Does structure influence results?

The final Tufts six presentations from my marketing course were completed last Friday.   Six companies provided individual marketing projects, with five to six students assigned to a team back in July so everyone hit the ground running in September.

  • "just extraordinary",
  • "over the top",
  • "far-surpassed expectations"
...were a few of the phrases voiced most importantly by the senior management of our six host companies. 
Each of the management teams of the six companies actually provide 40% of the overall course grade for the semester. Now, this weekend I and my TAs will work through the very difficult job of grading 32 students.

Being a student or being a salesperson is always about the bottom-line reality of how many points go on the scoreboard.  Right now, before I work through the math of the actual grading, it would appear, based on the customer feedback, that there will be an overabundance of "A"s.  In addition to the actual grading, I am very pleased that two of our project companies this semester have provided job offers to three students.   

During one of the debriefs last Friday following their presentation, I asked the six-person team, who worked on the marketing plan for a $40m company looking at a new market, what defined the success of this project for them, and I was struck by the maturity and the exacting management behavior that they expressed.  So, I thought I would share this this morning for you to assess your work during these final two weeks of the year.

  
"Structure influenced our behavior" 

- "Since no one on the team knew another when we began, we defined up front who would do what and what the team and our individual responsibilities would be."
- "We agreed to strict daily and weekly timelines since we knew the reality to deliver a marketing plan in 13 weeks."
- "Yea, we elected a Team Captain, but we all agreed to complete responsibility for the project as a team."


"We committed to rAPID Group Knowledge"!

  • "We agreed to making sure that all six of us knew "everything about everything" so that there were no islands of knowledge. Yes, primary responsibilities were centered in individuals, but we agreed that "Group Knowledge" was most important especially for our research work and for our customer discovery with the company's prospects and customers."
  • "We used a strategy of writing down content quickly that we discovered and also we created as "a stream of consciousness" not caring much about making it formal with punctuation or format."
  • "We used Google Drive and avoided Slack and Teams because Google was just more personally comfortable and immediate for us individually."  
  • "We operated in frequent short sprints with no long meetings until the end" 

"We created Connective Tissue"

  • "Space, time and location were unimportant in our virtual team, and being online virtually actually worked much better than needing to get together physically
  • "Time was now...all the time."
  • "We formally scheduled customer meetings at the same time every single week"
  • "We completed exhaustive discovery up front repeating the same questions again and again until we came to very detailed answers which led to very detailed objectives"

 

As a professor, I always learn as much as I teach! 

I've thought about these comments all week.  The maturity and the sophistication of the basic, but hard things that make a project or one's quota not only achievable, but highly attainable and successful.  This morning as we look out over the remaining 12 days of December, I thought that some of these best practices of managing against the clock and to the project or to your quota might prove useful.  For other ideas, check out our site for tactics at... https://www.derbymanagement.com/sales-productivity

 

Have a great day selling Today...12 days left!

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.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, sales coach, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, Tufts marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, sales readiness

Lessons from a Tufts alum on making the best presentations!

I've had the privilege of teaching at MIT and Tufts for 20 and 15 years respectively. The experience...

  • Blends in perfectly with my other passion of consulting in sales, marketing and business planning
  • Reminds me of just how much I still do not know, and my requirement to be a life-long student
  • Provides me with continuing opportunities to catch up with and engage my alums.
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Tags: sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales jobs, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, value propositions, jack derby professor at Tufts

Tufts Stuff... Marketing projects & jobs opportunities


With teaching every Wednesdays at Tufts, I always have a process (should not be surprising to anyone who knows me) to making sure that everything is in place since I well know by now that both time and students are unforgiving.

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Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

The business of business...

With the end of the month, and my last day of selling activity for October, I'm reminded this morning of the business of every business...no matter what it is....even if it's coffee. 

As I started this morning with inches of snow on the ground and what will be many cups of Keurig Sumatra Dark Roast during the day today, I'm drawn to think about the value and therefore the marketing, the selling and the pricing of coffee.  I had the unique opportunity years ago to work with the Keurig team of entrepreneurs and the initial investors when they were just starting the company figuring out the market, the various sales channels and hiring their first experienced head of sales. Lots of hard work, very exciting on-the-ground and in-the-weeds entrepreneurship which led to an exceptional growth opportunity. 

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Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, sales success, value propositions, how to write a sales plan, sales readiness, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

Ben Franklin...the original blogger

Yes, it's the end of a week, and right in line with our weekly Friday morning blog, and since it's been a blogging kind of week, I thought that I would share a couple of insights into why we consider blogging the most critical #1 Inbound Marketing tool!   

First, some basic definition, and although I live in an Inbound Marketing world and personally love blogging, I frequently get asked "just what is a blog?".  More often than not, I find out that the vast majority of small and mid-size companies don't blog at all...although a senior manager I might be talking to "has been thinking about it" for some time.

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Tags: marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, marketing planning, bloggingacriticaltool

Who are your most valuable salespeople?

Darn cold at 29 last Saturday out by the Vermont barn. Jumped on the ATV to work through the woods and get up to the pond where I noticed that the swamp maples were already turning even though the big foliage week is still a couple of weeks from now.  Always good for the Vermont economy when leaf-peeping ties into a long weekend.

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World

today is just a finite fraction in the infinity of time

Think about it!

  • Monday morning, the 20th of July.  One day among 365.  202 down with 164 to go.
  • Just one day in a decade or in 100 years or in millennia since Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
  • Time is always non-stop and always represented by change.
  • The concept of time is self-evident, but we rarely think about the fundamental nature of time...

...until of course, we run out of time!.

What this pandemic is teaching us is the fragility of time.  We see it, we sense it, and now we always live it in both our personal and work lives. We live in an ever-expanding bubble of time listening to the daily chants of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and, as a result, we're much more aware of time now than we were six months ago. We anticipate it and we watch it carefully in our Zoom calls.  More than ever, we constantly try to balance our own time with a myriad of new demands that we never ever considered before like "should we send our kids back to school?" and "what are the safest hours to go to Market Basket?"

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, sales readiness

11,000 Species of Ants, Just 3 Sales Persona Rules

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Nov 10, 2017

Only if you're a Myrmecologist...

11,000 species is a bit of worthless trivia...unless, of course, you're a myrmecologist, a scientist specializing in ants...

...which, of course is a sub-specialist of being an entemologist, who is a scientist who studies the very broad category of all insects. 



So, who cares? 

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, marketing effectiveness, how to write a sales plan, sales personas, sales effectivness

11/3/17 Marketing Lessons:Pricing-Adoption-Brand & Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Nov 04, 2017

Teaching Marketing at Tufts... 

  • A consistent search for real life Marketing & Sales Plan projects for my students
  • 5-6 person teams work for 13 weeks on complex marketing and sales plan assignments
  • All of our academic content is woven into these assignments from real companies
  • I teach the tools; company management provides the real life experiences

The results are very positive and dynamically exciting from everyone involved

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Tags: sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, marketing effectiveness, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, sales management plans, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning, sales management productivity

The Definitive Guide to Selling Better & Faster

Posted by John Routhier on Tue, Sep 12, 2017

To scale your business, you have to turn a trickle of sales into a steady, predictable stream of revenue. But that’s much easier said than done.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, marketing effectiveness, HubSpot Tips, Inboound