Change comes to "The Boys on the Bench"

In my tiny town (pop. 735) in Vermont...called Winhall by the state and Bondville by the feds...there are only three bastions of commerce: 

  • the 7/11 gas station which doubles as a state liquor store
  • the brand new Ace Hardware store branded "Lincoln Maples Hardware" to countrify it
  • and the decades-old Winhall General Store

I've lived in this valley for a very long time with five generations before me, and over the years I've seen many owners of the general store come and go.  There were a few serious Vermonters back in the day, lots of city folk who were looking to own "a little slice of Vermont" , but lasted only a couple of wicked cold winta's, and then there's Lorraine. 

Like many, Lorraine came for the skiing and the beauty of Vermont and stayed to successfully build the business and support the town.  She's done a remarkably consistent job of paying attention to the local Vermonters looking for coffee and a solid sandwich while knowing how to cater to the weekend flatlanders form New York and Jersey.  

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Tags: improved sales management, sales management training, sales management boot camp, improving sales productivity, sales management productivity, inordertoselltodayyoumustchange, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, whiteboardingmarketingsolutions, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, whiteboardingsalessolutions

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

Everything's in Place in VT & in Sales-Today's # is 3

 

"A clean forest is a happy forest !"

In the tiny town of Bondville (Federal government's name) and/or Winhall (the State's name), population 647, I was out in my Vermont woodlot this past weekend. Always a work process of love for the land that is good for my head, the soul and especially for the woods!  
My family has lived in this valley for over 250 years, and I have enough great grandfather and grandfather stories of real entrepreneurship to fill a book. I think that it's not by coincidence that I'm now director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, just two miles from my grandfather's first retail store opened in Davis Square in 1908.  Bapa left the not-so-rural town of Poultney, just 20 miles up the road a piece from where I live in Vermont, to settle in Somerville next to the Tufts campus.  

Last Friday, Mike, my trusted co-worker, and I were deep in the Vermont muck with chain saws and ATV's cutting, bushwhacking, and generally cleaning up the final damage of the winta'. 

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Tags: improved sales management, sales management training, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, sales management productivity, sales careers

Marijo got it right...It's about "The Basics"... & Sales of course

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jan 26, 2018

I've had the privilege of knowing Marijo McCarthy for 30+ years, so I was very pleased when I received an email from her following last week's blog. 

A gifted lawyer at the firm of Widett and McCarthy, she and I and another 20 plus small business entrepreneurs breathed new life into SBANE, "The Smaller Business Association of New England", (now, rebranded to The New England Business Association" ) back-in-the-day.  Led by Julie Scofield, the powerful Executive Director of the association, SBANE was placed squarely on the map in New England as "THE" place to be for small business. 

Not tech or specific market focused, but just "meat-and-potatoes" small businesses run by rock solid women and men who came together to share best practices and consistent networking...on steroids.  
Back-in-the-day, SBANE was all about the basics of business networking, education in what it takes to run a small business successfully, and superb connections from trusted referrals.

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales enablement, sales management training, sales management productivity, selling trust

Jelly, Jam, or Preserves?  Common Language & Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Mar 03, 2017

A breakfast with customers or referral partners is always my favorite meal of the day, and one of life's little pleasures is my careful selection of raspberry or strawberry "jelly", or sometimes, just to feed my wild side, a spoonful of marmalade.  Simple pleasures for a complex life.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales enablement, sales management training, sales management boot camps, improving sales productivity

Heading to the beach..."Field Research" on Sales Leadership

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jun 09, 2016

Interesting comments from a number of readers on a blog I did back in February on what it takes to become a sales leader.  I realized as a result of that blog and the comments and questions that I received, that I knew a whole lot more about what a sales leader is not, than what a true leader of salespeople really is.

For example, I know that a sales leader is not...

  • Captain Command & Control
    This guy is all about gruffness and full blunt force, marked by swearing and shouting in public coupled with a list of not-so-veiled threats about being fired.  

    The result in what he creates is always a small salesforce of dispirited workers who run for cubicle cover and start looking at their shoes every time "The Captain" marches into the office.  You would think that after all of these years, this dinosaur had finally been bogged down in the tar pits of the 1980's and been classified as extinct, but he's still out there shouting even louder since all of the good salespeople have already jumped off of his ship.    
  • Mary Micromanager
    Mary isn't quite sure what exactly her leadership role is as a new sales manager since she quickly rose through the ranks from BDR to sales rep to team leader and is now a district or regional manager.  

    As a result, she never really had the time or the support from her managers to be properly trained and, as a result, she was just thrown into the deep end of the pool to see if she would either sink or swim.   Mary has now become the ubersalesperson looking for more and more detail and constantly doing activity follow up with her team while she basically drives them nuts.   What Mary has not yet learned is that there are manager roles, like Player-Coach, where she can bring real value to the team and allow them the freedom to do their front line job... perhaps in many cases better than she could do it.
  • Tommy Technology 
    T2 is a manager who is all about technology and replacing F2F field salespeople with inside sales teams armed with highly integrated CRM platforms and a variety of apps.  

    I'm all for integrating tech stuff into sales processes and strongly believe that technology platforms like Insight Squared, Hubspot and Brainshark, wrapped around formal sales processes, can improve average sales productivity by 25%.  But, the problem with having Tommy as a manager is that he has forgotten about delivering customer value, and he's run way too fast right to the edge of the cliff never looking back to see if his salespeople are following him or are just going to watch him jump into the abyss shouting... "Good riddance, Tommy."

So, just what is Sales Leadership?

So, as I said, I'm pretty good at understanding what sales leadership is not, but I'm still pretty sure that if I had to teach even a general 101 course on leadership, let alone sales leadership, I would not have much to say after the first or second class.

As a result, I've been packing up the summer beach bag, that hangs quietly in the garage all winter amid various beach towels and chairs, with a variety of books and downloaded articles that I've come across this year as I try to figure out just what being a sales leader is all about.   

A good place for me to start was this article from McKinsey on...
"The BullS--- of Leadership."  I also thought that it's something that you might also find worthwhile.  Since so much of defining "leadership" is to provide examples, most of the books that are referenced in the article are about individuals.  My intent is to read through a number of them during the summer...in between my normal prep reading on the beach for next semester's marketing course at Tufts and MIT's business planning classes.

 

Master of the Senate, (about Lyndon Johnson) by Robert Caro

The Power Broker,, (about Robert Moses), by Robert Caro 

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Team of Rivals (about Lincoln) by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Influence of Science & Practice by Robert Cialdini

 

 

 

Need Your Guidance & ideas...

Given all of this reading about sales leadership and sales management, I and the rest of the partners at the firm could use your help, guidance and opinions.


For approximately 15 years, we've run twice-a-year Sales Management Boot Camps.  Limited to 20, maybe 25, individuals who are managing other salespeople, these 2.5 day programs held in the unique setting of the MIT Endicott House, 20 miles outside of Boston, focus on a wide variety of sales leadership topics crossing an equally wide variety of industries and markets.  We've found that the industry variety is actually key to the success of these programs since managers can openly discuss their issues in a confidential environment where there are no competitors, but there's deep experience in size, in type and in the industries of the attendees.

Taught by my guys and a number of well recognized sales management experts in the Boston community, we're gearing up for another program in November.   The question that I would greatly appreciate your guidance on and direction for is simply...

"If you were to come to a sales management leadership program, what would you want to learn?"

Your help would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

 

IT'S TIME TO TUNE UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS & MARKETING PLANS

Also, since you're now deep into Q2, you just may want to put aside a day during the next two weeks to refine and update your 2016 Business Plan, or at least your 2016 Sales and Marketing Plans.  To get you started, click here and receive a downloaded copy of our Writing the Winning Business Plan, 2016 edition.

Another opportunity for preparing now for Q4 is to do the same type of "relook" at the basics of your 2016 Marketing Plan after reviewing our ebook on "How to Write a Marketing Plan". This consists of mostly solid basics and tactical structure stuff...which just might be the perfect thing to do right now before you dive too deeply into Q3. 

...and, of course, if you just want to talk through some of where you are right now and use us as a confidential sounding board...or do a short Whiteboarding Session with any of us, just email me, and we will work out a convenient schedule.

Good Selling!  

   

 Head Coach  

 Derby Management...for 25 years
 -Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
 -Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
 -Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs

 Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
 Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

     

 

 

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Tags: sales, sales tools, sales management training, sales management boot camp, sales leadership

Leadership...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, May 05, 2016

It doesn't matter whether you're a Democrat or a Republican;  we are now faced with an interesting management problem.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales management, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales leadership

3 Rules You Need to Know About Finance & About Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Mar 17, 2016

My first real job out of BC, after returning from three years in the Peace Corps, was as a Purchasing Expediter working for Honeywell's new minicomputer group.  In a work-hard, work-harder, baptism-by-fire-environment in which you either performed or were fired, I quickly learned the realities of purchasing, inventory control and production.  A great education and a great company...even though they missed the whole mini-computer thing..which prepared me well for a long career at Becton Dickinson Medical Systems-another great company with solid management development programs allowing me to eventually rise through the ranks.

But, all through that development process with more and more training, and more and more education programs, the complexities of P&L's and balance sheets always eluded me, but since I had by then become president of various companies, I had the luxury of hiring the best CFOs at Datamedix (Bob Badavas, currently CEO of Plum Tree, is a superb example) who were much better in Finance than I would ever be.  

Those experiences led me to adopt a simple axiom that I use today with all of the managers in all of our customers:

"Your job is to hire people who are much better than you in their own skills"

Today, although I believe I'm now pretty fluent in everything Finance, my three simple Finance rules that always guide me to success are...

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Tags: sales management, sales coach, sales management coach, sales management training, Sales quota

Following Directions...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 12, 2015

By now, I figure I've taken over 2,400 trips to Vermont over the years traveling back and forth from either Boston or NH.  At three hours, the trip takes about the same amount of time from either starting point, and the distance evens out between 150 and 180 miles.

The problem, as the Boys on the Bench down at the Winhall General Store frequently tell me is that "you can't get there from here" whenever I mention that I'm leaving the mountains to drive to the NH beach...and they're right.  There's no easy way to go east and west between Vermont and New Hampshire, and every trip presents a variety of decisions that ultimately end up just frustrating me.

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Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, sales tools, improved sales management, sales management training, closing sales, how to close sales, best sales practices;