Over the long weekend of the 4th, I listened to two threads of stories...
This morning I'm thinking very differently about the words "a long hard slog", and looking at this business environment not as a world of chaos and interruption, but as one of creating a much more simplified process that creates a much straighter line between "start" and "purchase".
We've all heard this phrase- "focus only on what you can control"- numerous times now over the last 10 chaotic weeks. This Monday morning I'm merely suggesting that we give it a solid 60 minutes of detailed thinking during this week bringing the clouds of buzz in that phrase down to the streets of reality with a small number of carefully planned activities that we can totally control.
3 critical baselines we can totally control:
- Our Personal Health:
Most importantly, focus on your personal health and the health of your families! That's always Job #1 and that by itself will take us through this chaos! Once our own health and that of our family is solid and has been locked down, then we can figure out everything else.
Since by now everyone understands the basics of what it takes to remain healthy, I'm recommending ramping up those basics 2X over the next four months. Keeping ourselves healthy during the heat of this summer will be very difficult to say the least. For a solid example of what it means to ramp up the basics, take a look at leading healthcare and certified nursing advocate, Jenn Loughty's hand washing site!
Our Business Health:
Ramping up the basics of our business health was outlined perfectly last week by my good friend, noted author and acclaimed speaker, Jamie Turner in his 60SecondMarketer blog on
"7 Strategies to help your business get through the crisis." Definitely a worthwhile read!
This is stuff we already kinda' know, but now's the time to ramp it up 2X ...and squash the curve!
- Our Sales & Marketing Processes:
We can totally control the necessary pivots to our Sales and Marketing processes and the tools that we're using right now in Q2. We obviously can't "control" our actual sales results...couldn't before and certainly can't now..., but we can totally control what "Activities" we're planning and executing!
For years I've been a student of strategy and business planning, and this simple graphic has always been a solid guide to center me when I'm working with our clients. In today's world of planning what we will be doing in marketing and sales, this is not a time when we should be focused on either vision or strategies. This is a time to be laser focused on the next 90 days with everything riveted on the tactical execution of activities.
If there is a strategy, it is to survive, and survival is about executing battlefront activities!
Does it make sense?
This is a very simple question to ask ourselves in our week-by-week and month-by-month battle planning of activities between now and the 4th of July since at the latest you should not be planning out further than that.
Get down to the street level and go through an analytical thought process of sense-making by yourself and ideally with your sales & marketing team.
Get your head out of the clouds of strategic planning and ask yourself "Does it make sense?" as you focus on the activities necessary to sell to customers in mini-territories of streets and not states and you launch Inbound-Only Marketing campaigns to one industry and not five.
- Our Sales Forecasting:
We've now been living in this increasing chaos of the unknown for about eight weeks, and I continuously hear questions like I heard on a webinar I was on last Monday week with the amazing Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
- The question was asked by a head of sales: "How do I forecast in these times?"
- Me: "Plan out only 4 weeks!". (2 weeks ago, it was 2 weeks.)
- He: "My boss wants to see a forecast out to December"
- Me: "Just say no. Plan out 4 weeks listing 5 assumptions. In 2 weeks, do 4 more.
- Me: "Focus 95% of your time on your current customers!
- Me: "Focus 100% on your value propositions & not on your products"
Sales Management Boot Camp: May 12th & 13th
"Successfully Managing Sales in Chaotic Times"
If you want to understand what it takes to successfully manage, sell, train, ramp up and forecast in these chaotic times, work with us online in a highly engaged, hands-on Sales Management Boot Camp!
- Two three & a half hour team sessions on the mornings of May 12th and 13th
- One-on-one Coaching Sessions on May 14th
- We actively engage everyone in our unique strategy of "Process-Tools-Technology & People".
- We dive deep into real-life tactics that you can start using immediately the next week.
- We focus on developing street-level playbooks of Activity Plans.
Now, we're bringing that expertise online with the same level of deep practicality and active engagement that's resulted in hundreds of notes of thanks from managers and presidents of both large corporations and mid-market companies covering a wide range of markets.The primary coaches will be George Simmons and me, with guest speakers featuring Colleen Honan, CSO of Brainshark and James Stone, Director of Mid-Market Sales at Hubspot. Two leading mid-market companies focused on sales and marketing productivity with two highly successful sales execs who have figured out how to adapt and sell in this period of unknowns.
Click here for more details and then just connect directly with me for any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will set up a call with you right away and get you registered!
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board, just connect at any time. Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call.
Obviously, no cost-just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
Have a safe and positive week !
Professor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
-The Science of Sales
The rhythm of the seasons...Taint spring yet
I was reminded yesterday of the inevitable rhythm of the seasons both in VT and in the world of Sales. It seems that for some yet unknown reason, a decision has been made to redo the kitchen in Vermont. Not that I was consulted or even asked in this decision process, but I was told that a decision had been made all the same. Given this, I reached out to my friend Steve at Homestead, the company up at the end of the road a piece that does the plowing in the winta', the lawn in the summa' and basically everything else from landscaping to construction at the VT house.
Every year I travel about 40,000 miles between the NH beach, the Tufts campus in Medford, the Derby Management office in Boston and the Vermont house alongside the Winhall River up the road a piece from Brattleboro.
Because of the miles and the typical wicked tough New England weather, I totally love Subarus. Cheryl, my #1 Subaru salesperson, and I will soon be celebrating our 10th car together as soon as the pre-ordered 2020 four-cylinder turbo is delivered in a couple of weeks.
How many times a day, do we use the word "Team"?
Almost every email I send to my board members, my students, our faculty and the senior managers in our companies, starts with "Team".