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

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

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

"Jack's 3 Rules" to his students as the semester ends

a bASIC law of physics -Time is finite!

  • It can't be lengthened, shortened, bent, borrowed or stored!
  • Nowhere is that more definitive as in Sales. The quarter ends, quota points on the board. Done!
  • College the same way.  The semester ends, grades are given, GPAs are calculated.  Done!

At any university, a semester is about 13 weeks long with most classes meeting once a week, taking a total of 3 hours and bringing x number of credits depending on the university and the undergrad/grad level.  Sounds like a long time, but then we need to mix in normal holidays, 3-day weekends, extended holidays, spring breaks, on-campus recruiting weeks and sometimes very short "winterships"...just to add to the confusion and the crush on time.

This Wednesday !

And so it was on Wednesday, that we held the last of our three hour "content classes" with guest speakers, Ashley McManus, a rock star alum from our course and now Marketing Director at Affectiva, and also our very close friend, Jamie Turner, author, professor, international speaker and blogger and star of the 60 Second Marketer, talking about the rapidly changing-by-the-minute-world of social.  A great way to bring this semester to a close.  

Also, on the last day of actual classes, I always provide my outgoing 30ish students with my thoughts on what comes next in the way of jobs, careers  and business in general.  These comments additionally sum up much of what we have been doing over the prior 13 weeks in what I call "the marketing of me" as we move back and forth between the world of applying sophisticated marketing expertise and tactics for their companies to doing the same for their first jobs next May or internships next summer.  It all works!

Now, to finish the semester, the team has to complete their final presentations during the next two weeks and hand over their full marketing plans to the management at their companies.  Six companies, five or six juniors and seniors on a marketing project team.  The companies range in size from funded startups looking for full marketing plans to large corporations wanting to launch a new product or service into a new sector.  Industries are very diverse ranging this semester from toys to cars parking to hospice to software in a variety of markets. 

To make it all very real, management provides 40% of the course grades while I am my expert team of four TAs grade 60%.  It all works!

If you are interested in applying for one of these semester-long marketing projects, just connect with me right away by text at 617-504-4222, email at jack@derbymanagement, or through LI, and I will send you the instructions and talk through any questions you might have.  The syllabus and the projects go out to the new, already over-sold, class on December 26th.  It is a very rewarding process on both sides of the zoom screen.

AS LONG AS WE'RE DISCUSSING TUFTS... 

I have some gifted 2020 alums and many 2021 Seniors who are highly capable and are looking for entry level sales and marketing positions.  My computer science majors are not having any difficulty in finding jobs, nor are my finance-oriented students who have been interning for the last two summers in Wall Street firms.  Given the state of the current economic questioning, the same cannot be said for many of my other students and recent alums. 

If you are considering hiring an entry-level person as...

  • a marketing or sales intern part time for the spring semester and/or full time for the summer 
  • a full time marketing or sales person who graduated in May ( I have 2)
  • a full time marketing person graduating with an MBA from BU in May.
  • a full time marketing or sales senior graduating in December  (I have 1) 
  • a full time marketing or sales senior graduating in May  ( I have many)

Just connect with me since I have numbers of bright, hard-working, and driven individuals that I would highly recommend...all of whom, of course come with "The Jack Derby Seal of Approval" .

Have a great day selling today! 
Please celebrate a very safe Thanksgiving !

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 management boot camp, Tufts marketing projects, Tufts internships, free marketing projects from universities, entrepreneurship, sales success, thanksgiving

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

Focus on what you can control...and that's a lot!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Mon, Apr 13, 2020

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:

  1. 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!


  2. 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.

  3. 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 
As part of our Sales Management consulting, we've been running two to three F2F boot camps a year for 20 years.  Held in partnership at MIT with other leading sales management experts focused on dramatically increasing sales productivity, enablement and readiness, we've run intensive one and two-day F2F highly engaged camps bringing together CEOs, Presidents and Sales Managers from a wide diversity of industries. 

  • 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 jack@derbymanagement.com, 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 !

Please stay safe & connected!
jack@derbymanagement.com
Head Coach, Derby Management, experts in...
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning
WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT

Professor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
-Entrepreneurial Marketing
-The Science of Sales 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: sales planning meetings, sales forecasting, sales success, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, writing business plans

Fear & Hope?  What can I do?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Mar 06, 2020

In a time of fear and concern regarding the personal and business impact of the COVID-19 virus, where do I turn? 

My recommendation is listen only to the experts! 

If I listen to most radio channels or watch David Muir on the evening news, in all respect, I don't know whether I should immediately drive to my Vermont bunker up on the ridge and hunker down with my six months of rations, or merely drive to Home Depot and pick up more antiseptic wipes. 

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Tags: sales planning meetings, sales success, value propositions, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, creating trust in sales, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

In Sales you need to have a backup key !

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Feb 14, 2020

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. 

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Tags: sales hiring, sales success, sales effectivness, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Workin' hard into February

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Feb 08, 2020

As I write this on a 14-degree sunny Saturday morning, I'm just in from snowblowing deep in the woods of Winhall (or Bondville) Vermont (pop.647).  Known by the State of Vermont, the town of Winhall is-according to the Feds-also the village of Winhall in the town Bondville.  Or maybe it's the other way around. Hard to figure.   

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Tags: sales leadership, sales success, Sales Hiring Perfectly, sales management plans, sales management productivity, selling trust, sales motivation, writing sales plans, sales readiness

Today...We Gotta Get Moving!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jan 09, 2020

The Scores are on the Board!

2019 in review

The scores have been on the scoreboard now for a few days since the official year ended on the 30th, and the final game tapes have been reviewed.  There'll be a couple of minor adjustments made during this week, but the big numbers are already posted on the board!

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Tags: writing a business plan, sales planning meetings, sales success, how to write a sales plan, Tufts Entrepreneurship, writing sales plans