About to head out to Tufts this crisp fall morning, and I'm already leaping ahead thinking about the spring, 2017 semester, and of course about Sales.
When I put this four to six month look ahead in timing into perspective, it's exactly the same process that we're right now experiencing with our customers in their 2017-2019 strategy planning and in their detailed sales and marketing tactical planning for next year.
- At Tufts, we're about half way into the semester, and in the corporate world of sales performance in our companies, we're only a third into the most critical quarter of the year. But, right now, both at school and in sales performance at our customers, everything is about execution as I carefully watch the shrinking time left in the Tufts syllabus and the rapidly disappearing 45 corporate selling days left in the year. Right now both in the world of sales and teaching, it's all about hands-on execution and carefully measuring the time left on the clock.
- As a result, all of us in the sales game right now are running at full max speed in addition to somehow squeezing out that extra 10% of our time in order to be able to think through the detailed business planning that's required to allow us to grow even faster and more profitably in 2017.
No complaints in any of this from me. This is the standard rhythm of business that we all signed up for in Sales. It is what it is, and what's not to love about selling...or about teaching !
Which brings me to my request for new projects for the spring, 2017 semester
The way that I teach the components of marketing is to wrap them into six semester-long company projects. Each project has a four or five student team of juniors and seniors assigned to it. Many of these projects result in the delivery of complete marketing plans to the company's senior management for new product launches, rebranding campaigns, pricing projects and detailed market and competitor research. The companies that we have worked with range in size from divisions of Fortune 500 companies to startups in both B2B and B2C businesses, but our sweet spot is B2B annual revenue between $5 and $100 million. With 100 plus companies now under our belt, we've tackled a very wide variety of products and services spread over an equally wide spectrum of complex markets.
Also, since I needed a new challenge, I've decided to increment my teaching time by adding a new course this spring in Sales. The last I looked at the stats three years ago, there were 10,000 majors and minors being offered in Marketing in college and universities throughout the US, but less than twenty in Sales. So, I thought that it was time that I taught the mechanics, the science, the metrics, the technology tools and the math surrounding the profession of Sales. All very appropriate since these courses are all structured within the Entrepreneurship Center which falls under the auspices of the Tufts School of Engineering.
Which brings me to an additional request for 6 complex sales projects
These companies will most likely range in size from startups with minimal sales up to around $10 million in annual revenue.
The projects might include building out detailed sales processes, defining new sales tools, exploring new or additional sales technologies, creating integrated sales enablement plans, and defining and recruiting the optimal sales organization.
Right now, this is an open field until we gain more experience. Having said that, no matter how we structure it, this new course in Sales promises to be a very exciting experience both for me and for my students.
If you're interested...
...in submitting either a marketing or a sales project for this spring, just email me at jack@derbymanagement, and I will send out the instructions on what's expected, the logistics and the dates for the spring semester for both the sales and the marketing courses.
Remember back to when you were in college, and you were wondering how you were going to put into use that course in whatever you were studying? At Tufts, the experience we provide for our marketing and sales students through these projects is unique since they learn strategy, they debate tactics, and then get their hands dirty by actually diving deep into the crankcase oil by being asked to provide detailed execution activites. That's the value received on the student's side of the table.
For the company management's side of the table, the value received is...
- extraordinary hard work coupled with a very high work ethic on the part of the teams
- deep market and competitor research
- fresh and innovative ideas
- and, interestingly enough...experience. Every team has at least one and often time more students who already have had experience through prior marketing, BDR and sales internships.
So that it!
Here we are just walking up to the front door of winter, and I'm already thinking ahead to the spring, but that's the nature of what it takes to be an effective manager both in the corporate world of Sales and in the teaching world of engaging with bright, hard working and very entrepreneurial university students.
If you have questions, just email me, and in the meantime...
Good Selling !
Good Teaching !
Good Coaching !