Jack Derby, Coach, Advisor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Professor

Recent Posts

When you're going through hell, what do you do?

In mid-July, I wrote about doing a first half year review, taking score of where you are and re-planning for the second half of the year.  That tactic of the first half review is used in business, in life, in football, and I'm now just suggesting to do it later this week for everyone working in Sales and now facing the critical 4th Quarter.  Very simply, when the 4th Quarter is finished on the 31st of December, it's game over, and the 2019 numbers are posted for all to see on the scoreboard.  No more time, no more timeouts, no more substitutions, no more injured players, no more excuses.  Done!!!

  • True salespeople, women and men, sales execs or BDRs, district managers or CEOs always know exactly where they are in their revenue metrics.  I'm currently in the critical process of signing up partners to the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, and I don't need to have my head of finance remind me where I am...but she does all the time...because she's a strong manager and a critical partner, and at the end of the day, money is money!   Bottom line is that I'm behind, and I now need to double down in effort, add more time to the sales clock and execute on a couple of new short term tactics. 
  • This week, theoretically there's 13 weeks left in the year, but in the cold hard reality of vacations and holidays, there's really nine. Given that, today, as in Monday, the last day of Q3, you should be totally focused on today, and then on Tuesday, as in tomorrow, immediately shift that focus to Q4 and the remaining 50 selling days left in the year.

Congratulations! to those of you who wake up tomorrow morning knowing that you're ahead of the game for the year, that the team is fully balanced, everyone is trained and amped up for the long drive through the rest of the quarter. 

Like the Pats, it's great to be ahead of the pack!

For those of us behind the curve, me included, it's time to change something since whatever it is that we've been doing for the past 270 days or so has not been working that well, and given current course and speed, the simple math says that nothing will change.  As professionals in the science of Sales, we gave up on the "Strategy of Hope" a very long time ago. It doesn't take that many slaps upside the head from past failures to figure out that the "same old, same old" even with a fresh coat of paint, rarely works.  

TIME to Create a New Game Plan

  •  It's the 4th Quarter which brings with it all of the normal issues of competition, focus, pricing discounts
     and the lack of time on the part of everyone on both sides of the buying and selling table.
  • In this particular 4th quarter, add to the lack of time, the confusion about tariffs, the stupidity of both political parties and the brain-dead media rapidly talking the country into a recession.  But, given the buoyancy of the economy, low unemployment, low interest rates and wheelbarrows of cash still parked on the sidelines, there's plenty of buying power left in corporate America... at least for the short term. 
  •  Today announce that you're gathering the team around the table this Friday morning at 7:30 to spend the entire morning walking through every strategy, every tactic, every contingency scenario and every personnel resource you're going to need during the next 53 days of the quarter.  Give assignments out today so that everyone is prepared and everyone has something to present.

And, btw, wherever you are on whichever side of the competitive edge you are on today, it could be a lot worse!  Imagine if you're a senior manager or are on the sales teams of WeWork, Peloton, Boeing or Juul having to rebuild your entire business model and your product plans.

  • I also think back to the readings of my sales coach, SunTzu, who time and again has pulled me out of the sales doldrums and has givin me immediate short and mid-term focus to the tactical job at hand. 
  • Similarly, Eisenhower's response when after learning on that morning of the highly planned invasion of the beaches at Normandy that everything was disastrously falling apart by the hour, he executed a totally revised tactical plan which quickly got the soldiers off the beaches.  Weeks after, he was quoted with "It's not the plan that's important; it's the planning process.".  
  • And it was from those dark early days of the war when Britain stood alone following the invasion of France and the disaster at Dunkirk that Winston Churchill responded with "When you're going through hell, keep going", followed again and again with "Never, never, never give up".  

Things to do this week:

1. Get that Friday morning planning session together with assignments and concise and impactful tactical presentations focused on the remaining 50ish days.  Don't allow anyone to complain about their lack of time, or those big bad competitors, or the problems with tariffs when in fact, it's most probably the lack of small, focused tactical selling plans that's the real problem.

 

2. Focus on geographies at the Friday planning meeting.  With a small number of days left in the year, we need to focus on streets, not states.  There are 31 NFL cities in the U.S.   The cities themselves  account for 10% of the U.S. population.  The "greater" population directly around those cities equals another 25%.  Go where the customers are and the prospects are going to be. Don't waste time exploring new geographies!  

3. Pick your critical metrics and communicate them every week  Next week institute 30 minute team calls every Monday morning at 7:30, and at the end a day midweek-either Wednesday or Thursday-to discover on a peer-to-peer basis-what tactics worked and the results that came from them.   

Have a great day selling today !

Please stay connected!

Advisor, Derby Management, experts in-
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning
WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT    

Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
Spark-Incubate-Accelerate@Tufts
Come to our Events

2019 $100K New Ventures
Cell:  617-504-4222 jack.derby@tufts.edu



Read More

Tags: sales planning meeting, sales leadership, sales management productivity, sales motivation

Ideas for Managing Change this Fall

Change is in the air, and it's everywhere !

Read More

Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation

Stop Overthinking, Just Use Your Head & Celebrate the 4th

Sure, I get it...work, life, and relationships are often wicked complicated, maybe even overcomplicated, but that's life!  Way too often we overthink things, especially at work, to the point of making the already complicated impossibly cluttered, slow to enact and painful in which to participate. Recently, I've adopted with my work and my teaching a concept of frequently taking a view 100 feet off the deck and asking myself and others..."Aren't we overthinking this?", and, typically, I am discovering that the answer is a resounding "Yes".

Read More

Tags: Tufts university, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

3 Steps to Relentless Focus in Everything We Do!



After this first year in my new role as the Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, now that we have a solid understanding of what we have, and we don't have, I'm spending time visiting the heads of the local universities to figure out how and where entrepreneurship fits into their organizations.  I'm doing this partially to understand their organizational structures of what works and what doesn't, partially to assess "the competition" and mostly to be able to better express what's unique about Tufts' own brand of entrepreneurship.  These interviews, plus talking with hundreds of students and alums, and having just completed our first-ever "Impact Report on Entrepreneurship at Tufts", will lead to developing an updated two-year business plan this summa'. 

I love working on "Tufts' Stuff" on the beach.  It justifies, just a bit, my excuse to be on the NH beach and not commute into campus

By the way, if you would like to receive a copy of this  just-released "Impact Report, just email me at jack.derby@tufts.edu, and I'll send you a copy. 

The Impact Report work is dynamic and all the more so since it was done by our students, led by Team Captain, Leila Li, a remarkable student leader and friend.  

One of my first stops in assessing other universities was Babson, perhaps the most highly rated university in the world when it comes down to encompassing "entrepreneurship" in everything they do.    As I and a few of my associates visited with the senior leadership of Babson, I was struck by...

Read More

My 3 Rules to my Graduating Seniors

May is always a bittersweet time !

It's the end of the academic year and the realization that hundreds of our students at the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center will graduate opening the next chapter in their books of life and in their careers.  We know from our data that the majority will join larger companies where they will bring their entrepreneurial spirit of curiosity and innovation.  Right alongside our congratulating the seniors going to work at Google, Hubspot, Linked and other companies where we can open doors, we are also closely watching and coaching a handful of companies being birthed right now as a result of this spring's very successful Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition Tufts TEC Graduates 2019-2

Read More

Tags: angel investing, Tufts university, Tufts ELS program, Tufts internships, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

Most importantly...we all need to remain curious!!!


20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. 

Catch the trade winds in your sails. 

Explore! Dream! Discover!

   ...Mark Twain


Read More

Tags: sales boot camp, sales management boot camps, Tufts marketing projects, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, creating trust in sales, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation

10 Lessons for Success from a Serial Entrepreneur!

At the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, in addition to shepherding 450 enthusiastic and curious students a semester among 16 wicked smart professors, I've been focusing on building an event structure throughout the year that leads up to our $100K New Venture Competition in the spring.  Right now, you should Mark April 5th in your calendar and come and participate in what Forbes ranks as one of "The top 15 business plan contests in the country." 

Read More

Tags: sales leadership, value propositions, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management plans, creating trust in sales, Tufts Entrepreneurship

It's all about time...sales, management, and entrepreneurship!

You cannot not like Michael Porter... 

The guy is just brilliant!  Been around for a long time.  Lots of books.  Got the Five Forces Thing down.  Senior professor at HBS.  Has a building on campus named after him.  And, he's a true Renaissance Man, who continues to do research, write and still actively teach. The Real Deal !

Read More

Tags: entreprenurial, Tufts ELS, sales planning meetings, entrepreneurship, sales management plans, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship

Celebrate The Revolution !

Thanks for closing the Q on time and even squeaking in those last few orders on Friday afternoon before the closing bell !  This morning, whatever the number was, it feels good to have the wind at your back and a new page open to a new week, a new month and a new quarter !  Still lots of room between now and the end of December.    

Read More

Tags: business planning, business coaching, business plans, strategic planning, strategic

Everything's in Place in VT & in Sales-Today's # is 3

 

"A clean forest is a happy forest !"

In the tiny town of Bondville (Federal government's name) and/or Winhall (the State's name), population 647, I was out in my Vermont woodlot this past weekend. Always a work process of love for the land that is good for my head, the soul and especially for the woods!  
My family has lived in this valley for over 250 years, and I have enough great grandfather and grandfather stories of real entrepreneurship to fill a book. I think that it's not by coincidence that I'm now director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, just two miles from my grandfather's first retail store opened in Davis Square in 1908.  Bapa left the not-so-rural town of Poultney, just 20 miles up the road a piece from where I live in Vermont, to settle in Somerville next to the Tufts campus.  

Last Friday, Mike, my trusted co-worker, and I were deep in the Vermont muck with chain saws and ATV's cutting, bushwhacking, and generally cleaning up the final damage of the winta'. 

Read More

Tags: improved sales management, sales management training, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, sales management productivity, sales careers