Jack Derby, Management Coach, Tufts Professor, Entrepreneur, Author

Jack was responsible for the Tufts University Entrepreneurship Center where he teaches and managed a highly engaged and active center of 17 professors, coaches, investors and 700+ students constituting the largest minor on campus. The Center hosts 30+ entrepreneurship events each year culminating in the $100K New Ventures Competition. Jack individually coaches 20 Tufts student startups each year. Today, he continues to teach a marketing course and a sales course in the Center, where he received the Henry & Madeline Fisher award voted by students as the highest rated professor on campus in the Department of Engineering. Prior to stepping down as Director in 2020, due to his wife’s health issues, Jack was the Cummings Family Professor of Entrepreneurship. For 20 years, he has taught business planning and marketing in MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department where he continues. In 1990, Jack founded Derby Management, a regional consulting firm specializing in strategic and business planning with deep expertise in the specializations of business planning, sales productivity and marketing optimization. Prior to starting Derby Management, Jack served as CEO of Mayer Electronics and President of CB Sports. He is or has been a board member of 21 companies. Jack’s 17 years of corporate background consisted of being President of Litton Industries Medical Systems, CEO of Datamedix and Executive Vice President of Becton Dickinson Medical Systems, a market leader in hospital monitoring. For his work as an entrepreneur, Jack was named to the Boston Business Journal’s Mass High Tech’s All-Star Team, he received MIT Enterprise Forum’s Vince Fulmer Award for his work as chairman, and in 2019, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Corporate Growth of Boston for his work as long-term chairman of this leading M&A organization. Jack has founded or co-founded nine startups over the years acting as CEO in eight. Today, Jack is an active and highly engaged board member with a long investing history as an early stage investor as General Partner at Kestrel Ventures, Chairman of Common Angels and currently as a General Partner at Converge Ventures.
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Recent Posts

Cut the burn...or maybe not?!?

Cautionary times?  Sure!

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Tags: Making Tough Choices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

You can't plan results!


Jack, "The Planning Guy", who relentlessly talks about planning, making a religion about planning everything, every process, every marketing and sales activity now headlining today's blog about not planning results?  Maybe just a bit too much sun on the NH beach over the long weekend!  What gives?

what gives is that none of us, including the Celtics, can "plan" results.  

  • We can define the results we want, and hope for those results.
  • We can create sales and marketing strategies which are only initiatives and directions.
  • We can detail objectives, metrics and KPIs, often in way too much detail.

But when it comes down to the men and women who are at the tip of the spear specifically as salespeople, who are on the phone, on the street, and in their offices touching and reaching out to real customers and prospects, although "strategies" and KPIs may be important guidelines, they are somewhat meaningless without a 30-60-day action plan.  

  • I can talk about, hope and pray for results.
  • I can use objectives and KPIs as boundaries. 
  • But I can only plan actions!

Too often, we surround our salespeople with too much.  Good intentions, all aimed at the common objective of making our number, but too often we leave out the requirement of action planning at the detail level. 

We attempt to teach them about strategy, and too often end up just creating confusion.  We surround them with sales theories, new systems and out-of-date sales books.

We love to have weekly team meetings, which are important, of course, but then waste 50% of that time telling them stuff that could have been better handled in a pre-meeting video prepping everyone for a more productive meeting to discuss go-forward 30-day action plans and sharing best practices. 

In our own work, we ask for week-by-week 30-day plans for 60 days built on a uniform, easy-to-complete template which then becomes part of our tool set kept in our Hubspot CRM so that there is only one source of truth.  This also makes everything accessible by everyone since what we are really looking for is the sharing of best practices and best tools among all of the sales team whether that's 5 or 50 people. 

One of our very best and most successful heads of sales that we've worked with, Colleen Honan simply calls it "Planning the Plan".  We term it "30-60's" where we want to see the following bullets in a template that should take 30 minutes a week to complete and discuss with the manager.

  • Weekly schedules for 2 weeks
  • Weekly KPIs on the critical sales process numbers of calls, visits, discoveries and closed deals
  • Short action-based text of a paragraph or two related directly to that month's objectives
  • Additional resources in people or expense that are needed to meet the objectives 



Check out our updated sales productivity site page.  Just page down to get our new edition of Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023.  Or you can just email me, and I will send you a free copy.  Connect with me at any time for some quick ideas and feedback. There's never a cost for a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about Sales & Marketing.   

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.












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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales quota, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Salespeople should not be going back to the office!

I live on the NH beach and frequently commute to Boston.  Those days that I'm teaching, I leave at 5:00 AM to arrive at 7:00 and schedule student meetings before my afternoon marketing and sales classes.  In my consulting work, if the client says, "I want to meet in the office", I'm in the car driving around NE or on Amtrak to NYC.  Yesterday's commute to Boston, however, clearly defined why salespeople should not be going back to any city-based office just because some out-of-touch supervisor states that they want everyone sitting at their desks.   Notice above my use of the phrase "city-based office".  

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Tags: Sales Leadership in the Revolution, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Every call is a cold call!

In the profession of Sales, everything is about connections and the ability to bring real value to real people!
In the science of Sales, this then becomes the calculated rhythm and the resulting math and metrics of 

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center

Sales Basics Taught by my Students

Today is the last of the 11 Marketing and Sales project presentations for the semester.  Should be very interesting considering the team is mostly engineering graduate students, and they have been hard at it for 13 weeks in our Science of Sales course stretching beyond the confines of building out the details of a sales plan to the rounding out of a fuller business plan.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, Derby Entrepreneurship Center

Jack's Three Rules for my Seniors!

13 weeks later, these two final weeks are the final presentations by the teams to the senior management of their respective Sales or Marketing projects.  Completing this from the NH beach this AM before heading out to Waltham in a couple of minutes where the student team of six will present their marketing research, strategies and implementation tactics to six sales and marketing managers at the company.  Real life. Real expertise. Real and direct feedback.  For the students and for me, the culmination of their work is very exciting and always a bit unnerving since the success (and 40% of the grade) is defined by the customer.   

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning

The Taxman & the Quota Boss come calling today!

It was 1966, and the Beatles released Taxman with George Harrison as the lead singer.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales quota, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

This week, it's all about Tufts!

A wicked busy week combined with customers, fundraising for our new startup, and super excited about this week at The Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts as we enter into the final competition at the annual Tufts $100K Business Plan Contest being held this Thursday night from 6-9:00.  If you want to participate online in this professional slice magic of entrepreneurship at its best, click here to register.

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Spring Cleaning is...

With the results of Q1 left in the dust of last week, we're already reworking new sales plans for this quarter, hiring and changing a few new team members and taking apart, piece by piece, those perfectly planned lead generation tactics conceived in the dark winter of last January.  Some worked, many did not, but blogs and video continue to be clear winners.  Certainly, social, but so much of it falls under the classification of "It depends..."

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Tufts marketing projects, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Sleep gets in the way

We seem to waste a lot of time worrying, writing and talking about the practices of not getting enough sleep!  
Someone even named Friday, March 17th, as World Sleep Day, without even considering the conflict with the much more important St. Patrick's Day, which, of course, has zero to do with sleep. 

According to a study by the American College of Cardiology, up to 8% of deaths from any cause could be attributed to "poor sleep patterns", while those with healthier sleep habits are less likely to die prematurely. Data from Statista shows that in the US, 39% of respondents said they had suffered from a sleep disorder (problems falling asleep or staying asleep) in the 12 months prior to the survey. To me, vague phrases of "could be attributed", "less likely" and "problems falling asleep" seem to underscore the question of whether the lack of sleep is a real issue, or has this discussion just crept into being a filler when there isn't enough real news to report.

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

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