Winhall VT, the New York Times & a world of change

I heard from many of our blog subscribers about last week's NYT article on my tiny Vermont town of Winhall. [The Virus Sent Droves to a Small Town. Suddenly, It’s Not So Small. ]

- A very human and objectively correct article

- Filled with real facts about the boom in real estate 

- Yes, Scott, a very good friend, is  "One Cranky Dude"

- Yes, lots of change...all very healthy change for VT. 

Scott Bushee, a solid 6th generation Vermonter, is the supervisor of Winhall’s transfer station (do not use the phrase "town dump" around Scott), spent the summer training all of the newcomers in recycling. “The minute you come through that gate, you’re in Scott’s country,” he said. “I’m the dictator here.”  Scott is also the Town Moderator. and he runs the annual town meetings with the same level of practical, no-nonsense, direct-talk that he does everywhere...including his FB posts. We could have used him the other night as the moderator of the most embarrassing management debacle ever.  

Scott's a 6th generation Vermonter, just like me, and I could hear his Vermont accent when I read in The Times...“Now you’ve got to deal with Vermonters,” he said. “They will tell you straight up. I try to do it as politely as I can, but if you push the envelope, things are going to go sideways because right now the closest word I can tell you is it's sheer pandemonium.”

I'm in Winhall this morning, where it's a balmy 50 out by the barn, and what I've seen during the summa' because of the emigration out of NY and CT is that...

  • there are zero houses for sale other than the worst teardowns and even those have bids
  • Mike, my broker for my "extra five acres" of land up on the ridge is getting lots of calls
  • the post office ran out of available P.O. boxes in mid-June.
  • electricians and plumbers are booked until Christmas.
  • a simple pane of glass for the window broken by my lawn guys took 8 weeks to replace
  • complaints about bears have quadrupled.  

All of which represents change, and from my perspective, very healthy change in a town and in a state that has been eroding for years.  Yes, Vermont is very picturesque, and yes, that smell of fresh cut hay in early July and the perfect photo of fall leaves taken out by the dairy farm is all very wonderful, but the harsh reality of the real Vermont is that it's a tough place to live, and an even tougher place to find good jobs.

  • Drive 10 miles out of the ski towns, and you're in rural America with a declining population
  • Other than retail, and those jobs are now disappearing, real, good-wage jobs are non-existent
  • Drug addiction has been declared an epidemic by two governors with no sign of abatement
  • Energy costs are the highest in the US save for Hawaii 
  • Don't get me started on senators Leahy & Sanders, neither of whom do much for VT.

Bottom line of any small town and of any small business, new people bring new ideas and vitality.  New ideas create new businesses and new jobs.  New jobs bring money and the flywheel keeps turning.  

With new families moving into the town doubling the size of the local school population (which had been declining for a decade plus) and bringing new ideas, new energy and new dollars into a fragile economy, this change in Winhall is very positive creating a new sense of vitality and experimentation that comes only from new young families.  

“It’s hard to know who is living in what house,” said Ms. Elanor Grant, 50, who is also Winhall’s treasurer, registrar of deeds, tax collector and presiding officer of elections. 

She is also the ex-wife of Mr. Bushee. It is an amicable divorce; recently, when a wasp became lodged in his ear canal, she rushed over to his house with tweezers.

...only in Vermont!

 


Embrace the Opportunity 

Absolutely, the chaos created as a result of Covid has been and continues to be a disaster.  We know what to do to protect ourselves, our families and our employees, and we're also fact-based enough to know that this problem will continue deep into 2021. The harsh reality of the virus was brought to the forefront in the early hours of this morning with the announcement of the president and first lady testing positive.  

We're facing a long winter ahead, and from the perspective of our own businesses, we now need to focus on what we can control and bring our positive energy, our expertise and our innovation to the forefront of what we are doing every day for the balance of this new quarter.

Winhall is never "going back" and neither will the professions of Sales & Marketing 

  • Many of the age-old tactics of Sales & Marketing have been out of touch with customers and prospects for years.  In B2B tech sales we've known for years that 70ish% of prospective buyers have reported that their first meeting (both phone calls and F2F meeting) with a salesperson was a waste of time, and that they would never take another call or meeting.  And yet salespeople have continued to relentlessly batter down the doors with more and more blind emails and cold calls that make a used-car salesperson look good by comparison.  
  • Sales & Marketing success today is all about demonstrating customer value.  Unless our sales and marketing messaging and outreach tools can demonstrate fundamental financial value to both prospects and customers, we're just an unnecessary interruption in an environment where no one anymore has any extra time or desire to listen to yet another empty statement which is focused on the seller's table and not the buyer's.
  • Live trade shows are gone forever.  We've been trying to kill this antiquated time-sink of energy and money for decades, and the stats have told us for all of those decades that the cost per lead was 10X the cost of any other form of marketing, but we've continued to play the trade show game.  Maybe it was because we were afraid what our competitors would say when we didn't show up, or that we often used that same time for training our salespeople since they all felt that they needed to be in the booth.  Very simply, no one is going back to live trade shows ever!  Virtual trade shows and conferences, sure, but physical meetings?  Who would take that life and death risk?  Remember that the infections from the Biogen conference in Massachusetts in February started from just one person and has now been traced to over 20,000 direct infections.

Like Scott Bushee and Eleanor Grant and the 769 residents of Winhall, embrace the change, figure out the new opportunities that this time provides and experiment with new marketing and sales tactics during the next 60 days as you now turn your attention to closing Q4 and the year ahead of plan...still plenty of time to do that! 

I'm headed out to the general store for a breakfast sandwich before my 9:00 AM sales meeting this morning !  


 

Have a great day selling today as we push forward into embracing the changes of this fall and Q4

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 will 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 and marketing best practices, sales management effectiveness, business planning, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, entrepreneurship, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness

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

Slow down, reduce the lanes & focus!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 26, 2020

I happened to be talking to a friend of mine, Paul Kelly, President of Berkshire Bank, yesterday about...what else...Sales, of course, and he provided a very interesting perspective to approaching his sales process during these times of unknowns.  Notice I just used the phrase "times of unknowns" since "chaotic" is too depressing and "new normal/abnormal" has become too much of a trite label, All we do know right now is that we will be in this "time of unknowns" for at least the next six and probably twelve months.  Nothing we can do in our day-day-day is going to change the overall environment, but determined and innovative managers like Paul, who focus on positivity, motivation and specific marketing and sales tactics, impact sales at their companies every week. 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales enablement, sales management training, how to close sales, 2020 sales plans

Would you...could you...Free Solo?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 05, 2020

Last night, I watched the documentary about the climber Alex Honnold, who is the star of Free Solo, the documentary about his ascent of El Capitan that won an Oscar last year.  

El Cap is a 3,000ft sheer rock face in Yosemite, California, and he climbed it without a rope.

Although Alex is known in the public eye as a free solo-ist, most climbing he does takes place on a rope. He typically won’t free solo a difficult route until it’s been thoroughly rehearsed while attached to one.

So that’s what makes this photo here fun...and of course, here he’s roped in.

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management training, selling skills, sales training, Making Tough Choices, sales management productivity, sales readiness

No more Joey BagaDonuts

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, May 27, 2020

When I first began as a rookie salesperson, I had just been promoted to be president of the medtech company where I had moved up through the ranks from manufacturing and engineering and then to the corner office.  I had never sold anything and had zero understanding of what marketing did other than knowing they spent a ton of money on trade shows, conferences and producing whitepapers.  The second week into the job, our number two sales guy, Alan, showed up in my office and suggested that we take a sales trip together to his largest hospital in NYC.  A great guy...strong numbers, very affable, bright-but in a folksy kind of way- and a very hard worker.   I still remember that first call:

 

#1 lesson from Alan was to dress down from the plaid suit.  😎
#2 was to go in the hospital on the 2nd shift since it was less hectic and quieter. 
#3 was to bring a box of donuts to the nurses since they knew what was really going on.
#4 was to understand that knowledge was power, and the currency was just being human.

 

Today, we would term that process a "Discovery Call", and we would put it into the second step in our sales process funnel and allocate specific tools and checklists to the Discovery call wrapping all of that up in Hubspot CRM technology that would automatically remind us in three days after the call with follow up tasks and templates to complete.  Yes, it's mechanical, efficient, and highly disciplined, and, yes, it's not very human by itself, but it works.  The secret to successful sales is to add personality and trust to any sales process that's full of steps and metrics. 

 

Which is better-sales process or the human touch?

Alan was just a superb salesguy!  Always #1 or #2 in a team of 50 plus salespeople.  He had a superb memory and a built-in innate ability to drive sales "The Alan Way", and as a result he had his own process down to a science.  That's the good news. 

The unsettling news was that no one else could sell "The Alan Way" since his process came down to style on the attributes side of things and his own selling skills on the process side of the equation.  Plus, although he had a huge geographic territory, he only focused his time in the density of two very concentrated cities and then further pinpointed those to the specific hospitals where he knew exactly what was going to happen in in terms of replacement products given his closeness to the nurses using donuts as his currency   The bottom line in his "Streets-not-States" strategy was that by focusing on only 5% of the available hospitals in his entire geography, he always got to whatever the bonus number was above 100% of his quota. 

The majority of us are not Alan, nor do we have his discipline, so people like me need to "resort" to our "Process & Tools & Technology & People" solution to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks...and because I just don't the whole Joey BagaDonuts approach. 

The Joeys who are still in the sales game also do not have the skills or the style that Alan had...all they have are the donuts.  As a result, they rely on stupid and affrontive emails like this one below that I just received yesterday:  
Hello Mr. Derby,   I hope you're having a great Tuesday.
My name is xxx xxx, and I'm the CEO at xxx.  We are a new member of xxx. While browsing the member directory I came across your profile highlighting your company and wanted to make a brief introduction about our solutions.  We are a cost reduction and profit improvement company. We have had significant success working with venture capital, investment banking firms, private equity groups, and consulting firms seeking to create equity value within their portfolios or for their clients.  Attached are a few case studies of those successes. After doing some research, I'm interested in finding out more about your company. I look forward to hearing from you.

That's definitely a Joey BagaDonuts email, but unfortunately it came without the donuts! 

Just another example of a worthless marketing and a sales approach so bad, that I just had to blog about it this morning.  Messaging like this is especially affrontive now in this time of chaos when it's even more critical for all of us to focus on what it takes to provide true customer value while never using the words, "trust me on this!"

Right now, all of us are trying to figure out what the new rules for both Sales and for Marketing will be for whatever the new normal will be in 2021. 

  • Today, there is no new normal, just 60-day sales tactics focused on survival. 
  • First, we need to hit this month's number on Friday.
  • Second, we need to get to July 4th and then take a long weekend-breather.
  • Third, only then can we spend time figuring out what it takes to get to Labor Day. 
  • Around that time, we should then know enough to begin to write the new rules for 2021. 

Have a great day selling today, tomorrow and Friday!

TUFTS FALL SEMESTER MARKETING PROJECTS

At Tufts where I'm a professor teaching Marketing in the Entrepreneurship Center, I am now actively looking for marketing projects for the fall semester. Yes, we will be teaching in the fall with a blended mix of video and visual content, distance learning and F2F-socially-distanced mechanics.  All safe-all the time!

The manner in which I teach is based on my practice of "Content in Context", where I and my guest lecturers provide the clinical teaching content and the real-life experience which is then taught within the structure of six teams of juniors and seniors delivering fully developed marketing plans to their host companies at the end of the semester.  The companies range from established startups with revenue to mid-size corporations.  The projects are often full marketing plans for the company or a marketing plan for the launch of a new product or service.

The results over the years have been just excellent both for the students and for their companies, and, for a couple of reasons, this semester's results were the best ever...just over the top.  Right now, I'm taking applications for next fall's course, so if you're interested, just connect with me by email at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I will set up a quick call to review the logistics with you and send you an outline of the program.  All of the applications need to be in no later than June 19th.  The syllabus and the projects go out to the students on July 5th.    

 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board management coaching or for Sales or Marketing stuff, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener.  Obviously, no cost, just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

Be safe, be positive and enjoy today and have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

 

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management coach, sales effectiveness, Sales quota, best sales practices;, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, 2020 sales plans

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

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, Tufts marketing projects, Tufts ELS program, Tufts Gordon Institute, marketing plans, jack derby professor at Tufts

Think of Sales Activities as a Balance of the Old & the New

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, May 05, 2017

I was on the Acela yesterday morning on the way to NYC, when I started to write this.  Took the 5:05 out of the Back Bay and ended up at Penn Station perfectly on time, only to fight my way out on the street to get to my account.  Thank God for Uber, which made the logistics of the day a perfect blend between "Old & New" !
The Acela run is always one of my favorite trips since I love trains, and I always look forward to working with this particular client on their very challenging long-term strategies. 

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales management boot camps, improving sales productivity

Plan for Success in Sales:  Teach, Coach & Certify

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Apr 21, 2017

 

It all comes down to 50 minutes

In life, in Sales, and in teaching, there are always deadlines. 

Wednesday, one of those deadlines was evidenced in 50 minute final exam presentations days at Tufts.  After 12 weeks of content in the brand new Sales course and in the nine-year-old Marketing course, Wednesday was the day when the first two teams of Sales students and the three teams of Marketing students presented their findings, reams of research and their detailed sales and marketing recommendations to the management of their project companies. 

We'll do the same thing to the same rhythm next Wednesday, and then another semester will be over.  During the summer, I'll spend a big chunk of time on the beach refining and re-calibrating for the fall semesters at Tufts and at MIT, where I've had the privilege of working with Professor Chun for almost 20 years.  For me, all of this is a lot of fun, a fair amount of hard work and always some level of anxiety, which keeps me on the competitive edge, which is exactly why I teach...since I continue to believe that I'm just a student of the very exciting worlds of sales and marketing.

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales training

U Gotta Love U for the Next 20 Hours

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Mar 30, 2017

Here we are in the final 20 hours of the quarter. Maybe 10 today, certainly 10 tomorrow, and then it's over with the turn of the digital page as we rush into April on Monday morning

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, improving sales productivity