger told Jack that they needed better landing pages because their quality of scores was absolute trash, and they were getting low rates in the highly competitive market.
Roger was confident that Jack would attend to their concerns because Jack still did not return an act of kindness to them for helping him get a new job. But the exact opposite happened, and instead of answering Roger’s concern, Jack gave them a list of work like pausing this ad, changing the bid on the keywords, and many more like nothing happened. Jack totally neglected Roger’s concern and had the nerve to give them a pile of work instead.
It was clear to Roger that their client wanted to fire them and look for another partner during that time. Roger described the situation as something like Jack wanted them to be fired, but he cannot directly do it because Roger and his team gave him a job, so he wants to let Roger’s team have a hard time until they break and quit themselves.
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds
Roger was already aware that Jack wanted them to be fired. One Friday evening at exactly 7:00 PM, Jack sent Roger and his team an email stating that he wants to try something new. Since it was already 7: 00 PM and past their working hours, they couldn’t respond.
Fifteen minutes after Jack sent that email, Jack imported a thousand duplicate conversions without informing Roger and his team and completely destroyed the account for months. It’s a fact that you cannot undo an import that was done manually, but Jack just manually imported thousands of leads.
This threw Roger and his team off, and after what happened, the target CPA biddings now thought there was a double lead. When Roger arrived at the office the following Monday, they confronted Jack and asked what he did to the account. The amount spent was tripled, and everything fell apart.
Roger started to cover up the damage and spent two months fixing that one mistake. The whole month of November and December was basically in an emergency situation, trying to recover tons of hours on their end. Roger and his team also started fixing the CPA that got destroyed. Jack also admitted his mistake only after the last month, so he was in denial for two months and kept saying that the error was not a big deal.
After that hellish two months, Jack’s strategy changed. Last year, he was very persistent in micro-managing Roger’s team, but now Jack became silent and went dark.
Jack literally disappeared from Roger’s radar, but he was still working at that same company. Jack already stopped sending Roger back-end data and was not talking with them anymore besides the business. Roger believed that Jack was just embarrassed about his mistakes, and he could not face them anymore. For this reason, Roger’s business partner, Jack’s friend, emailed him and invited him to lunch. No replies were coming from Jack, so they just moved on and continued working. The Spence began to plummet because of the terrible performance until it ended up that Roger could not manage the account anymore.
The final act of betrayal
Roger and his client had a contract. There was a legal precedent stating that if Roger’s client starts to manage campaigns inside the account, there will be a bill on total ad spend. This was the final act that let Roger realize they needed to stop, and it was not worth it. Roger’s client doesn’t want to pay an extra bill, so the client started building his own campaigns on Google. Then Roger’s client sent an email saying, “Hey don’t bill me for these campaigns, I made it from scratch.”
1.Don’t choose money over your life.
This was the final straw for Roger, and it became clear that his client wanted no business with them anymore. Roger confronted the client and asked for a meeting to discuss their exit plan with no personal grudges, an open conversation dealt with professionally. Roger and his team were poorly treated, and the micromanagement gave them tremendous stress and pressure. It was not good for him and his team, so he decided to end the contract. Roger said, “Why will I continue working if I am not passionate about it anymore?”
His team had sleepless nights trying to impress their client, and all of them worked really hard to fix the mistake they didn’t make. Roger even sacrificed family time and lost weight because of that project. It was not worth it, and it was a good thing that Roger valued his team more than the money. “I always want to protect every one of my teammates. I never want to have to lay anybody off. I always want to have everyone super protected. ”
2.Never be afraid to let go of big clients.
Going back to the story, the client did not respond to Roger’s invitation to talk, so he sent a closing email to his client. He wrote in the email, “it appears that you no longer value digital position and completely understand. We think that there have been some huge issues with the relationship and on how things have unfolded over the last year. We’ve decided we have to make some changes to the working relationship going forward.”
After that email, Roger kicked the client out of their Slack, and they prevented the client from circumventing it by building their own campaigns. They stick to the contract, and Roger gave the client their termination paper. Even if it was a huge company that provided his small team a considerable amount of money, Roger did not allow these kinds of people to abuse them. It is okay to lose a substantial amount of money than let your team go through such hardships just because of a bad experience.
When Roger let go of the client, his team was relieved, and they were really happy about the decision. Instead of feeling discouraged about losing a big client, they were motivated to work hard to reciprocate their loss from that toxic client. It made the team even stronger, and their bond also became stronger because of that experience.
Was it betrayal or just part of the business? Roger indeed referred Jack to his client looking for a marketing team, but Jack’s accomplishments and background got him the job. Was Jack really in debt or not? If not, then everything Jack did was just part of the dark side of every business. If he is, then he indeed betrayed Roger and his team’s act of kindness.
We could not really tell what was going on with Jack and why he did those things. It is up to you to decide whether there was a betrayal or if Jack just simply did his job. Don’t forget to learn from Roger’s mistakes and try to avoid them. Also, take note of the crucial lessons that saved Roger’s career. It might be helpful to you one day when you are about to face your client-horror story.
This article was based upon episode #5, please watch the complete episode here.