Gotta Love April!

Gotta love April !!!   

Hard to believe, but here we are, one year later in a very different spring of positive outlooks and what will become a roaring economy on the back half of this year.  Still a bit stressed, but much less so, and, as sales pros, we're always thinking through what the quarter ahead is going to look like. This is always the excitement and the challenge of being a Sales leader. Just like any  professional athlete, even with consistent training and exacting playbooks, we never exactly know what the end game or the final points on the scoreboard will be.    

Just ask either side on the women's final basketball championship last week between Arizona and Stanford.  

 

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Tags: sales coaching, sales management coach, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

What are you planning for tomorrow?

Every day, every week, I work through a series of mini-plans at least in my head and most often in writing.

-Days start early before the sun and begin with a fountain pen and new yellow-ruled sheet of paper.

-I bullet down in a word or two the tasks needed for the company and for Tufts in two columns

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, sales planning, sales tools, closing sales, how to close sales, sales success, how to write a sales plan

So, you want to blog?  Here's 3 winning tactics from my students

 

Last week, I mentioned that Brian Bresee, an alum from our marketing course, and now Hubspot's North America's Director of Partnership Sales, provides a lecture every semester starting with an outline of Inbound Marketing. 

Brian and I met 11 years ago at Tufts, became friends with a common love of being on the Vermont snow.  After graduating, he worked for one of my companies as a BDR, moving to Hubspot 10+ years ago and has become a highly valued Tufts Lecturer in my courses for the last 8 years.  Brian provides content and Hubspot platforms for our course and has become a coach for numbers of my students who want to move into a sales role.  Same way that I coached Brian a decade ago, which is all about giving back to our Tufts students through our alums.

          

Brian masterfully brings the strategy of Inbound right down to the reality of teaching the specifics of blogging to junior and seniors who have marketing plans to deliver to real companies in just 10 weeks from now.

For me, having been a writer of books, newsletters, magazine and newspaper articles and now blogs, I know that blogging is one of the most important tactical tools in any marketer's toolbox. In fact, prior to 2018, when video content began to rise and then just exploded in use in 2020, blogs led the list as the most heavily used media tool

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, sales success, value propositions, effective blogging

just waiting for the spring this AM

With 30 years of skiing anchored firmly in my Vermont winta' roots, I've now spent the last 25 years only snowboarding gaining a new love for old trails and new woods and parks that I would have never explored on skis. I still remember the taunts and laughs from my skier buddies I left behind, but as with anything new, I've learned to find the best coaches and study harder and longer than others. 

This winta' morning, I find myself at the NH beach trading my Big Boy Ariens snowblower back in VT for shovels that fit NH winding paths and decks that overlook a very angry ocean.  It will actually be good to grab some fresh air and quick exercise today between six zooms and a board meeting. One of the benefits of WFH.

Love winta'...but cannot wait for March 20th, the official start of spring and leaving behind dark mornings and getting back out into the VT woods with my chainsaw or looking for seaglass on the NH beach.  I do love the rhythm and the variety of the NE seasons...most of the time

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, closing sales, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, business coaching, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

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

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