10 Lessons for Success from a Serial Entrepreneur!

At the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, in addition to shepherding 450 enthusiastic and curious students a semester among 16 wicked smart professors, I've been focusing on building an event structure throughout the year that leads up to our $100K New Venture Competition in the spring.  Right now, you should Mark April 5th in your calendar and come and participate in what Forbes ranks as one of "The top 15 business plan contests in the country." 

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Tags: Tufts Entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, value propositions, sales leadership, creating trust in sales, sales management plans

The Boys on the Bench...and Marketing

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Oct 11, 2018

Vermont's Marketing in the Fall 

25% of Vermont's tourist dollars come as a result of four weeks during the leaf-peeping season from caravans of busses out the Midwest and outright commercialism of marketing and selling everything that is the essence of Vermont. 
To the left is a picture from last weekend taken from my dirt road 'bout half a mile from my house.  Doesn't get Vermont-better than this in terms of the beauty that is the fall...and the tourist dollars that come rolling in as a result.

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Tags: Tufts Entrepreneurship, creating trust in sales, sales careers, sales management productivity, Sales Hiring Perfectly, value propositions, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts university

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

Jack's 3 Rules for my grads, for Sales & for me

13 Weeks Later @ Tufts

  • I start looking for new sales & marketing projects on 10/01 and 5/1
  • The syllabus w/projects are sent out on 12/26 and 07/05
  • 6 marketing & 4 sales projects for 2 very oversold courses
  • 1 week later, the newbies need to tell me which project and why
  • Bios are circulated to me and teams of 5-6 are formed
  • Reading and research begins 30-45 days before class begins
  • 13 weeks later, complete plans are presented to management

On the last day of the course in the last 15 minutes, I talk about, 'Jack's 3 Rules'

Rule # 1:  Connections are Forever

Make all the connections that you possibly can.  Cherish them.  Treat each of them with extraordinary care.  Store them, use them and communicate to them all of the time in LinkedIn, Twitter, FB and Insta.  Never let those connections go stale and unused!

This week, I met with David K. in my office at Tufts.  Haven't seen David, a brilliant product/market genius, president-level guy in 15 years since we sold EarCheck, a wonderful startup, founded by Sandra Kimball, where I was CEO and Dave was a critical part of our success.  David's daughter is now at Tufts, and he found me when I made some recent noise at Tufts...which I often do, so he stopped by to chat.

Dave and I played the "whatever happened to..." game for 15 minutes, and he mentioned a critical person on our EarCheck team.  While Dave was sitting there, I looked up that person on LI, and we talked about how important our success was due to that person.

Two hours later, I was talking to one of my seniors about a potential job.  She mentioned the company, which seemed very familiar, and then I realized that the familiarity was because I had just pinged the company two hours before when David and I were reminiscing about "whatever happened to?".  My student now has an interview next week with that long lost person, who is the president of that company.

In life, in business, in love and in family, cherish your connections!

Rule # 2: Learning is Consistently Continuous


Each semester-now 20 years at MIT and 10 at Tufts-I realize just how much I don't know. 
At the end of every semester, I tell my students that everything which had been learned over the prior 13 weeks, is on that last day, obsolete.

Whether you're 21 or 33 (the age now of my oldest Tufts alums) or 43 or 53, to be in business at any level, I believe that you must consistently push yourself to learn more, to study more, and to test yourself all of the time. 

I read a book a week, and in the summer often two.  I'm fascinated by the intersection of technology in Healthcare and in Sales and Marketing, and I like nothing more than exploring new apps and platforms. 
My Summer Beach Bag is filling up quickly, and below you will find two new MUST READS if you want to push your own world of Sales & Marketing.

Summer reading

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Tags: Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales plans for 2018, jack derby professor at Tufts, how to write a marketing plan, marketing projects, student intern marketing projects, Tufts marketing projects, sales management effectiveness

Activities, Activities, Activities...and more Sales

 

All about the team, a strong sales culture...and having fun

 I was sitting in a board meeting at Brainshark yesterday and listening to Colleen Honan, the highly experienced and talented Chief Sales Officer, talk about activity planning.  Colleen has all of the background, the years, and the depth of experience to truly be qualified as the head of sales of a leading tech company.  She's disciplined in her approach, fluent in new processes and technology and unrelenting in her approach to sales coaching, sales planning, sales training while  having fun at the same time.  

So when I walked in to the headquarters in Waltham at 7:30 yesterday, I was not surprised to see the salespeople already at work planning out their activities for the day and getting in early morning calls.  I was however, a bit taken back by the fact that one of the leading teams of 20 or so, was dressed in tuxes and gowns.  And then I learned that Colleen had been talking to them about the Gatsby generation, which inspired this very hard working team of classic millennials to dress the part for the day. So very cool...and engaging...and being part cementing the team!

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Tags: sales plans for 2018, sales effectivness, sales management productivity, how to write a sales plan, jack derby professor at Tufts, Sales Hiring Perfectly, sales leadership, interns for marketing projects, Tufts marketing projects

Tufts' $100K Competition...and Sales

-120 applications in November
- Mentor workshops from January to March
- Selection of "The Final 16" in March
- Consistent individual hands-on coaching
- The final judging and awards on April 4th & 5th
- Excitement & disappointment at the same time
- Connections and advice everywhere

A continuous learning experience!

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Tags: Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales plans for 2018, sales management productivity, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales planning meetings, Tufts ELS, sales producitivity, Sales Best Practices

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

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 plans for 2018, sales effectivness, sales management productivity, jack derby professor at Tufts, Making Tough Choices, sales leadership, entrepreneurship, Sales Leadership in the Revolution

Intersections, Connections, & More Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Nov 01, 2017

I live & work at the intersections of...

  • The Company:
    At the firm, we work diligently to bring 25% jumps in Sales and Marketing productivity to our clients.
  • Tufts University:
    Teaching the science, tools, technology and metrics of Marketing and Sales.
    Most importantly, the teaching content of these courses is wound around 16 projects from real companies each year:  6 Marketing Plan projects in the spring, and 6 in the fall, plus 4 Sales Plan projects in the spring.  As a result, I am always looking for new companies, which is the purpose of this blog...more in a couple of paragraphs
  • Jobs Creation: 
    Connecting Tufts students to great jobs and opportunities!

    This service began when a few students (Emerging Jumbos) would get hired by their marketing and sales project companies during the semester.  Then, this process of creating connections easily expanded and quickly multiplied because I was able to open doors at companies like Hubspot, Brainshark, Fidelity, Amazon, Google, LinkedIn, Silicon Valley Bank, Facebook, Oracle, NetSuite, Microsoft, and tens and tens of other "Great Places to Work". 

    Of course, that initial seeding of my alums into those companies has over the years led to lots of semi-annual calls from me that start with "Hi, I need a favor and could you give some guidance to one of my current students." 
  • Everyone of my alums knows the deal when they get that first job...it's time to pay back, and at some time, they will get "I need a favor call".

    The whole process works, and it has two wonderful consequences. 

    1.  It opens doors that would otherwise be closed or, at best, would be very difficult to open. 

    2. It keeps me in constant contact with my alums in their career journeys

    So, I was very pleased to receive last week, from Emani Holyfield, who now works in HR at Google (and is one of "My Personal Best Tufts Team" !) this video on The 8 Laws of Branding by Brian Tracy.  

    Brian Tracy (just a bit slow in his speech, but the guy is a genius and is well worth listening to for the full 8 minutes) focuses not on the generalities of "branding", but brings the meaning of this complex marketing word down to the street level of just what it takes for each of us to create great "Personal Brands". 
    This is just an excellent framework for anyone:  student, intern, upcoming 2018 graduate, and also for the more experienced salesperson or manager looking to open that next chapter in their journey.

    Ok, so now "The Pitch" 

Remember those 10 companies I need for the upcoming spring semester? 
6 Marketing Plan projects and 4 Sales Plan projects! 

This is a picture of our 2017 "Art & Science of Sales" Team, held only in the spring. (I teach at MIT in the fall and can't juggle three courses).  They totally knocked the cover off the ball this year!

What's the Value for You?
We're looking for complex marketing and sales projects from real companies in a variety of markets.  What you receive is a trained consulting team of five or six juniors and seniors working for 13 weeks to provide everything from full marketing or sales plans with detailed research and implementable recommendations to whatever sub segments of a full plan that you might need for 2018. Some smaller companies come to us for full marketing or sales plans, while others want to focus on a specific product or a new market. 

What's the Value for the Students? 
- They learn "on the job", and at the street level, the realities of Marketing and Sales
- They take classroom academics and apply that content to the reality of increasing sales  
- They interface frequently with management which builds their skills and confidence

So, if you are at all interested, just email me at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I will send you the detailed instructions on how to apply. 

It is a superb opportunity with hundreds of satisfied companies and graduate!

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales plans, marketing plans, Tufts ELS program, Tufts Gordon Institute, Tufts marketing projects, jack derby professor at Tufts