The Red Sox & the Business of Sales in July

Not only is Boston a great city to live and work in (if you don't count the traffic), clearly we are wicked sports-crazy coming off the huge Celtics championship. The Sox as of mid-July have had a pretty good season so far marked by both ups and downs. While they’re not leading the division, they’ve shown flashes of strong performance, particularly with their offense and some standout pitching moments. Actually, half way through the season, the team’s playoff hopes are still alive, but they’ll need to maintain consistency and capitalize on key games as the season progresses. In my own comparison summary, the status of the Sox sounds similar to what I'm hearing from many of our customers and business partners:

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Control What You Can Control

I trust that everyone had a fun and relaxing 4th and was able for a day or two to leave behind the pressures of the office, quotas, politics and geo-turmoil and focus on celebrating this most important holiday with family and friends.  For me, I retreated to my tiny Vermont town of Winhall (pop. 769) where my major decisions came down to painting the second floor deck of the studio and whether it was worth the two mile drive to the general store for milk, or could it wait for another day?

The answers were that the painting could not wait, but the trip to the Winhall General Store was put off for multiple days.  It must be something in the Vermont air because the entire state of Vermont...along with Bernie Sanders... operates at its own pace and nothing a flatlander does or says is going to make any difference in terms of political or financial impact.  Even with 7 generations of Vermonters surrounding me, I always remember "my place" since I was born on the south side of Chicago and grew up in Boston's suburbs even through 5 generations before me were "true' Vermonters".  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Today, I'm Outta Time

As business managers and especially as salespeople, we're measured all the time.  We know that on Day 1 when we accepted the responsibility of this job.  We play to the numbers, we know the math and what it takes to succeed and ultimately we're measured often times every week, and the end of the quarter.  8 hours from now, the final buzzer sounds. Most probably we're going to take some of next week off given the simple math of the 4th on Thursday, so next week is not going to be a great week to connect with buyers.  Take an hour or two sometime and review your own math.  

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The Celtics & The Math

Today will be historic in Boston, which, as all of us who live here already know, is a wicked sports town!

Today, Boston will show off that everything-green pride for the Celtics in its Duckboat celebration bringing 1 million people to the city this morning. 

Whether you're in town today or you're watching on your phone this morning or tonight on the evening news, this is about celebrating the best ever in team success!


By taking a look at the Celts' record shattering success resulting in a 4-1 historic win over the Mavericks, there are a number of very solid takeaways for those of us who run businesses and especially sales organizations that you should think about.

  • This success was as much, maybe even more, about creating and living a team culture than individual skills.  Add to that comment about culture, an underlying drive to win that comes from within the team itself rather than from one or two individuals. 

    An Idea: Take a step back when you finish the quarter in two weeks and rate your perception of the team culture of your sales team.  Choose a 1-5 scale and simply write that down adding a couple of notes about why you think that way.  Then ask your sales team to do the same at a work meeting in July.   It may well be that you have a Celtics-level culture.  If you don't, then set out a plan to change.

  • The Celtics win had to do with solving a math problem, They ended with the best offense in the history of the NBA because that's where they deliberately focused one portion of their training figuring out how to high percentage shots.  Sales success is often about who has the most consistent training, and the application of that specific training depends on the math.  Everyone on the Celtics team understands the exactness of the math and where they need to be at any time in the completion of their own specific stats and the metrics of the entire team. That same thought process of understanding the details of the math needs to apply in our case as sales managers relative to where we are in the month, the quarter and the balance of the year.  

    An Idea: In July, spend a day with your sales team and work backgrounds from where you need to be at the end of Q4 and Q3 in your critical KPIs. Most importantly, figure out both the deal and revenue math moving up from the bottom of your sales funnel which is the number of closed deals that your sales plan requires.  As a group, do this math both for the team in total and then have everyone work through their own  math individually. Then work backgrounds as you walk up your sales funnel from the bottom until you get to the top SQL step. Now figure out your conversion rates from step to step and ask yourself whether the numbers make sense, which they may well not as you look out for the next six months. One question then become what's the type of training you can apply beginning now into the early fall. The other question is where do you need to make changes in the team..

  • Take a hard look at your team and figure out where you need to make changes now and bring in new talent. The Celtics excel in their recruiting and training. Interestingly, as a result, they do not have a player who finished in the top five of MVP voting during the season.  On the other hand, what they do have to a person are exceptional performers all unified around their unique culture of winning.

    An idea:  Do a specific sales skills assessment of your individual sales players and ask yourself is it time to make a change and make that judgement on the basis of your own assessment of that person's skills and whether you have the time to put into training and coaching that player to be an "A" level.  If not, it's time to make the change now and not get caught up in the false math that some level of sales from a B- player is better than no sales. That math never works.  Just make the move now and don't look back.  There's plenty of high caliber sales talent available right now. 

Good selling today and enjoy what's going to be a perfectly beautiful and memorable Friday!   


Executing on your Sales Plan in 2024!

After the quarter is finished, for a few ideas on your sales plan for the second half of the year and improving the productivity of your own team, you can click here for our new  "Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024", for a few ideas on structure, sales models, process funnels and a number of productivity tools and how to recruit and hire the best.  Or, just give me a call, and we can kick around a few ideas  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.



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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning

It's time to simplify

Tough loss last night for the Celts.  The most polite word, I read this morning in The Globe and heard on 'BZ was "blowout".   

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Figuring it out

The U.S. economy keeps throwing up surprises, so those of us who are the managers of smaller and mid-market companies are left scratching our heads trying to figure out what's behind this and more importantly what are we to do. 

Let's take a look at what we see happening:

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Tags: 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

The Celtics & Your Sales Team

Just a superb win last night! 

Can't say enough about the game and, more importantly, the various sports reporters are saying and showing it this morning better than I could ever do. 

On to Sunday!



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Tags: HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Sales Planning, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

The "So What?" Test

No, I am definitely not going to ask this morning that question of whether Mr. Trump's conviction yesterday will make any difference in the election, or will it be simplified to a "So What?" and the election discussion moved to inflation, the border and the budget.  One thing we've learned early as salespeople is never to get involved in any discussions about politics.  One basic rule is that it's none of my business, and two, as a salesguy, I'm 100% focused on selling VALUE that fits my specific persona, whether that person is a new prospect or an existing customer.  I simply cannot afford to be sidetracked or fall down the rabbit hole of politics!

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

What I learned about The Science of Sales this semester

I think that I've been teaching this course which I titled "The Science of Sales" for seven or eight years now. At the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, I teach a course in entrepreneurial Marketing both semesters and then this Sales course only in the spring.  I teach in a framework of "Content in Context" where I and my outside lecturers, all alums from my courses 5+ years ago provide "content" within "the context" of six real companies who have signed up for the delivery of sales plans, playbooks, sales tools, sales process development and often HubSpot software integration. 

Every student needs to be HubSpot Inbound Selling certified in order to take the class.  Each company gets 5-6 juniors or seniors assigned to it. Real life research working directly with the head of Sales where the senior company management of the company project provides 40% of the final grade.  Lots of complex hard work where learning instantly becomes more than academic with exciting results both for the client companies and for the students many of whom then go on to work in marketing and sales jobs. 

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The Rhythm of the Seasons

Every spring, everything tumbles and crashes into one another in our business.  It's merely the rhythm of our consulting business when the excitement and optimism of the annual January sales meetings meets the reality of Q1 sales forecasts measured against actual results  Sometimes up, sometimes down, but never exactly as was planned, which then results in increased business for us at the firm.  It's just the rhythm of our business which always seems to align itself with the seasonal calendar rhythms of the year. 

Add to this cyclical rhythm the reality that the implementation of any new sales or marketing plan will always take a minimum of 90 days before any results are seen, which is why we always focus on Q2 as being the most important quarter of the year.  By the month of May, we know what's working and what's not, and there's still plenty of time to make adjustments that will pay off in Q4.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning