Jack Derby, Head Coach

Jack Derby, Head Coach, Derby Management As founder and Head Coach of Derby Management, Jack Derby and his managers provide strategic planning, and sales and marketing optimization services to growth and middle market companies. Prior to forming Derby Management, Jack served as CEO of Mayer Electronics Corporation, President of CB Sports, President of Litton Industries Medical Systems, CEO of Datamedix Corporation and President of Becton Dickinson Medical Systems. For his work in the entrepreneurial community, Jack was named to Mass High Tech’s All Star Team. He also received the distinguished Pro Bono Publico award from the Smaller Business Association of New England, the Meritorious Service Award for the Association for Corporate Growth, and the Vincent Fulmer Distinguished Service Award from the MIT Enterprise Forum. He is a frequent speaker at numerous sales meeting and business organizations including the Association for Corporate Growth and the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, where he was Chairman of both organizations. He is a Professor of the Practice at Tufts University, where he teaches two courses: “Entrepreneurial Marketing” and “The Art & Science of Sales”. In 2015, Jack received the Henry and Madeline Fisher Award given to the best teacher on campus, an award that is voted by the graduating students and the faculty. He is the first faculty member from the Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Program to be given this recognition. He is also a lecturer at MIT, where for the past nineteen years, he has taught classes in business planning and marketing to undergraduate and graduate students in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Jack is currently an active board member in a number of companies, including the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Accounting Management Solutions, Aviant Hospice, Brainshark Corporation, Chase Corporation, Rome Snowboards, Reiser Inc, and Tufts University’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies Advisory Board. He is also the past Chairman of Common Angels Ventures, one of the most active seed and early stage investment funds, now rebranded by Jack and management to Converge Ventures.
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Recent Posts

Creating your own single source of truth

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Jun 30, 2020

Rarely, as in never, do I get into a discussion in this blog about politics, and to a large degree this post is not about politics, it's just about the science, the data and the sources of the truth behind the pandemic and its impact.

What each of us should be doing at this time is to identify our own "single sources of truth" regarding the disease, the impact that it's making on our physical and mental health, and the devastating effect on our businesses and our jobs.

The only way we can fight back is with discipline in what we do, how we act, and how we sell and market our products

Six months into this, we clearly know the facts...

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales enablement, sales management boot camp, sales boot camps, how to write a sales plan, 2020 sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World

Slow down, reduce the lanes & focus!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 26, 2020

I happened to be talking to a friend of mine, Paul Kelly, President of Berkshire Bank, yesterday about...what else...Sales, of course, and he provided a very interesting perspective to approaching his sales process during these times of unknowns.  Notice I just used the phrase "times of unknowns" since "chaotic" is too depressing and "new normal/abnormal" has become too much of a trite label, All we do know right now is that we will be in this "time of unknowns" for at least the next six and probably twelve months.  Nothing we can do in our day-day-day is going to change the overall environment, but determined and innovative managers like Paul, who focus on positivity, motivation and specific marketing and sales tactics, impact sales at their companies every week. 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales enablement, sales management training, how to close sales, 2020 sales plans

Would you...could you...Free Solo?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 05, 2020

Last night, I watched the documentary about the climber Alex Honnold, who is the star of Free Solo, the documentary about his ascent of El Capitan that won an Oscar last year.  

El Cap is a 3,000ft sheer rock face in Yosemite, California, and he climbed it without a rope.

Although Alex is known in the public eye as a free solo-ist, most climbing he does takes place on a rope. He typically won’t free solo a difficult route until it’s been thoroughly rehearsed while attached to one.

So that’s what makes this photo here fun...and of course, here he’s roped in.

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management training, selling skills, sales training, Making Tough Choices, sales management productivity, sales readiness

No more Joey BagaDonuts

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, May 27, 2020

When I first began as a rookie salesperson, I had just been promoted to be president of the medtech company where I had moved up through the ranks from manufacturing and engineering and then to the corner office.  I had never sold anything and had zero understanding of what marketing did other than knowing they spent a ton of money on trade shows, conferences and producing whitepapers.  The second week into the job, our number two sales guy, Alan, showed up in my office and suggested that we take a sales trip together to his largest hospital in NYC.  A great guy...strong numbers, very affable, bright-but in a folksy kind of way- and a very hard worker.   I still remember that first call:

 

#1 lesson from Alan was to dress down from the plaid suit.  😎
#2 was to go in the hospital on the 2nd shift since it was less hectic and quieter. 
#3 was to bring a box of donuts to the nurses since they knew what was really going on.
#4 was to understand that knowledge was power, and the currency was just being human.

 

Today, we would term that process a "Discovery Call", and we would put it into the second step in our sales process funnel and allocate specific tools and checklists to the Discovery call wrapping all of that up in Hubspot CRM technology that would automatically remind us in three days after the call with follow up tasks and templates to complete.  Yes, it's mechanical, efficient, and highly disciplined, and, yes, it's not very human by itself, but it works.  The secret to successful sales is to add personality and trust to any sales process that's full of steps and metrics. 

 

Which is better-sales process or the human touch?

Alan was just a superb salesguy!  Always #1 or #2 in a team of 50 plus salespeople.  He had a superb memory and a built-in innate ability to drive sales "The Alan Way", and as a result he had his own process down to a science.  That's the good news. 

The unsettling news was that no one else could sell "The Alan Way" since his process came down to style on the attributes side of things and his own selling skills on the process side of the equation.  Plus, although he had a huge geographic territory, he only focused his time in the density of two very concentrated cities and then further pinpointed those to the specific hospitals where he knew exactly what was going to happen in in terms of replacement products given his closeness to the nurses using donuts as his currency   The bottom line in his "Streets-not-States" strategy was that by focusing on only 5% of the available hospitals in his entire geography, he always got to whatever the bonus number was above 100% of his quota. 

The majority of us are not Alan, nor do we have his discipline, so people like me need to "resort" to our "Process & Tools & Technology & People" solution to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks...and because I just don't the whole Joey BagaDonuts approach. 

The Joeys who are still in the sales game also do not have the skills or the style that Alan had...all they have are the donuts.  As a result, they rely on stupid and affrontive emails like this one below that I just received yesterday:  
Hello Mr. Derby,   I hope you're having a great Tuesday.
My name is xxx xxx, and I'm the CEO at xxx.  We are a new member of xxx. While browsing the member directory I came across your profile highlighting your company and wanted to make a brief introduction about our solutions.  We are a cost reduction and profit improvement company. We have had significant success working with venture capital, investment banking firms, private equity groups, and consulting firms seeking to create equity value within their portfolios or for their clients.  Attached are a few case studies of those successes. After doing some research, I'm interested in finding out more about your company. I look forward to hearing from you.

That's definitely a Joey BagaDonuts email, but unfortunately it came without the donuts! 

Just another example of a worthless marketing and a sales approach so bad, that I just had to blog about it this morning.  Messaging like this is especially affrontive now in this time of chaos when it's even more critical for all of us to focus on what it takes to provide true customer value while never using the words, "trust me on this!"

Right now, all of us are trying to figure out what the new rules for both Sales and for Marketing will be for whatever the new normal will be in 2021. 

  • Today, there is no new normal, just 60-day sales tactics focused on survival. 
  • First, we need to hit this month's number on Friday.
  • Second, we need to get to July 4th and then take a long weekend-breather.
  • Third, only then can we spend time figuring out what it takes to get to Labor Day. 
  • Around that time, we should then know enough to begin to write the new rules for 2021. 

Have a great day selling today, tomorrow and Friday!

TUFTS FALL SEMESTER MARKETING PROJECTS

At Tufts where I'm a professor teaching Marketing in the Entrepreneurship Center, I am now actively looking for marketing projects for the fall semester. Yes, we will be teaching in the fall with a blended mix of video and visual content, distance learning and F2F-socially-distanced mechanics.  All safe-all the time!

The manner in which I teach is based on my practice of "Content in Context", where I and my guest lecturers provide the clinical teaching content and the real-life experience which is then taught within the structure of six teams of juniors and seniors delivering fully developed marketing plans to their host companies at the end of the semester.  The companies range from established startups with revenue to mid-size corporations.  The projects are often full marketing plans for the company or a marketing plan for the launch of a new product or service.

The results over the years have been just excellent both for the students and for their companies, and, for a couple of reasons, this semester's results were the best ever...just over the top.  Right now, I'm taking applications for next fall's course, so if you're interested, just connect with me by email at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I will set up a quick call to review the logistics with you and send you an outline of the program.  All of the applications need to be in no later than June 19th.  The syllabus and the projects go out to the students on July 5th.    

 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board management coaching or for Sales or Marketing stuff, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener.  Obviously, no cost, just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

Be safe, be positive and enjoy today and have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management coach, sales effectiveness, Sales quota, best sales practices;, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, 2020 sales plans

I attended Tufts graduation last Sunday in the new normal...

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, May 21, 2020

I attended the Tufts graduation this past weekend

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Tags: marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, interns for marketing projects, how to write a marketing plan, marketing planning, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, 2020 business plans

ok, now what do I do to sell? 

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, May 13, 2020

With last weekend's nasty weatha' at the NH beach and even more snow stopping my planned Saturday mornin' trip to Winhall/Bondville VT, I took the time to post to my 6,700 LinkedIn friends my "Six Best Sales Practices for Selling Normally in Abnormal Times",

This comes from a webinar with I shared with Laurie White, President of the Providence Chamber of Commerce, and her superb members. 

I thought that the questions raised from these real-life business owners and salespeople were perfect examples of what it takes to work and survive on the front line in these chaotic times.  

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Tags: Making Tough Choices, sales management productivity, selling trust, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Putting in place a very straight line sales plan

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, May 01, 2020

This morning I'm thinking very differently about the words "a long hard slog", and looking at this business environment not as a world of chaos and interruption, but as one of creating a much more simplified process that creates a much straighter line between "start" and "purchase".  

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Tags: improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales forecasting, sales effectivness, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

A morning of jumbled thoughts...

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Apr 24, 2020

By the end of a normal Friday morning, the front of my brain would have heard, dissected and categorized some hundreds of ideas, and I would have figured out one thread of hopefully a meaningful subject to twist around my travels to Vermont, my teaching at Tufts or my working at the NH beach.  This Friday is complicated by way too many jumbled "new normal" activities...not any different from any of you, I'm sure.  

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Tags: marketing projects, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, 2020 business plans, writing sales plans

Right Answers, Wrong Questions

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Apr 16, 2020

Questions:

  • When will we get back to work?
  • When can I start selling again?
  • What's the messaging I should be using?

In a few hours, I'll be leading a webinar with 100+ business owners of New England destination hotels and vacation resorts who are looking for answers to these and 60 plus other questions that they've submitted in advance. 

These are the people right at the epicenter of the struggle who have had hundreds of cancellations for long-planned weddings, reunions and business conferences planned specifically around "getting away to the peaceful, bucolic and quiet beaches and mountains of New England".  And now, they have nothing but questions, time on their hands and the adjacent fears of unpaid bills and not knowing what to tell long term employees that they've already laid off. 

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Tags: sales leadership, value propositions, sales management productivity, creating trust in sales, 2020 sales plans, sales readiness

Focus on what you can control...and that's a lot!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Mon, Apr 13, 2020

We've all heard this phrase- "focus only on what you can control"- numerous times now over the last 10 chaotic weeks.  This Monday morning I'm merely suggesting that we give it a solid 60 minutes of detailed thinking during this week bringing the clouds of buzz in that phrase down to the streets of reality with a small number of carefully planned activities that we can totally control.

 
3 critical baselines we can totally control:

  1. Our Personal Health: 
    Most importantly, focus on your personal health and the health of your families!  That's always Job #1 and that by itself will take us through this chaos!  Once our own health and that of our family is solid and has been locked down, then we can figure out everything else. 

    Since by now everyone understands the basics of what it takes to remain healthy, I'm recommending ramping up those basics 2X over the next four months. Keeping ourselves healthy during the heat of this summer will be very difficult to say the least.  For a solid example of what it means to ramp up the basics, take a look at leading healthcare and certified nursing advocate, Jenn Loughty's hand washing site  

    Our Business Health: 
    Ramping up the basics of our business health was outlined perfectly last week by my good friend, noted author and acclaimed speaker, Jamie Turner in his 60SecondMarketer blog on
    "7 Strategies to help your business get through the crisis."  Definitely a worthwhile read! 


    This is stuff we already kinda' know, but now's the time to ramp it up 2X ...and squash the curve!


  2. Our Sales & Marketing Processes:
    We can totally control the necessary pivots to our Sales and Marketing processes and the tools that we're using right now in Q2.  We obviously can't "control" our actual sales results...couldn't before and certainly can't now..., but we can totally control what "Activities" we're planning and executing!


    For years I've been a student of strategy and business planning, and this simple graphic has always been a solid guide to center me when I'm working with our clients. In today's world of planning what we will be doing in marketing and sales, this is not a time when we should be focused on either vision or strategies. This is a time to be laser focused on the next 90 days with everything riveted on the tactical execution of activities.

    If there is a strategy, it is to survive, and survival is about executing battlefront activities!  

    Does it make sense?
    This is a very simple question to ask ourselves in our week-by-week and month-by-month battle planning of activities between now and the 4th of July since at the latest you should not be planning out further than that.  

    Get down to the street level and go through an analytical thought process of sense-making by yourself and ideally with your sales & marketing team.   

    Get your head out of the clouds of strategic planning and ask yourself "Does it make sense?" as you focus on the activities necessary to sell to customers in mini-territories of streets and not states and you launch Inbound-Only Marketing campaigns to one industry and not five.

  3. Our Sales Forecasting:
    We've now been living in this increasing chaos of the unknown for about eight weeks, and I continuously hear questions like I heard on a webinar I was on last Monday week with the amazing Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce 


    - The question was asked by a head of sales: "How do I forecast in these times?" 
    - Me: "Plan out only 4 weeks!".  (2 weeks ago, it was 2 weeks.)

    - He:  "My boss wants to see a forecast out to December"
    - Me: "Just say no. Plan out 4 weeks listing 5 assumptions. In 2 weeks, do 4 more.

    - Me:  "Focus 95% of your time on your current customers!  
    - Me:  "Focus 100% on your value propositions & not on your products"

Sales Management Boot Camp:  May 12th & 13th
"Successfully Managing Sales in Chaotic Times"


If you want to understand what it takes to successfully manage, sell, train, ramp up and forecast in these chaotic times, work with us online in a highly engaged, hands-on Sales Management Boot Camp!  

  • Two three & a half hour team sessions on the mornings of May 12th and 13th 
  • One-on-one Coaching Sessions on May 14th 
As part of our Sales Management consulting, we've been running two to three F2F boot camps a year for 20 years.  Held in partnership at MIT with other leading sales management experts focused on dramatically increasing sales productivity, enablement and readiness, we've run intensive one and two-day F2F highly engaged camps bringing together CEOs, Presidents and Sales Managers from a wide diversity of industries. 

  • We actively engage everyone in our unique strategy of "Process-Tools-Technology & People".
  • We dive deep into real-life tactics that you can start using immediately the next week.
  • We focus on developing street-level playbooks of Activity Plans

Now, we're bringing that expertise online with the same level of deep practicality and active engagement that's resulted in hundreds of notes of thanks from managers and presidents of both large corporations and mid-market companies covering a wide range of markets. 

The primary coaches will be George Simmons and me, with guest speakers featuring Colleen Honan, CSO of Brainshark and James Stone, Director of Mid-Market Sales at Hubspot.  Two leading mid-market companies focused on sales and marketing productivity with two highly successful sales execs who have figured out how to adapt and sell in this period of unknowns.

Click here for more details and then just connect directly with me for any questions at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I will set up a call with you right away and get you registered!

 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board, just connect at any time.  Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call. 

Obviously, no cost-just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

Have a safe and positive week !

Please stay safe & connected!
jack@derbymanagement.com
Head Coach, Derby Management, experts in...
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning
WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT

Professor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
-Entrepreneurial Marketing
-The Science of Sales 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: sales planning meetings, sales forecasting, sales success, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, writing business plans