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

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

Leaf Peepin' in Vermont...it's the season

Vermont Rules

As you know, I love Vermont and spend about 30% of my time working from there with more time on the weekends doing what every Vermonter does: shovel snow, rake leaves, tend my woodlot and plant gardens.  Plus, every time I'm there, including this weekend, I always take some time out to admire the unique beauty of Vermont by walking down to the river or just looking across to the now-turning leaves on the other side of the pond just up the road a piece.

Six generations of my family before me were born and lived in this same valley, and although I call myself "a Vermonter", I always leave out the fact that I was born and lived my early years in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.  Maybe I'm "a-kind-of Vermonter" since I've lived in this same valley for 50 years, but I do know my place in that I am not "a true Vermonter".   Those are Vermont Rules!

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Tags: sales planning, sales success, sales effectivness, writing business plans, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning

The Dog Days of Summa'

For me, it's been a superb summa' even given this weekend's hurricane, the heat of August, the rains of July and the unsettling anticipation of what lies ahead when we return/don't return to offices and classrooms in a couple of weeks.  After all...it's the summa, and no matter who we are, or pretend to be, every summa brings all of us back to memories of time off from school, the rigors of multiple jobs, loves started and hearts broken,  and always the anticipation of gearing up for the faster, more demanding time of September.  And this September accelerating into this Q4 will not be any different !

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Tags: sales tools, sales training, how to close sales, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts

...just plain ol' Vermont grit

Vermont is a tiny state with a very diverse grouping of residents.  I'm not talking here about the 13 "gold towns" inappropriately named by an infamous prior governor who overtaxed the flatlanders who came to VT to ski.  I'm also not talking about Burlington where 50% of the population lives. To know the real Vermont, one needs to get down into the dirt and understand their own grit and exceptionally hard work. 

When one takes a look at the stats, it almost defies logic of why the state even exists...except for grit.

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Tags: sales coaching, sales plan process, sales management boot camp, how to close sales, Tufts marketing projects, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

ya gotta love what you do...

With Valentine's Day Sunday, I find myself once again in the woods of Vermont this morning with a -4 degree temp and "yet-another-dusting" of four inches.  Just enough that it will ice unless attacked by "Big Orange", my brand new 30" Ariens delivered by the superb sales guys up the road a piece at Brown Enterprises.   For variety, I work out of the NH beach Monday through Wednesday, drive to Boston following Wednesday's Tufts class, check on the now-vacant office, pick up the mail and then drive to VT. 

I work here in VT on Thursdays and Fridays...and then, depending on the weatha' for the weekend, stay or leave.  I love the variety of the rural VT woods and the NH sand.  It's my own
own stress-reducer keeping my head screwed on and the entire weekly process reaffirms my love of what I do.

 

After 30+ years of management consulting including 20+ of teaching at MIT and Tufts, I have the opportunity to work with the management of hundreds of companies every year and hundreds of both students and alums at both universities.  I love the work, the challenges, the extraordinary variety of both problem solving and creating new sales opportunities along with the inherent management coaching that goes along with it.  This is all I do, and I can't imagine doing anything else except a little snowboarding in the winta' (but not this year) and surfing in the summa'

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Tags: entreprenurial, marketing productivity, business coaching, how to close sales, sales success, sales effectivness

Zen & the science of snowblowing

The interesting and good news about selling in 2021...

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Tags: Sales Optimization, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans

Just one word this morning...

"Connections"

I guess on the day before Christmas, I could wish for world peace, freedom from all hatred, an ability to embrace diversity at all levels and, of course the best health for you, your families, your friends and your employees...and, of course, I do hope for all of that.

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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales success, sales effectivness, connections

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

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