Ralph Waldo Emerson, Kilimanjaro & Entrepreneurship

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.

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Tags: entreprenurial, business coaching, Tufts Gordon Institute, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, sales success, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

Spark-Incubate-Accelerate: Learn the Science of Entrepreneurship!

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. 


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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

Lessons in Life and Entrepreneurship from Vermont

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.

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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

Zen & Entrepreneurship-A Need to Simplify

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 25, 2018

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.  

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Tags: entreprenurial, entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship

Acceleration-3 Steps to Improve

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 

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, Tufts ELS program, Tufts internships, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales plans for 2018, 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 !

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

Time to Start Filling the Beach Bag

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Mar 06, 2018

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

 

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Tags: sales leadership, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management plans, sales management productivity, sales plans for 2018

Gold-Silver-Bronze...How's Your Sales Team Doing for Medals?

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

 

 


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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

Technology, Thanksgiving & Togetherness

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Nov 24, 2016

As a 7th generation Vermonter, other than my years living overseas in the Peace Corps, I've always found my way back to the Green Mountain State for the celebration of Thanksgiving. Probably not a DNA thing, since none of my relatives live here anymore, but mostly, it's a Thanksgiving tradition thing and a welcoming back of friends on the slopes of Stratton, where I've been coming every Thanksgiving ever since it opened. 

This morning's trip from the NH beach to the bustling town of Bondville, (pop. 647), known for being the oldest summer fair in Vermont, took just three hours (ayah...can't get theah from heah) which always makes me think about how technology advances have changed our Thanksgivings. 

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Tags: sales tools, entrepreneurship, thanksgiving

I'm Searching for Sales & Marketing Projects @ Tufts for the fall

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Apr 08, 2016

Tufts University $100K New Ventures Competition

The business plan pitches were Wednesday, and the awards were made last night. This year yet another company, Mimir Insights, with several of my marketing Alums won the top prize in High Tech. This is what real entrepreneurship...at the street level...is all about.  Congratulations to all of the entrepreneurs!!!!

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Tags: entreprenurial, business plans, Tufts university, marketing plans, entrepreneurship