3 Early 2020 Sales Predictions

Many of us are currently crunching through data, spreadsheets, analytics and forecasts trying to figure out what our operating plans will be for 2020.  Whether it's the almighty CFO continuously prodding us for this information as she assembles the company's financial plan or our sales manager taking even more time out of our already super-packed prospecting week to juggle scenarios, the pressure's on to figure out plans for 2020.  Hard enough as a salesperson, wicked hard as a manager and darn near impossible as the boss, but, who cares?  It is what it is, and what it is is about business planning and forecasting at this time of year in the seasonal cycle of business.   

The weak salespeople and managers will whine, complain and not dive in and do the real hard work of assessing the last 10 months of data and will simply guess.  The pros will sift through the analytics, consult with their peers, sit with marketing and then work directly with the quants in Finance to make sure that what their forecasting works for the department and the company.  Nothing exists in a vacuum!

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Tags: improving sales productivity, writing sales plans, writing business plans

Rod Stewart is Keeping Me Awake!

For the last month, the ageless Rod Stewart's classic Maggie May has been ringing in my head.  "it's late September, and I should be back at school", which was fine for September, but now it's late October, and I'm deep into the busiest season of the year: 

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I'm a brand...and so are you!  3 steps to enhance that brand!

Positive or negative, emphatic or weak, powerful or not, you and I are brands!  

The fact that you're reading this post means that you have already defined some level of brand for me.
  • It could be the Professor Guy, the Vermont Guy, the Sales & Marketing Guy, the NH Surfing Guy, the management consultant guy...or someone else.  The fact is that when you read this post, which now has close to 10,000 subscribers, or you connect with me by phone, text or email, immediately, for a few synapses of a few seconds, you've defined me as a brand.
  • Similarly, for that instant when we do connect, I immediately associate a defined brand for you.  First, for a few milliseconds, I immediately categorize you as a student, a customer, a partner, a prospect or an investment, and then in that same instant, I picture (not really an image, but a composite video blur of a photo, a voice, a job, and an attribute into a definition of you as a brand.

What's the largest selling cereal in the U.S.?

Even with cereal sales slightly declining, Cheerios again and again, tops the list in market share with a strong commanding need.  Even though the specific sub-brand of Honey Nut Cheerios leads the overall family of the various Cheerios brands, in general, the brand reaction that we all instantly make follows a connected chain of links that leads to their well marketed value proposition...

- Cheerios is made from oats
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Tags: branding plans, how to write a marketing plan, how to brand, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, marketing planning, sales management productivity

When you're going through hell, what do you do?

In mid-July, I wrote about doing a first half year review, taking score of where you are and re-planning for the second half of the year.  That tactic of the first half review is used in business, in life, in football, and I'm now just suggesting to do it later this week for everyone working in Sales and now facing the critical 4th Quarter.  Very simply, when the 4th Quarter is finished on the 31st of December, it's game over, and the 2019 numbers are posted for all to see on the scoreboard.  No more time, no more timeouts, no more substitutions, no more injured players, no more excuses.  Done!!!

  • True salespeople, women and men, sales execs or BDRs, district managers or CEOs always know exactly where they are in their revenue metrics.  I'm currently in the critical process of signing up partners to the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, and I don't need to have my head of finance remind me where I am...but she does all the time...because she's a strong manager and a critical partner, and at the end of the day, money is money!   Bottom line is that I'm behind, and I now need to double down in effort, add more time to the sales clock and execute on a couple of new short term tactics. 
  • This week, theoretically there's 13 weeks left in the year, but in the cold hard reality of vacations and holidays, there's really nine. Given that, today, as in Monday, the last day of Q3, you should be totally focused on today, and then on Tuesday, as in tomorrow, immediately shift that focus to Q4 and the remaining 50 selling days left in the year.

Congratulations! to those of you who wake up tomorrow morning knowing that you're ahead of the game for the year, that the team is fully balanced, everyone is trained and amped up for the long drive through the rest of the quarter. 

Like the Pats, it's great to be ahead of the pack!

For those of us behind the curve, me included, it's time to change something since whatever it is that we've been doing for the past 270 days or so has not been working that well, and given current course and speed, the simple math says that nothing will change.  As professionals in the science of Sales, we gave up on the "Strategy of Hope" a very long time ago. It doesn't take that many slaps upside the head from past failures to figure out that the "same old, same old" even with a fresh coat of paint, rarely works.  

TIME to Create a New Game Plan

  •  It's the 4th Quarter which brings with it all of the normal issues of competition, focus, pricing discounts
     and the lack of time on the part of everyone on both sides of the buying and selling table.
  • In this particular 4th quarter, add to the lack of time, the confusion about tariffs, the stupidity of both political parties and the brain-dead media rapidly talking the country into a recession.  But, given the buoyancy of the economy, low unemployment, low interest rates and wheelbarrows of cash still parked on the sidelines, there's plenty of buying power left in corporate America... at least for the short term. 
  •  Today announce that you're gathering the team around the table this Friday morning at 7:30 to spend the entire morning walking through every strategy, every tactic, every contingency scenario and every personnel resource you're going to need during the next 53 days of the quarter.  Give assignments out today so that everyone is prepared and everyone has something to present.

And, btw, wherever you are on whichever side of the competitive edge you are on today, it could be a lot worse!  Imagine if you're a senior manager or are on the sales teams of WeWork, Peloton, Boeing or Juul having to rebuild your entire business model and your product plans.

  • I also think back to the readings of my sales coach, SunTzu, who time and again has pulled me out of the sales doldrums and has givin me immediate short and mid-term focus to the tactical job at hand. 
  • Similarly, Eisenhower's response when after learning on that morning of the highly planned invasion of the beaches at Normandy that everything was disastrously falling apart by the hour, he executed a totally revised tactical plan which quickly got the soldiers off the beaches.  Weeks after, he was quoted with "It's not the plan that's important; it's the planning process.".  
  • And it was from those dark early days of the war when Britain stood alone following the invasion of France and the disaster at Dunkirk that Winston Churchill responded with "When you're going through hell, keep going", followed again and again with "Never, never, never give up".  

Things to do this week:

1. Get that Friday morning planning session together with assignments and concise and impactful tactical presentations focused on the remaining 50ish days.  Don't allow anyone to complain about their lack of time, or those big bad competitors, or the problems with tariffs when in fact, it's most probably the lack of small, focused tactical selling plans that's the real problem.

 

2. Focus on geographies at the Friday planning meeting.  With a small number of days left in the year, we need to focus on streets, not states.  There are 31 NFL cities in the U.S.   The cities themselves  account for 10% of the U.S. population.  The "greater" population directly around those cities equals another 25%.  Go where the customers are and the prospects are going to be. Don't waste time exploring new geographies!  

3. Pick your critical metrics and communicate them every week  Next week institute 30 minute team calls every Monday morning at 7:30, and at the end a day midweek-either Wednesday or Thursday-to discover on a peer-to-peer basis-what tactics worked and the results that came from them.   

Have a great day selling today !

Please stay connected!

Advisor, Derby Management, experts in-
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning
WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT    

Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
Spark-Incubate-Accelerate@Tufts
Come to our Events

2019 $100K New Ventures
Cell:  617-504-4222 jack.derby@tufts.edu



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Tags: sales planning meeting, sales leadership, sales management productivity, sales motivation

Move From Culture to Cult

Hey, Team...

How many times a day, do we use the word "Team"? 

Almost every email I send to my board members, my students, our faculty and the senior managers in our companies, starts with "Team". 

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Tags: jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, sales effectivness, selling trust, Tufts Entrepreneurship, social impact, social entrepreneurship

Ideas for Managing Change this Fall

Change is in the air, and it's everywhere !

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Tags: closing sales, best sales practices;, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship, sales motivation

How'd We Do?  Time to Measure Up, Rethink & Replan!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jul 25, 2019

Summa!

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, sales management, sales coach, sales planning, sales producitivity, business tools, business planning, business plans, The Competitive Edge, writing a business plan

Stop Overthinking, Just Use Your Head & Celebrate the 4th

Sure, I get it...work, life, and relationships are often wicked complicated, maybe even overcomplicated, but that's life!  Way too often we overthink things, especially at work, to the point of making the already complicated impossibly cluttered, slow to enact and painful in which to participate. Recently, I've adopted with my work and my teaching a concept of frequently taking a view 100 feet off the deck and asking myself and others..."Aren't we overthinking this?", and, typically, I am discovering that the answer is a resounding "Yes".

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Tags: Tufts university, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

Three Timely Management Tips from the Deans

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Jun 14, 2019

Too often we business types roll our eyes to the ceiling when we think about academia. Our images of university life immediately flash back to our own college days, but that image has little to do with the reality of university life today. 

Today, college students are wicked bright, very hard working and highly focused on jobs, careers and the social impact of making a difference in the lives of others.  As a group, current students and alums for the past eight or ten year are a massive category with huge numbers, but they also have far less spending power due to the very high cost of housing in general and the massive student debt that they carry. 

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Tags: sales productivity, sales management, improved sales management, small business management, management, business coaching, leadership

Nothing Much Changes in VT & 3 Basics Stay the Same!

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Tags: strategic planning, Tufts marketing projects, value propositions, sale management, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center