How to Think About Innovation & Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Mon, Mar 31, 2014

Driving back from running one of our boot camps in Rochester last Friday, I decided to stop at the house in (the frozen tundra of) Vermont rather than make the drive even longer by continuing on to the NH beach.  Looking at the house, as I drove in late Friday afternoon, I noticed that there were...

  • Still multiple feet of snow on the ground
  • Still shoveled tunnels of viewing from the bottom floor windows
  • Still 2 foot gashes in the wood tent from whatever chomped into it
  • Still, zero signs of spring

The good ol' boys down at the Winhall General Store are now forecasting that "it's gonna' be a damn short summa'".  "11 months of winta', and one month of darn poor sleddin'" was what my great-grandfather, Horace, a true Vermont pioneer, used to say.

I actually like these long drives through New England.  We have about 400 customers located neatly from Portsmouth to Rochester to Providence, which makes the business compact and effiicient, and the driving long.  Racking up about 1,000 miles a week, I go through a Subaru Outback every 10 to 12 months, but the driving also allows long telephone calls with customers and students plus the opportunity to reflect on both our business and that of our customers. 

Innovation and salesDuring the Rochester to Vermont to NH drive last week, I thought a lot about innovation and how it's affected the world of Sales.  One of our guests at the Thursday-Friday Rochester Boot Camp held at The Entrepreneur's Network, ( asked about what we were evidencing in terms of change in Sales, and the answers that we provided all focused around the words, "effective integration".  

Effective integration of tools, of processes, of sales plans, of metrics,and most importantly of technologies all coming together to "enable" salespeople rather than "control" them.  If early stage SFA and CRM systems were all about controlling data and following up on salespeople, then today's advanced systems from Salesforce and from Microsoft (clearly the two best!), are all about efficiency and effectiveness.  A perfect example of innovation at its best.  Not just a tool.  Not just software.  Not just technology.  But a highly integrated platform of processes, technologies and highly effective integrated apps that transform the average salesperson's work environment from drudgery to excitement allowing the focus of a salesperson's time to be applied to the prospect or the customer and not to the entry or the manipulation of the data.  Very cool stuff and just about to become even more exciting with easy-to-use voice implementation.

So, the question this rainy, overcast Monday on the last day of the month and the last day of the quarter is...  "Just what are YOU going to do for yourself to innovate in Sales?  With the world of Sales rapidly changing at just about the same velocity as the world of marketing has been doing for the past 6 to 7 years, what are you personally planning to do over this quarter that will change the way that you think and act regarding your profession of sales and your interactions with your new prospects and existing customers?  

Perhaps to get your started in thinking about your profession just a bit differently.  Maybe this list doesn't represent true innovation, but it sure beats doing the same thing every day using the same old skills and practices that you've always used.

Jack's 2014 Summer Reading List:

The Challenger Sale
To Sell is Human

Whiteboard Selling

Cracking the Sales Manager's Code
Sales Management & Motivation
Social Media Explained
Social Media for Salespeople
The Art of Social Selling
The End of Business as Usual

Some of these are tried and true old friends which I've recommended before like Cracking the Code and Challenger, while others are recent reads of mine.

Right now, at the beginning of the new quarter, you need to make decisions as to what it is that you're going to do to innovate yourself, your skills and your style of selling.  As you think about this and make those decisions during the next 90 days or so, remember that your customers are probably one step ahead of you.

Give me a call (617-504-4222) or send me an email and let me know how the quarter ended and just how you plan to take the innovation journey this year.  Both I and our readers would also appreciate your own recommendations for the Summer Reading List.

Good Selling today as you crunch down to the end of the month and the end of the quarter!

 Jack Derby 

No better way to start the process toward innovating change than to attend our upcoming Sales Management Boot Camp, April 6th-8th -this Sunday night through next Tuesday.  To learn more...

  1. Click on the icon below for an outline of what takes place.  
  2. You can also click HERE for a more detailed agenda
  3. Or just email me at, for a 10 minute call

Sales Management Boot Camp




Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales planning, sales optomization, sales boot camps