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".
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
My Hubspot blog template asks me this morning "What are we writing about today?". This Thursday morning, I'm pretty consumed with the excitement and the logistics of tomorrow's day-long Founder's Workshop and its incredible line up of real-life entrepreneurs, early stage investors and expert coaches, all focused on making sure that our early stage entrepreneurs do not fall off the cliff.
Tags: entreprenurial, business coaching, Tufts Gordon Institute, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, sales success, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Back-in-the-day, working in corporate healthcare at Becton Dickinson, I didn’t know how to spell the word, “entrepreneurship”. Even though three prior generations of my family had built businesses, that word would have been confusing at best since all that was talked about around the kitchen table was “the stores”. It was the stores, open six days a week and Friday nights where my grandfather, father, mother, and me and my brothers worked. It was never thought to be anything special.
Tags: entreprenurial, sales and marketing best practices, The Competitive Edge, Tufts Gordon Institute, Tufts internships, Tufts ELS, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship
Been a wicked busy and wicked cold January, so not much in the way of blogging, but now with this leap into February, I’m back at it. It was my great grandfather Horace, who lived up the road a piece in the beautiful town of Poultney, Vermont, who talked about 8 months of snow, 2 months of mosquitoes and 2 months of “just damn poor sleddin’”. My family has lived in this valley for just about 250 years, and what I know is that it takes real work to live here. Vermont’s beautiful on one hand, and just hardscrabble tough on the other.
Tags: entreprenurial, how to write a business plan, writing a business plan, Tufts university, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
When I became the Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, one of the Center's professors, a great guy and a superb instructor noted in our first faculty meeting "since you are the oldest..." , at which time, I jokingly cut him off, and he quickly course-corrected to point out... "I meant, you've been teaching here the longest".
I've also realized during the last six months through Tufts' very unique perspective on entrepreneurship, innovation and research, that age has its benefits.
Two thirds of the way through this superb summer and plenty of time left to take a bit of vaca, squish the sand between the toes, pack those gotta-read-this-summer books into the beach bag, and in general just prepare yourself physically and mentally for the wicked fast acceleration into the first week of September.
The Dog Days of August occur when everyone realizes that the beginning of the summa' has passed them by, and now there's just five weeks left to take some time off and do that forced relaxation thing. Forget trying to find anyone in France or Italy, and the same applies to any venture or PE person in the U.S, who all seem to be hiding out on Nantucket. It is what it is, and September will be here soon enough. To a degree, who cares, since this is all about you, so right now, this morning, click open your calendar and just mark off all the days you can with the words "beach", "golf", "kids" or "nothing". You won't get another chance since when it's over, it's over
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 !
Maybe it's just the calendar as we race into March especially today sandwiched between the weekend nor'easter and tomorrow's nor'easter. Hard to believe that I was out raking in the NH yard in the sun on Sunday morning. Harder to believe that I was raking seaweed out of the grass after these waves went way over the seawall and closed the roads.
Maybe it was the bright 50 degree, sunny days just two weeks ago. "In-Like-a-Lion" March lives up to its reputation this week
All I know is that just three months from now, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer, and the summer means the beach, and the beach means mega-reading and mega-writing.
Nothing better for me, my psyche, my health and my curiosity than taking my overloaded beach bag out early on a Saturday morning and opening up a book about sales or marketing and taking out my writing tablet.
Each summer, I also use the time on the beach to rewrite our 115 page Writing the Winning Business Plan and our 50 page Writing the Winning Marketing Plan. If you want copies of either of these, just click on below. Actually, if you do read these now, and you have ideas or comments, just let me know, and we will make sure that we will add those comments if we can and give you attribution, as you will note in the front of the Writing the Winning Business Plan book
Nothing is more exciting for me than watching the Olympics, and the U.S. Women's Hockey Team taking the gold last night in a decisive win over Canada was one of the huge highlights of this very exciting winter's games !
- Superb conditioning on the part of every player !
- Mental toughness all around !
- Highly skilled and practiced plays !
- Just superb athletes in everyone on the team !
I'm a long time snowboarder and have been riding for almost 25 years with countless years attending the U.S. Open at Stratton watching Olympic champs Shaun White and Lindsey Jacobellis walk away with gold medals there and at the Olympics. Last week's snowboarding medals by Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson, Red Gerard, and the ageless Shaun White just proved once again that.....
To win in any sport, and in any sales activity, medal performance always, always comes down to the basics of...
1. Consistent training...and more training
2. Certification that the training was done correctly
3. Mental conditioning and then...even more training
Sounds pretty basic, and it is.
Actually, there should be no difference in how we assess our professional athletes on our own sales teams when comparing our players to the athletes at the Olympics or in any professional sport. Once we start to think differently, that's the point at which we take ourselves out of the race to get to the Olympics and become medal winners. "Pretty Good" or "Good Enough" B players are just that... "not good enough" if you're planning to consistently be on the podium at the end of any quarter.
Homework to do
This weekend, come up with a numeric rating system against your top three sales metrics. You probably have already done weighting factors of revenue, gross margin, monthly or annual subscription values, and bookings. Now rank all of your salespeople in the categories of Gold, Silver and Bronze. There will definitely be a couple of players who, given the fact that they are new to the company, are still on the development team, but they can also be ranked once they're past the three month curve.
Do this ranking separately for every gradation of salespeople that you have whether they are hunters, account managers, farmers or BDRs.
So far, easy homework to do, and don't overthink this...just Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Now the Question
The question now is for you to figure out where you should be spending your own time as a Player-Coach? Since all time is finite, and, most probably you're already spending 60-75 hours a week both managing and selling, the question that needs to be asked and definitevely answered in numbers of hours/week is where should you be spending your coaching time with your athletes.
1. Do you spend the majority of your time with your Gold players (the top 20%) and train and motivate them to increase their current performance another 15%?
2. Do you limit your time with your Gold players and pump that time into increased training, more practices and one-on-one motivational time with your Silver medalists (the average and above average 60%)?
3. Just what are you planning to do with your bottom 20%...and when are you going to take specific action? It's also time to make those decisions.
I know what I always do, and I'll be happy to share that in next week's blog, or you can just email me in the meantime, and we can schedule a call.
But, much more importantly, I would really like you to express in the comments section how you carve up your work time and where would you allocate your coaching time from now through June...clearly the most important sales period of the year? It would be very important, given your experience, if you were to share where and how you allocate your time with the rest of our readers. Just a simple note in "comments" would be important for all of us since peer learning in the world of Sales is always the most impactful.
- Whatever training and planning against the tactical playbook that you write now and then actually occurs between March and June will determine the course and speed for the balance of your quota year.
- This period of four months is simply a lot of actual time-about 80 work days, and if that time is used wisely and is formally balanced between both playing the game and training to play the game, you will find that there is a very impactful ROI on that investment in time that will occur over the period of the summer when you will need it most.
Have a great day selling today, and raise a glass tonight the Women's Hockey Team...and all of the other superb medal winners...all sports, all countries!
Coach & Advisor to Derby Management
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies, Tufts University
Cummings Professor of Entrepreneurship
Tags: Sales Leadership in the Revolution, sales leadership, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, sales effectivness, sales plans for 2018