Now, it's all about your closing tactics!

Including today, at the most, there's about 18 selling days left in the year...and that's assuming that your prospect is not leaving for the week after Christmas, which is, of course, classic family vacation time. 

With those precious 18 days on the calendar and with B2B sales cycles currently being what they are, whatever is going to happen between now and the end of the year, is going to occur after your "Discovery" step in whatever sales process funnel and CRM you're currently using.  Other than maximizing every hour you can in your calendar and consistently using your exacting value propositions, there's very little that you can do to collapse time given the need to now build your business cases with multiple stakeholders...except in the critical last step of closing the deal.  

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Tags: sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans

Taint nothin'

After teaching yesterday and then attending a customer dinner, I drove here to Vermont late last night to run a 2022 sales planning meeting today.  Just stepping out of the car a bit before midnight with the headlights stretching to light up the barn between the dense fog, the rain and the pitch dark of November, I immediately sensed that in just the two weeks since I had been here last, it had become the Taint Season in Vermont. That very weird time between leaf peeping and skiing when it Taint Winta', Taint Summa', Taint Leaves. Taint Nothin'.

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Tags: sales effectiveness, how to close sales, value propositions, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts

6 High Impact Value Adds to your '22 plans

Super packed weeks now leading up to the Thanksgiving break followed by added intensity on closing the year and delivering solid 2022 business, sales and marketing plans to the board in December. 

Always have as your guide the simple fact that no plan is ever perfect, and that most often, it's the planning process of working together as a team, breaking down the walls and agreeing to focus on customer value which is the most important output.  

At this time of year, we're running two or three planning sessions every week, and I thought that it might be helpful to take a more strategic and less tactical view of the winning value adders we're hearing about and working on this fall.  There's no priority in the following bullets, and I'm very happy to add detail if you want to book some no cost time to discuss. 

  • Increased direct contact with prospects and customers
    We're seeing Sales travel budgets for 2022 are increasing by more than 25% over 2021.  Even though virtual meetings are  much easier than in 2020 and added tech tools are coming on board very quickly, there's an increased push to travel.  Much better planned and sharply limited to who travels, but travel is back especially for C level senior management.  Our best companies are planning that 40% plus  of the CEO's time will spent F2F with customers and prospects. 
  • Formal, more tightly defined WFH hybrid policies 
    20% of our customers have been working fine with no physical office for two years and plan to operate that way in 2022 into 2023.  The best of the others have formal definitions with "shifts" of fixed 3/2 or  2/3 days a week detailed by department.  The more smoothly operating with less personnel conflict problems also have mandatory vaccines policies.  Yes, they have lost some employees, but that is now behind them and hiring plans are in place.
  • Tighter market category, geo and size focus
    If 2019 was "expansion", and 2020 was "hunker down" followed by "caution" in the first six months of 2021, what we are seeing for 2022 is very narrow organic growth definitions on sub-categories of market size, and tighter definitions of geographies.   Cities, not regions or territories.   Redefining "mid-market" on very tight definitions of employee counts/revenue/
  • Sales & Marketing Processes
    More and more fluency and much quicker adoption of formal Sales & Marketing processes anchored in highly integrated CRM and CMS platforms with the top choices being SFDC, MS Dynamics and our personal favorite Hubspot.  Along with these processes, enhanced training and certification requirements for all salespeople.
  • Strategy is nice, but tactics are critical
    A "strategy" example for a primary 2022 initiative might be the adoption of a territory re-alignment or the beefing up the implementation tactics for an existing sales partnership model.  Having said that 90% plus of the planning work we're seeing this fall is execution detailing of the Sales & Marketing basics with fingers-in-the-dirt definitions in the clarity of redefined Sales and Marketing playbooks, templates, and tech tools 
  • Increased focus on speed and agility 
    A question I was asked yesterday in a two-day Sales planning session was "rather than the second week in January, can we get this done by December 6th?  My initial thought, given the huge amount of detailing that now needed to be done, was that "it couldn't be done" , followed in a minute, by "let's work to that date, roll out what we have and fill in the rest of the detailing in early January".   In this case, we will double down on the assignments, and I'll bring in 3 or 4 of my interns do complete the research, the interviews and build out the Hubspot tools.

That's it for this AM working out of Boston's Back Bay this morning with an 8:00 AM start to the second day of our sales process building.  A very exciting company with highly engaged and experienced management razor focused on 2022 objectives with a need to re-architect and build tighter processes and tools while tightening up on increased responsibilities.  Wicked exciting, and just a great way to start the day!

Have a great day selling today!

  

AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me!  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

www.derbymanagement.com

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 

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Tags: sales coaching, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning

What we're hearing about 2022

It's been a very exciting time during the last four months as our 2022 planning ramps with our customers.  What I thought might be helpful is to share with you some of the primary themes we are experiencing in our role as business planning consultants as management gears up for 2022.   The following bullets are not prioritized, plus they come from a wide cross-section of markets covering healthcare, tech, food, industrial commodities, financial services and not-for-profits.  

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Tags: sales producitivity, how to close sales, sales planning meetings, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, writing business plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts

The number is 40ish

Actually, the real number is 39, but I wanted to push, extend, and stretch it to 40, but in the real world of Sales, and more importantly in the world of our customers and prospects, it's impractical to think that we will actually have 40 selling days left in the year.  Definitely 39 but probably only 35 given travel and prep days before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then no experienced salesperson would ever plan on any of those days between Christmas and New Year's as real selling days.  Even if all of the decision makers were working that week, experience has taught us that the forecasted probability of getting all the required signatures from the legal, finance and purchasing departments is lower than low!  

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Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, how to close sales, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

Note today from the beach... Gotta love what you do!

Whenever I can, I start the day with a run on the NH beach. This is a picture from Wednesday morning.   Yea, I know!  Some of you right now are asking...

"Does NH really have a beach?"

And the answer is 14 miles of pristine ocean and sand with some of the best surfing in NE.  This is where I and my brothers grew up as kids, and when our mother wanted to get rid of us, she would tell us to go out and find beach glass and bring her back a present.  Decades later, I still look for beach glass.

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Tags: marketing productivity, Tufts marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, writing sales plans, writing your marketing plan

5 things you need to know about recruiting sales talent

The #1 or #2 issue we hear in all of our 2022 planning sessions this fall is the issue of the difficulty to find and retain talent. 

It is what it is, and we can debate for hours why it's occurring and the surrounding theories of the inflation impact on the economy. but the reality is that...

 

  • it's here, it's been here for 12 months, and we all see and read about it everywhere.
  • it's real, not a bubble, and it's not going away in 2022; maybe in '23 when the world flattens a bit.
  • this is a fundamental shift in the future of work, what represents "the office" and lifestyle
  • we need people now, onboarded and in place in Q1 if we're going to make out '22 numbers

From all of our 2022 planning sessions, what follows below are five non-prioritized tactics that you might want to think about.  Connect with me at any time, and I can walk you through any of the details, or just be a sounding board for best practices.

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Tags: sales enablement, sales tools, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, hiring sales people

Congratulations on finishing the Q on plan!

First, and most importantly this morning is to congratulate you on finishing the Q on plan! 

I never use the word "hopefully on plan", since "hope" has no place in today's fast-paced environment of Sales or Marketing.  It's always great, of course, to be "lucky" every once in a while, but that's like hitting Powerball last Wednesday night or hoping the Patriots win this Sunday, so I'm going to stick with congratulations for finishing the Q on plan!  

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, closing sales, how to close sales, best sales practices;, sales success, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans

So, just what is marketing anyhow?

It's already the third week of my classes at MIT where I teach business planning and marketing, and at Tufts where I teach classes in Marketing and in the "Science of Sales". We're now ready this coming week to jump from knee-deep-testing-the-waters-concepts to full immersion in the reality of my methodology of teaching "Process-Tools-Technology-People & Math" and wrapping those mechanics into the practice of Sales and Marketing.  

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Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, meeting networking, free marketing projects from universities, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts

This year starts right now...

Summa's over, kids are back in school, vacation days are behind us until the end of the year, and we're back at it moving at 100mph, working hard, fingers in the crankcase oil, making sure the machine works perfectly between now and December.   Different from Red above, for me personally, September through December is always the most exciting part of any year, and especially this year:

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Tags: sales coaching, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camps, improving sales productivity, Tufts ELS program, entrepreneurship, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, writing business plans, freedom