Gettin' your fingers in the dirt

This time of year, in between Zoom and Team calls, I've been ankle-deep in the dirt and last weekend's mud in the gardens in both NH and Vermont planting, cutting and weeding.  It's good for the soul and my hyper-sense of organization to be able to dive into the deep end of the mud and "get er done" no matter what the weather...or the business...forecast is.  

  • Right here at the beginning of June, our Q2 business forecast is looking pretty good among all of our clients now working through the details to end with a robust close to the quarter.  Concerns about supply lines and labor unknowns are obviously top of mind, but business forecasts in general seem to be solid for the next four weeks.
  • When I got in the car last night to drive from Boston to Vermont for a day of morning meetings and garden work this afternoon, the weather forecast also looked pretty good, and I planned my calls and meetings for the day around that forecast.  Early this AM, it's a raw 55 degrees and pouring rain, but somehow the outside work still needs to be completed between lawyer calls at 10, a weekly Team meeting at 11 and a F2F 3:00  new client meeting this afternoon.  

Bottom line is that weather forecasts change all the time, and of course, we have zero control, but yet, the work still needs to be completed.  Business plans and sales forecasts go through just as many variations as the unknowns of the weather, but at the end of a week like today and the end of the quarter in less than four weeks, sales quotas still need to be met and operating plans and product commitments completed just as we forecasted. 

IMG_0596As anyone who has seen my Vermont woodlot, everything is "neat & tidy" especially in the spring and summa'.  That organization allows me ready access to a season's worth of kindling and two of the four cords of wood I burn every winter. 

Having everything organized and "in its place" is the way I work out in the woods and also in my management consulting work since that level of organization allows me to have "extra time" when the weather changes or in the case of work, unexpected client speed bumps occur.

Sales & Marketing in the 2nd half of 2021

All of which brings me to planning what the second half of this year will look like working in an increasingly  hyper-intensive, high-tech world of Sales and Marketing.  Given the huge amount of change in the marketplace and the ever-increasing detail required in running any sales or marketing organization, my belief is that we all need to get our fingers even deeper into the dirt and the details of operating the mechanics of what it takes to be successful through the balance of this year.

Most probably, we all know of Willie Loman in the play The Death of a Salesman, and his realization 50 years ago that the world of selling had changed and was leaving him behind, and that a smile and a shoeshine didn't matter as much as it had when he started out.  When he began selling, Willy noted... "and when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want...a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine".  But with more and more competition and more and more years of selling the same way, he was fired after being told "Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything anymore".

Bottom line is that the processes and the tools we use today in Sales and in Marketing have nothing to do with what "Relationship Selling" (which is the technical term for those who care) was back in the day of Willie Loman.  In fact, today's processes, tools and technologies have little to do with selling and marketing "back in the old days" of 2019.  The weather changes and business environments change, and therefore forecasts change, but unlike Willie Loman, we all need to be ready for more and more change in our selling and marketing tactics as a result of what has occurred over the last 18 months.  

Next week we will release our new edition of Writing the Winning Marketing Plan, which is more reflective of a "how-to" book and the need to get deep into the dirt.   

Have a great day selling !

If you're interested in how to plan for a very impactful June and a dynamic end to the quarter, click HERE for our just updated Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2021. 

Also, if you're interested in becoming a project for our fall semester course, "The Science of Sales" and working with a team of gifted juniors, seniors and grad students, just connect with me, and we will quickly set up a call.  These projects can range from full sales plan for a product or the entire business to detailed research with recommended action plans for sales models, hiring and comp plans or channel work...or anything else  you need...just needs to be complex.

Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach


If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time. 

Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a pretty good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. 

Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.





Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales effectiveness, sales management training, marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan