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

Time to be Thankful!!!

Yes, first and most importantly, a sincere expression of thanks for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!  A great time for families and a day or two of decompression before we jump back into the final 20ish days of the year where every point we can put on the board counts.  Enjoy the break, have fun, take a walk in the woods and get ready for the final quota crunch.  The very good news is that as salespeople, we have a lot to be thankful for.

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

Breaking the Rules About Time

Well, maybe not actually "breaking the rules about time" since time itself is illiquid, but as a sales and marketing guy, other than my skills, the only real currency I have is my own time, and how I chose to use it. It's as simple as that and...paying attention to the laws of time.

The very good news is that we gain an extra hour of sleep on Sunday even though millions of Americans-including me-say they’d prefer to have more daylight indefinitely.  

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Gotta always be planning ahead...even on a Friday!

With around 37 real selling days left in the Q, 90% of our sales and marketing expertise and our rapidly eroding time needs to be spent on pumping, pushing and pulling deals down into the funnel. 


The actual closing process at the end of the funnel should be the easy part; it's the prep and the actual selling of the value that we provide that takes the time over the next 37 days.   






BTW, just in terms of other sales factoids that rattle around in my brain sometimes, did you know that there are more than 30 different B2B closing tactics we could be using? Here's an old video I did back in my sales training days that still has value in its simplicity. My experience is that the very best salespeople are experts in 3 types of closing techniques, and they hone those to perfection all the time!  


To make it more direct (I didn't say "easy"). our work as salespeople needs to be always focused not on us and our products, but on the actual business and personal value we deliver.  To help guide you along that path, I have pasted below excellent advice from last week's blog post from my sales-expert friend, and Fractional CRO, Mike Schumann, to provide you with specific ideas that should get you activated in the science and the math of Sales.  Mike's philosophy and hands-on expertise exactly matches our own at Derby Management, where for over a decade we've built customized detailed sales and marketing methods that follow our underlying mantra of "Process-Tools-Technology-Math & People".   When executed completely, the results are productivity improvements of around 25% in less than a year.

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

Thoughts from Kevin on Vanilla Ice Cream!

Last Friday's blog titled "We're Just Selling Vanilla Ice Cream" emphasized the criticality of total focus in these final weeks of the year to delivering the simplicity of the exact and very direct business value that we're bringing to our customers and to avoid getting off focus and slowing down the sale.   "The Vanilla Idea" came from my friend and fellow board member Kevin Greene, a superb salesguy and the CEO of Tassat Group.   Kevin followed up with me after reading last Friday's blog, and I thought that it would be helpful for a couple of minutes this morning to consider his practical hands-on experience of what it takes to sell right now.  

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Tags: 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Remember...we're just selling vanilla ice cream!

In a world... where we were struggling two years ago to figure out what "the new normal" would be, and, just when we thought we had done that, we were hit with ugliness of inflation, the media hype of recession, the invasion of Ukraine and now the tragedy of what is happening in the Middle East.  The bottom line of this opening to this Friday's blog is that there's very little right now that any of us can do to change any of these outside influences on our businesses.   

What we should be doing is to take rigid control of what we can control and reduce that to the simplicity of selling vanilla ice cream!

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

Stats, Numbers, Trends...and, of course, Days

Let's start with the total raw workdays between Monday and 12/22.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Teaching at Tufts University, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Gotta love the math in the Science of Sales!

Just about 40 days!

Here we are already at the end of September! 

 "The A-Team" shows up at 7:00 AM tomorrow for the first of the fall "Big Cleans" in Vermont.  A team of four to six men and women now in their late 20's who began this tradition with me when they were students at Green Mountain College up the road a piece in Poultney. 

Very coincidentally, Green Mountain has come up numbers of times in my Vermont life.  Decades ago, it was my first college teaching gig long before MIT and Tufts. 

Poultney is a classic example of a picture-perfect small Vermont town, and it's where my father, grandfather and GGF and GGGF lived for generations of being entrepreneurs.  It's in the blood!

With the leaf peeping season well underway, Saturday's A-Team will be back again at the end of October to do the final clean-up in the woodlot and stack the three cords that will get me through the winta'.  In Vermont, the winta' comes early, and as my grandfather used to say, "there's 9 months of winta', 1 of mosquitos, and two of just bad sleddin'."

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

Gotta have rhythm!

Fall officially starts tomorrow, but in my trip to Vermont house last weekend, it was obvious that the rhythm of the seasons was in full cycle which is great since the fall season provides 25% of the tourist income for the state.   Vermont is absolutely in full rhythm for the fall:

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Tags: Sales Management Best Practices, SEO, Inboound, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

I need to get sales results!

Results, Results, & More Results!

Ok, a good way to think on a rainy Tuesday morning as I head out to a day of meetings in Boston in a wicked busy week. 

Finished my intro business planning class at MIT yesterday and while I'm thinking about my second class at Tufts tomorrow which is all about market research, today's focus is 100% on sales, and where I need to be by the end of December...only about 100 workdays away.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales quota, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

The Criticality of Who Owns What

It's been a great summer! 

Sure, like you, I've had way too much work, a couple of speedbumps here and there, the cancelled long-planned August trip back to Tanzania, and, of course, today the reality of the seasonal rhythm that shuts that door hard on the summa of '23!  Different from my buddy, Red, whose comic strip I read whenever I can, the fall is a great time to be back at work and at school, to be healthy and looking forward to the busiest time in any business year, 

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans