Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, and Prognosticator of all Prognosticators, did his thing yesterday on the barren Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA, and according to legend, it's going to be an early spring.
One of my new year resolutions from a number of years ago, and one that I highly recommend to everyone now is to subscribe to the Harvard Business Review. Back in the day, when I was in graduate school, I felt that I needed to read the magazines, but with working full time and being married and, and, and...the stacks of unread articles kept growing and weighing down the summer beach bag.
Tags: strategic planning
My Marketing Course at Tufts is quickly winding down with the first of the exam days yesterday afternoon. For the last 13 weeks, six teams of five very talented students have labored, learned, questioned, and, most importantly, collaborated on very complex marketing projects given to them by six companies at the beginning of July.
Presentations were made to the senior management of three of the companies yesterday, and the same will happen next Wednesday with the last three companies. Basically, every piece of marketing content, strategy and tactic that was taught over the semester has been incorporated into these marketing plans complete with market and competitive research, primary inbound and outbound strategies and a host of carefully planned and budgeted tactical recommendations.
Lots of very hard work, a number of speed bumps and surprises, like the unplanned acquisition of one of the companies mid-semester, but overall, very successful both for the companies in that they've received marketing deliverables that would have cost them thousands, and for the students, who have been paid both in real world experience and in grades.
In almost every industry, Monday morning sales meetings are part of the DNA of running most organizations
No Such Thing as Luck in Sales
The Patriots kick in the last six seconds last Sunday had nothing to do with luck.
That last precision march down the field ending in the perfectly-placed 54 yard kick was all about consistent and dedicated training, nerves of steel and a unrelenting drive of the team to win.
In the world of Sales, orders will be won and lost during these last 22 days of the year solely on the basis of our skills training, our prepping and working on the weekends, our consistent use of every account management and planning tactic that we currently have in our toolboxes, and finally on utilizing every possible connection we have in our individual networks. Classic blocking and tackling in the game of Sales!
Over the next 22 days, this is when everything must come together perfectly
- All the training, the videos and the practice sessions
- All the value propositions and the rest of your marketing tools
- All the embedded sales process tools and their related technologies
Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen.
Nothing but experienced skills, detailed account plans, full force time-management practice and 12 hour days. Luck would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen. My experience is that luck actually never happens when you need it, which is why we call orders that surprise you and fall out of nowwhere, "Bluebirds". They come and go and you're always amazed and thankful that they happen, but they never occur when you're up against a quota deadline.
When I wrote the blog about luck a few months ago, my dedication to the formality of planning and, in fact, my addiction to "over-planning" was heightened by comments the blog received from a number of sales and business leaders that I have come to greatly admire over the years.
- "One of my favorite sayings: 'you create your own luck' ”.
Paul Frascoia, CEO
- Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” a quote attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher.
Bob Flaherty, CEO
- Your article reminds me of a quote from Jack Nicklaus. Someone asked him how much luck played into winning a tournament. He replied, "You know, it's funny. The more I practice, the luckier I get." Arnie Greenfield, CTO
- I'm not a big believer in getting lucky with sales. I am a big believer in good timing and sales. I suppose they might be similar in that a combination of skills plus high levels of activity will eventually lead to events that result from good timing. So not sure luck is involved when a prospect lives through an event that finally makes them think about your solution. To me it's more about good timing resulting from skillful relationship building combined with high levels of activity, leading to "hey, thanks for the call, we were just thinking about you", type of good timing responses.
Ray Bixler, CEO
- Two comments came to mind while reading this post:
1 - Hope is not a strategy
2 - luck is where preparedness meets opportunity.
Art Brault, VP Sales.
- Luck does come in to play in a major way in sales, as in a group of factors that you have no control over. How you sell lets you control how much of an effect luck has on the outcome.
(1) Cold calling- all luck, just a numbers game
(2) Consultative selling increases the odds dramatically of the Luck being good.
Rob Turbett, CEO
- Years ago, a fairly close friend told me that my success and good fortune in life had come from my being “lucky.” I responded that no one is simply lucky and that you have to put yourself in the path of luck, in order to benefit from it if/when it comes and that you cannot sit around and wait for the phone to ring or for luck to happen.
Jack Gaziano, SVP
- For 17 years I passed a stained glass window in the old H.J. Heinz HQ building in the Northside of Pittsburgh. The words: Luck helps you over the ditch if you jump well. True in late 1800s. True today. Tom Powell, CEO
- Jack, I recently gave a talk at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Las Vegas. The title was “The Accidental Strategist” (you were mentioned a few times!) and my opening slide was “Great Thoughts on Luck”
-“The harder I work the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn
-“Luck is the residue of design” – John Milton
-“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Seneca
Jeff Somple, President
All very powerful reminders as we now move relentlessly down the field, play-by-play, with the clock ticking away the 22 days, setting ourselves and our team up to drive across the goal line.
As the book, Hope is not a Strategy, (a very worthwhile read, btw), points out, take the words "hope" and "luck" totally out of your vocabulary, especially now.
At this time of year, success is now all about you during these last 22 days of the selling season
Good Selling Today!
Finally, as you move through your own 2016 Sales Planning process at this time of year, if you have specific planning questions that you want to bounce off me or the other Derby Management Coaches regarding sales plans, sales comp programs, sales tools, or any part of the sales and marketing funnels, just email me, and we can set up a time to talk with me or any of our other heavily experienced Coaches. There's no cost, of course, for a call.
Selling today is complex enough without trying to go through this process of account, organizational and compensation planning by yourself. Just give us a call.
TUFTS University Marketing Projects
I'm in my third week of continuing to look for new solid marketing projects for my spring Tufts marketing class at Tufts, where I'm a professor. A unique and highly successful opportunity for your company to wring out a new product idea or a fully developed marketing plan with Tufts' Best & Brightest from one of the leading universities in the country. This semester-long program is designed to incorporate marketing projects from companies ranging in size from venture-funded startups to divisions of major corporations. This current semester, we had 22 companies apply for the six positions.
The deadline for submissions for this spring's semester is December 15th. Projects will be sent to the students for assessment and team creation at the end of December.
If you're interested in finding out more, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, I'm biased and, yes, more than a bit passionate about Tufts, but I must say somewhat objectively that our results, as attested to buy our customer companies, have been outstanding with many companies coming back year after year and hiring our seniors to be part of their companies.
Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaching for CEOs & VPs
Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222