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

Accurate sales forecasting-all about the science!

This morning, with tonight's Nor'easter looming just a few hours from now, and the end of the entire sales year only eight days away, it's interesting to compare two timely forecasting scenarios:
-On one hand, we have local Boston weather forecasters guessing about snowfall.
-On the other, we have professional salespeople forecasting real revenue.

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Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, sales boot camps, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics

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

Today's number is 20!

a few Reasons to be thankful!

We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!

now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left 

20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!

With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close.  That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard. 

Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.

The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.   

 

Here's a couple of tactics that always work...

1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!

Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota.  In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close.  Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.  

 

2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!

The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets.  The very good news is that you have 20 days.  Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time.  The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days. 

  • My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
  • My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
  • I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter. 

3.  Clean up your calendar! 

- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then. 

- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell.  Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell. 

In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect.
The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January.   Yes, January!

  • I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
  • Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle.  Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.  
  • For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work.  Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.  

4.  Clean Body, Focused Mind!  

No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection.  You already know more than the basics by this time.  This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us. 

We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March. 

 

I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead. 

................................

Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!   

Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19! 

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 coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, sales readiness

The business of business...

With the end of the month, and my last day of selling activity for October, I'm reminded this morning of the business of every business...no matter what it is....even if it's coffee. 

As I started this morning with inches of snow on the ground and what will be many cups of Keurig Sumatra Dark Roast during the day today, I'm drawn to think about the value and therefore the marketing, the selling and the pricing of coffee.  I had the unique opportunity years ago to work with the Keurig team of entrepreneurs and the initial investors when they were just starting the company figuring out the market, the various sales channels and hiring their first experienced head of sales. Lots of hard work, very exciting on-the-ground and in-the-weeds entrepreneurship which led to an exceptional growth opportunity. 

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Tags: sales coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, sales success, value propositions, how to write a sales plan, sales readiness, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

today is just a finite fraction in the infinity of time

Think about it!

  • Monday morning, the 20th of July.  One day among 365.  202 down with 164 to go.
  • Just one day in a decade or in 100 years or in millennia since Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.
  • Time is always non-stop and always represented by change.
  • The concept of time is self-evident, but we rarely think about the fundamental nature of time...

...until of course, we run out of time!.

What this pandemic is teaching us is the fragility of time.  We see it, we sense it, and now we always live it in both our personal and work lives. We live in an ever-expanding bubble of time listening to the daily chants of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and, as a result, we're much more aware of time now than we were six months ago. We anticipate it and we watch it carefully in our Zoom calls.  More than ever, we constantly try to balance our own time with a myriad of new demands that we never ever considered before like "should we send our kids back to school?" and "what are the safest hours to go to Market Basket?"

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales coach, sales management coach, sales enablement, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, sales readiness

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

ok, now what do I do to sell? 

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, May 13, 2020

With last weekend's nasty weatha' at the NH beach and even more snow stopping my planned Saturday mornin' trip to Winhall/Bondville VT, I took the time to post to my 6,700 LinkedIn friends my "Six Best Sales Practices for Selling Normally in Abnormal Times",

This comes from a webinar with I shared with Laurie White, President of the Providence Chamber of Commerce, and her superb members. 

I thought that the questions raised from these real-life business owners and salespeople were perfect examples of what it takes to work and survive on the front line in these chaotic times.  

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Tags: Making Tough Choices, sales management productivity, selling trust, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Putting in place a very straight line sales plan

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, May 01, 2020

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".  

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Tags: improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales forecasting, sales effectivness, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Right Answers, Wrong Questions

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Apr 16, 2020

Questions:

  • When will we get back to work?
  • When can I start selling again?
  • What's the messaging I should be using?

In a few hours, I'll be leading a webinar with 100+ business owners of New England destination hotels and vacation resorts who are looking for answers to these and 60 plus other questions that they've submitted in advance. 

These are the people right at the epicenter of the struggle who have had hundreds of cancellations for long-planned weddings, reunions and business conferences planned specifically around "getting away to the peaceful, bucolic and quiet beaches and mountains of New England".  And now, they have nothing but questions, time on their hands and the adjacent fears of unpaid bills and not knowing what to tell long term employees that they've already laid off. 

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Tags: sales leadership, value propositions, sales management productivity, creating trust in sales, 2020 sales plans, sales readiness