Spring, Breaking Up...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Mar 07, 2013

The 2013 Sales Management Boot Camp

Sales Management Boot Camp   Copy resized 600We're dialed in for another exciting, engaging, and exhausting Sales Management Boot Camp from late Sunday afternoon, October 6th through Tuesday afternoon, October 8th at the MIT Endicott House.
Six years, 350+ highly satisfied graduates!

Everyone who attends is focused on two simple questions:

1.  How can I improve my own sales effectiveness?
2.  How can I enable my salespeople more effectively?

We're still assembling all of the details and will have that done this weekend.  We have confirmed senior executives from Brainshark, Salesforce and Hubspot as speakers. In the meantime, Save the Date and just email jack@derbymanagement.com for any details.


Sales at StrattonAfter a great weekend of riding at Stratton along with perfect snow and temps, I left real early Monday morning for Boston which brought me driving along the West River outside of Brattleboro.  With ice chunks three to four feet thick, the river’s starting to break up as the melting water from upstream builds an unrelenting pressure on the packed ice down in the valley where the West joins the Connecticut...at least until something gives.  That “something” is typically an ice explosion in the Brattleboro meadows as a result of a couple of  warmer-than-normal days that sends even more water colliding down into the river.  And so it goes…the literal birthing of spring caused by the breaking up of the ice.

As we head into the ides of March, we’re definitely on the downward slope of winta’.  Skiing and riding couldn’t be better with one of the best snow seasons we’ve had in years, plus March usually brings the big snows, and it looks like probably another 6" from today's storm. 
Since the end-of-the-weekend drive down from Vermont to Boston (now more than 2,000 trips…but who’s counting?) always catapults me from one world to another, somewhere along that 151 miles, I transition from being Jack the 6th generation Vermont guy to Jack the Boston management coach guy. 

Driving in on Monday and watching the pressure build up on the West River ice, I flashed back and forth to the reality of my upcoming visit with my one of my Boston customers later that morning since we would be reviewing their sales results through February and discussing their revenue forecasts for the balance of the quarter. 

Please, No More Stories...

Hope is not a Strategy resized 600About 10 years ago, as I listened to my umpteenth boring Monday morning sales forecast largely based on the Strategy of Hope, I decided that I was going to dramatically change my methods of reviewing sales performance and forecasting.  Up to that time, I would listen to the  emotions of one colorful account story after another.  I would then badger the sales rep or the manager for their forecast for the balance of the month or the quarter.  I would then degrade that number by my own factoring, and finally turn that assemblage of guesses over to my CFO, who would reduce it even more with their own (I don't want to get beaten up for missing the forecast) percentage.  All in all, a total waste of time, and it provided nothing in the way of process or tools that could be used to improve sales effectiveness for either the salesperson or the manager.


It's All About the Math...

Today, I'm a data junkie and locked into the mechanics and metrics of Salesforce and HubSpot.  I always like a little bit of story to color around the edges of the data, but today my account activities, forecasts and sales support decisions are largely based on historical trends, the positioning of pipeline opportunities measured against cycle times and statistical regression analysis.  Back in the day, my primary sales management methods used to be what I thought was an experienced blend of applying pressure and giving pats on the back.  The problem was that, just like the ice-choked West River colliding into the Connecticut, I could never figure out exactly when the ice dam would burst or the explosion would happen.  Sometimes, it would work perfectly.  Most of the time I was only somewhat wrong, but survived due to my ever-conservative CFO.  But, there were also those few times when the explosion would occur and the collateral damage was really ugly resulting in way too much wasted time and CYA finger pointing.

It's much more effective to...

  • ...use SFDC as the bible and a customized sales process as the religion.
  • ...let the data speak for itself.  It's accurate, and it's pressure enough.
  • ...focus on customer needs and then map out the required sales activities.
  • ...work with the rep to solve sales process and pipeline problems.

...all relatively "direct" (nothing's ever "easy" in Sales) to do with the correct data, custom designed sales processes filled with the right sales and marketing tools applied at just the right time.  As a result, I spend my time much more productively today as a sales manager and coach working with salespeople rather than pressuring them until they break.  Leave the breaking up to the ice this spring.  Instead, focus your time and energy on building and optimizing your sales process and truly enabling your salespeople during this upcoming quarter.

 Welcome to 2013...and Good Selling! 
   -January was a real solid month, February was pretty good, March will be excellent!
   -Remember:  Q1 always sets the tone, pace & success for the year

Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales


Sales Management Boot Camp  - Limited to 30 sales management executives
  - Harvard case studies
  - Highly interactive
  - Processes, planning, and technology
  - Hiring and retaining the best

Tufts Marketing  It's that time of year again, when I'm searching for six company
  projects for my seniors and juniors marketing class at Tufts for the 
  fall semester.  For the last six years, I've had the privilige of being a professor of Marketing at Tufts in a fast-paced, highly interactive course where the students are continuously immersed in the real world of today's marketing strategies, tactics and tools. 
One of the means through which this is accomplished is that six teams of five students are focused for the 13 week semester on completing complex marketing projects for companies in the NE geography.  These no-cost projects vary widely from developing market research reports, to new product launches, to creating full marketing plans for small and middle market businesses. 

If you are at all interested in participating for the fall semester, just email me, and I will send you an outline of what's involved.



Tags: sales productivity, sales coaching, Sales Optimization, sales management effectiveness, sales plan process, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales boot camp