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'.
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!
1 thing Covid has done is to dramatically change my sleep & work patterns:
- Pre-Covid it was bed by 8 or 9, up at 3:30, car into Boston, gym at 5, go to work
- Now, bed by 10, up at 5, Peloton downstairs, walk beach, work at 7 at the house
Tags: sales effectiveness, sales planning, improved sales management, how to close sales, sales management boot camps, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts
I enjoy receiving the HBR's "Management Tips of the Day" around 7:00 AM every morning. First, I've been an avid reader of everything HBR ever since my first job as a purchasing expeditor at Honeywell, and second, it's one of those instant pop-ups that takes 10 seconds to read and often stimulates an idea or two. My initial reaction was the headline that I then wrote for this blog since most probably none of us have ever worked in a 9-to-5 environment... certainly not as salespeople, certainly not as entrepreneurs, and most probably just never in any position at any company we've worked in.
With the Olympics underway, what do you think?
As I listen to some people this week, the feedback I too often hear seems to focus on the surrounding negatives of Covid, the cost, the lack of attendance and the decline in viewership...all of these external factors which, in the real world of the athletes, have nothing to do with the extraordinary athleticism that is taking place.
It's been a superb summa' so far. Rain or shine, I don't really care; all I know is that any day from May through September beats February in Vermont!
A typical week has me working from NH the first half of the week and then mid-Wednesday afternoons I take the red summa' car to let the ponies run on the three hour drive to Vermont. I typically work from the VT house for the balance of the week returning to the NH beach at some point depending on the weatha'.
This time of year, in between Zoom and Team calls, I've been ankle-deep in the dirt and last weekend's mud in the gardens in both NH and Vermont planting, cutting and weeding. It's good for the soul and my hyper-sense of organization to be able to dive into the deep end of the mud and "get er done" no matter what the weather...or the business...forecast is.
- Right here at the beginning of June, our Q2 business forecast is looking pretty good among all of our clients now working through the details to end with a robust close to the quarter. Concerns about supply lines and labor unknowns are obviously top of mind, but business forecasts in general seem to be solid for the next four weeks.
- When I got in the car last night to drive from Boston to Vermont for a day of morning meetings and garden work this afternoon, the weather forecast also looked pretty good, and I planned my calls and meetings for the day around that forecast. Early this AM, it's a raw 55 degrees and pouring rain, but somehow the outside work still needs to be completed between lawyer calls at 10, a weekly Team meeting at 11 and a F2F 3:00 new client meeting this afternoon.
Bottom line is that weather forecasts change all the time, and of course, we have zero control, but yet, the work still needs to be completed. Business plans and sales forecasts go through just as many variations as the unknowns of the weather, but at the end of a week like today and the end of the quarter in less than four weeks, sales quotas still need to be met and operating plans and product commitments completed just as we forecasted.
As anyone who has seen my Vermont woodlot, everything is "neat & tidy" especially in the spring and summa'. That organization allows me ready access to a season's worth of kindling and two of the four cords of wood I burn every winter.
Having everything organized and "in its place" is the way I work out in the woods and also in my management consulting work since that level of organization allows me to have "extra time" when the weather changes or in the case of work, unexpected client speed bumps occur.
Every day, every week, I work through a series of mini-plans at least in my head and most often in writing.
-Days start early before the sun and begin with a fountain pen and new yellow-ruled sheet of paper.
-I bullet down in a word or two the tasks needed for the company and for Tufts in two columns
Last week, I mentioned that Brian Bresee, an alum from our marketing course, and now Hubspot's North America's Director of Partnership Sales, provides a lecture every semester starting with an outline of Inbound Marketing.
Brian and I met 11 years ago at Tufts, became friends with a common love of being on the Vermont snow. After graduating, he worked for one of my companies as a BDR, moving to Hubspot 10+ years ago and has become a highly valued Tufts Lecturer in my courses for the last 8 years. Brian provides content and Hubspot platforms for our course and has become a coach for numbers of my students who want to move into a sales role. Same way that I coached Brian a decade ago, which is all about giving back to our Tufts students through our alums.
Brian masterfully brings the strategy of Inbound right down to the reality of teaching the specifics of blogging to junior and seniors who have marketing plans to deliver to real companies in just 10 weeks from now.
For me, having been a writer of books, newsletters, magazine and newspaper articles and now blogs, I know that blogging is one of the most important tactical tools in any marketer's toolbox. In fact, prior to 2018, when video content began to rise and then just exploded in use in 2020, blogs led the list as the most heavily used media tool
At Tufts where I'm a professor for two courses-"Entrepreneurial Marketing" and "The Science of Sales", a decade plus later, I have the luxury of bringing back our alums from these courses who are now experts in their own fields at their companies to teach portions of our 13 week semesters.