Darn cold at 29 last Saturday out by the Vermont barn. Jumped on the ATV to work through the woods and get up to the pond where I noticed that the swamp maples were already turning even though the big foliage week is still a couple of weeks from now. Always good for the Vermont economy when leaf-peeping ties into a long weekend.
Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World
A solid summa' in spite of Covid, social unrest, racial injustice, job losses, business closings and then of course, the back-biting and mud -slinging of the election, but other than that...a solid summa'!
Tags: Sales Optimization, sales coach, sales effectiveness, sales producitivity, how to close sales, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans
After college at BC, I went into the Peace Corps returning to the world from Tanzania three years later to face the reality of finding a job. A couple of twists and turns, and I found myself working as a purchasing expeditor for Honeywell as the company attempted to shift from manufacturing and selling heating systems into what was then called the first "mini-computers". It was a brave attempt that failed when a little local company called Digital Equipmentdid it better. Most of the time I've come to learn that the phrase "first mover advantage" is a startup myth more often eclipsed by the truer phrase that "most pioneers get shot in the back."
Tags: the economy, Sales Optimization, improved sales management, sales boot camp, small business management, strategic planning, best sales practices;, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World
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...
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?"
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
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.
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".
By the end of a normal Friday morning, the front of my brain would have heard, dissected and categorized some hundreds of ideas, and I would have figured out one thread of hopefully a meaningful subject to twist around my travels to Vermont, my teaching at Tufts or my working at the NH beach. This Friday is complicated by way too many jumbled "new normal" activities...not any different from any of you, I'm sure.
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 email@example.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 !
Professor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
-The Science of Sales
This is exactly where we hoped we would not be, and yet, here we are today in the belly of the beast.
Not many of us any longer are hoping that this situation will get better, since what we have experienced most recently in the harsh reality of the last seven days, clearly defines that the personal and business impact will become a lot worse before it improves. I am neither capable nor technically equipped to make any projections, and my personal business expectations are just as good or as bad as yours, but having said that, I, like you, run businesses and, like you, I'm a pragmatist, and I know that we are in this chaotic situation for a long time until vaccines hit the market.
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.