Eat the Frog...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Jun 03, 2015

strategic_planning-2Trust that you finished the month on Plan and are now racing toward the all-important end of the quarter.  I always enjoy this second quarter since it's that perfect time of year to...

  • ...balance future strategies with quarterly tactics for Q3 and Q4
  • ...assess what's working and what's not for the medium term
  • ...invest in your "Best Practices" for the balance of this year
  • ...add more tactical, hands-on skills and management training
  • ...and, of course, make the tough but necessary structural and people changes

All adjustments, that if made now, will have a huge impact on the September through December period when you'll need all of the cylinders of your well-oiled machine working together perfectly.

My recommendation last week was to have the senior management team, or the sales management leadership, take "a time out" for one or two days this or next week, while the results of May are still fresh in your mind, and you're feeling the heat of getting to the end of June..on time and on plan. The idea is to take a breather for a day-as a team, simply because more heads are better than one-and step out from your personal craziness for just 10 hours. 

  1. Everyone reviews all of the January through May metrics before coming to the offsite.
  2. An agenda is circulated 4 to 5 days before
  3. THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS are put on the table
  4. You exit with total consensus and defined homework where you cannot get to agreement


eat_the_frogEven if you're dealing with tactical battle plans for the next six months, step back and make sure that you get on the table, THE REALLY BIG QUESTIONS for discussion and debate, and that you totally exhaust yourselves on getting to the answers and, most importantly, to absolute agreement. No BS; no one rolling their eyes to the ceiling; no one going outside the room saying something that they would not say inside the room.

"Eat the Frog" first since it's most likely going to be the most difficult sales planning issues that you need to solve. At meetings like this, there simply can't be left any "elephants in the room; or "800 pound gorillas" lurking under the conference room table ready to rip someone's head off if they should bring up...

  • The lack of management trust issue
  • The CEO is always right (and the loudest) problem
  • The fact that one of the senior team is over his/her head   
  • Sales productivity (actual to quota) is way out of line

Eat the Frog by putting the most difficult issues on the table first, and deal with them head on...and completely

  • What will it take kick up your sales productivity by another 25% over the next 6 to 18 months?
  • What do you need to do to optimize your marketing tactics even more than you have already?
  • How do you break down the internal silos and stop the stupidity of departmental rivalries?
  • Do you have the right management structure...and take your business plan to another level?
  • How do you create a culture of personal accountability and responsibility within the Sales & Marketing teams?
  • What will it take to have the team run rather than walk and create a faster urgency?
  • What does it take for your brand and to become REMARKABLE?

Since if you're not dealing with the frogs, the elephants and the gorillas, you need to ask yourself..

..."What's the value that I'm adding as a manager, anyhow?"

GOOD SELLING with three more weeks to go in the quarter!  

Have specific sales questions that you want to bounce off me or any of our other coaches, just email me, and we'll set up a time to talk.


 Jack Derby 


Head Coach  
Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaching

Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

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tufts_logo_2-resized-600I'm starting to get prepared for my fall marketing course...

Each semester I look for six complex marketing assignments that are given to five person teams of juniors and seniors as semester-long projects. All of the course material during the semester is then taught around these projects. Right now, I'm looking for four additional companies.

A syllabus along with the project outlines is sent to the students in early July with the requirement that they do research on the companies and quickly define in writing before they come to the first class during the first week of September, exactly why they should be accepted into the class to work on any of these particular projects. This is a very desired course, and currently, I have 46 students signed up among the categories of Registered, the official "Wait List" and then the longer, unofficial "Wait-Wait List"., I need to bring total attendance down to no more than 32 by the end of the first class in September, and the summer homework of reviewing the company assignments, doing research on the companies and completing reading assignments constitute the means through which I measure the motivation and commitment of students coming into the course.

The structure of the process always works, and, most importantly, very often this course becomes the most influential in the students' college experience, simply because of the fact that it introduces them to the inner workings of senior management teams who are dealing with the real life experiences of launching new products, assessing market opportunities and creating multi-faceted marketing campaigns.

Paige Dahlman, this extraordinary student from last semester, who is now a just-graduated senior and has been the Captain of the Tufts Squash Team, writes..." I can easily say that this was my most rewarding class at Tufts".  Each semester I get a number of similar notes, which, I hope points a little bit to my teaching style and to the content, but, I know that the most impactful component of this course is its unique structure of directly connecting bright students to work with senior management teams who have a need to explore a new marketing or product idea.  

Recently, I was awarded the School of Engineering Teacher of 2014-2015, but the award really goes to the students and to the unique structure of this class working with real companies and management.


We've now completed 84 projects covering a wide spectrum of markets, projects and company sizes which have ranged from Raytheon and Fidelity, to startup tech, healthcare and apparel companies, to well-established consumer companies, such as Paytronix and Stratton Resort, both of whom were looking for the unique perspectives of Millennials. One company has returned six times, four companies, four times...and so on. 

And no one has been disappointed!

No Later Than June 15th, Please...

June_15 If you're interested in applying to be part of this very rewarding project, just let me know by email NO LATER THAN JUNE 15TH, and I will send you the instructions of what is expected of both the companies and the students.  At the end of the semester, the company's management  teams will come to Tufts for 60 minute presentations where they will also receive all of the  project material, research data and recommendations that have been prepared.   

This deadline of June 15th does not mean that the project details need to be completed by that time.  You have until September 1st do that. 

 What I do need to do is to be able to send to the students in early July a syllabus along with a package of information that includes...

  • A paragraph or two on the company and especially on its customer focus. 
  • Who are the existing customer personas?
  • An outline, in as much detail as you can provide, of the assignment.  
  • Contact information of the project leader 

It's a superbly rewarding experience...

Both for you in the added depth that you will achieve in your marketing plans, and for the students as they become introduced to the senior management from real world companies.  In a number of cases, our students go on to work as interns and employees from their host companies. 




Tags: closing sales, business planning, business coaching, business plans, best sales practices;