Jack Derby, Coach, Advisor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Professor

Recent Posts

Who are your most valuable salespeople?

Darn cold at 29 last Saturday out by the Vermont barn. Jumped on the ATV to work through the woods and get up to the pond where I noticed that the swamp maples were already turning even though the big foliage week is still a couple of weeks from now.  Always good for the Vermont economy when leaf-peeping ties into a long weekend.

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World

Summa's done, getting ready for the fall

A solid summa' in spite of Covid, social unrest, racial injustice, job losses, business closings and then of course, the back-biting and mud -slinging of the election, but other than that...a solid summa'!  

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales coach, sales effectiveness, sales producitivity, how to close sales, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans

The Plan is the Plan except when it isn't

After college at BC, I went into the Peace Corps returning to the world from Tanzania three years later to face the reality of finding a job.  A couple of twists and turns, and I found myself working as a purchasing expeditor for Honeywell as the company attempted to shift from manufacturing and selling heating systems into what was then called the first "mini-computers".  It was a brave attempt that failed when a little local company called Digital Equipmentdid it better.  Most of the time I've come to learn that the phrase "first mover advantage" is a startup myth more often eclipsed by the truer phrase that "most pioneers get shot in the back."

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Tags: the economy, Sales Optimization, improved sales management, sales boot camp, small business management, strategic planning, best sales practices;, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World

Change comes to "The Boys on the Bench"

In my tiny town (pop. 735) in Vermont...called Winhall by the state and Bondville by the feds...there are only three bastions of commerce: 

  • the 7/11 gas station which doubles as a state liquor store
  • the brand new Ace Hardware store branded "Lincoln Maples Hardware" to countrify it
  • and the decades-old Winhall General Store

I've lived in this valley for a very long time with five generations before me, and over the years I've seen many owners of the general store come and go.  There were a few serious Vermonters back in the day, lots of city folk who were looking to own "a little slice of Vermont" , but lasted only a couple of wicked cold winta's, and then there's Lorraine. 

Like many, Lorraine came for the skiing and the beauty of Vermont and stayed to successfully build the business and support the town.  She's done a remarkably consistent job of paying attention to the local Vermonters looking for coffee and a solid sandwich while knowing how to cater to the weekend flatlanders form New York and Jersey.  

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Tags: improved sales management, sales management training, sales management boot camp, improving sales productivity, sales management productivity, inordertoselltodayyoumustchange, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, whiteboardingmarketingsolutions, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, whiteboardingsalessolutions

today is just a finite fraction in the infinity of time

Think about it!

  • Monday morning, the 20th of July.  One day among 365.  202 down with 164 to go.
  • Just one day in a decade or in 100 years or in millennia since Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
  • Time is always non-stop and always represented by change.
  • The concept of time is self-evident, but we rarely think about the fundamental nature of time...

...until of course, we run out of time!.

What this pandemic is teaching us is the fragility of time.  We see it, we sense it, and now we always live it in both our personal and work lives. We live in an ever-expanding bubble of time listening to the daily chants of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and, as a result, we're much more aware of time now than we were six months ago. We anticipate it and we watch it carefully in our Zoom calls.  More than ever, we constantly try to balance our own time with a myriad of new demands that we never ever considered before like "should we send our kids back to school?" and "what are the safest hours to go to Market Basket?"

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Do not confuse bounce with recovery

Over the long weekend of the 4th, I listened to two threads of stories...

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Tags: sales effectiveness, sales management boot camp, business coaching, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales management productivity, sales effectivness

Freedom!

In an abnormal time of unknowns, in a time of personal fears and anxieties, in a time of flag waving, of violent protests and accusing screams that drown out rational thinking, let us not forget that this sacred day of remembrance is about freedom.  

The 4th along with all of the days not remembered and lives lost in the battles between the states, in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and inches of dirt in countless other wars bring us to today to once again celebrate and pray for freedom in these new battles.   

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Tags: independance day, freedom, 4th of July

Welcome to the Summa'  What's your shelf life going to be?

The official summa' kicks off this Saturday, -which by the way, looks like a perfect weatha' day- and we welcome in this season of beaches, barbecues and barefootin'. 

Most importantly, it's time to kick back a bit, take a breath, and simplify from what we've been through over the past 100 days.  We need to take a break, or at least a partial break, from the pressures of the reality of the virus and from the stress of the unrest. 

Given what's been going on around us and the financial realities of where we are, I expect that the word "vacation" may have a very different meaning during the Summa' of 2020.  Having said that, we still need to take a break and shut things off for a day or five or a couple of weekends since it's going to be a long road ahead to get to "recovery" whatever the word meansWe also need some time to get out of the day-to-day survival mode where we've been hunkered down for the last 100 days and think a bit more strategically about where we're going to be at the end of the next 100 days.

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales boot camps, sales management boot camps, Making Tough Choices, how to write a sales plan, 2020 sales plans

Embracing healthy change in unhealthy times

Yesterday, I completed my virtual follow-up visit with my cardiologist, Dr. Michael at MGH.  It's hard to even use those words, "my cardiologist" after being diagnosed with "massive heart disease" (another uncomfortable choice of words) five years ago with 100% of one artery blocked and 60% of another. 

The only reason I lived was that I had grown two new arteries which "naturally bypassed" the two diseased arteries. Who knew?  Not me!  Not my Vermont country doc who had incorrectly diagnosed my shortness of breath as asthma and loaded me down with three different scripts for inhalers which I used for years before moving back to Boston and new docs at MGH.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales effectiveness, sales enablment, how to write a business plan, sales planning meetings, 2020 business plans, 2020 sales plans

End of the Year- "Git-R-Done"

Jack and Tufts Entrepreneurship Center -1Today, hopefully you're heads down and totally focused on completing the year ahead of plan.  Whether you're in the profession of sales or you're an artist working on delivering the last of the Christmas ornaments, next week is the week when all of the marbles get measured.  Yea, I know...the month doesn't end on the 20th, but for all practical purposes, it really does.  Even if you're planning to work on the 24th and the 30th and 31st, you're going to be very lonely sitting at home talking to no one, so this is the last week to "Git-R-Done!"

As you're lining up calls, connections and closings today while keeping an anxious eye on the disappearing minutes on the clock, keep very focused on just three things:

 

  1. Don't Overthink.  

    Your work today and next week is all about your focus to close deals in five days from today!
    You are not in the business of providing creative strategy or product development solutions for your prospective customer that will impact their business two or three years from now.  You're the solution and business value provider whose company will provide the absolute best products and services that will improve your prospects' 2020 business results by increasing their revenue, their gross profit and their net income.  
  2. Be Human

    With a short countdown till launch of only five days, be human and project your own humanity of  working 10 and 12 hours a day at this time of year to the person on the other side of the table-phone-text-email-videophone.  They're just as stressed as you are and have equally stretched schedules of work, kids, teacher conferences, holiday parties and wicked travel.  Yesterday, it took me two and a half hours just to drive from Logan to the Back Bay...and there were no accidents.  Forget 128/95/495 travel at 7:00 AM or 5:00 PM, but also remember that that's the reality of what happens to your prospect every day.  Be extremely sensitive to that type of reality and assess what it is that you could do personally that would reduce the stress, improve the time efficiency and impact the value that you and your products provide to your buying decision maker?  

    I'm running a two-day business planning session during the first week of January for 16 people.  The real work is the technical stuff related to the prep, the interviews, and the facilitation of the meeting.  I happily volunteered (and was immediately asked to do so) to take care of all of the logistics, hotel and travel reservations, food and everything else freeing up the senior team to focus on closing their year.
  3. Buckle Up

    This is crunch time; it's as simple as that!.  This weekend and the next five days require 100 hours of work, waking up before the kids tomorrow and Sunday and getting in at 7:00 AM and not 8:30 all next week.  
    Do everything you already know how to do and make sure that you're physically and mentally on the top of your game because when it's over, it's over! 
Just a few quick thoughts for this morning. 

Now, get back to work, and have a great day today being remarkable!  

Please stay connected! jack@derbymanagement.com 

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Tags: improving sales productivity, sales planning meetings, sales success, sale management, selling trust, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans