Had a very exciting, stimulating and actively engaging discussion end of the day yesterday with 30 of our CEOs, presidents and senior leaders of our customers on the 2021 workplace, and I thought that I'd share with you this morning a few of the takeaways.
I write this this afternoon at the end of an extraordinarily cataclysmic week.
I could not even begin to provide any meaningful content today that has not been said better and more fluently by much more knowledgeable people than me.
I guess on the day before Christmas, I could wish for world peace, freedom from all hatred, an ability to embrace diversity at all levels and, of course the best health for you, your families, your friends and your employees...and, of course, I do hope for all of that.
a few Reasons to be thankful!
We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!
now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left
20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!
With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close. That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard.
Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.
The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.
Here's a couple of tactics that always work...
1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!
Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota. In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close. Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.
2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!
The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets. The very good news is that you have 20 days. Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time. The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days.
- My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
- My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
- I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter.
3. Clean up your calendar!
- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then.
- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell. Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell.
In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect. The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January. Yes, January!
- I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
- Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle. Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.
- For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work. Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.
No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection. You already know more than the basics by this time. This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us.
We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March.
I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead.
Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!
Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19!
CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener.
Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
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'!
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
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."
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
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
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".