The Profession of Sales

I'm love being a salesguy!. I love what we do in our consulting practice working with companies in the rapidly changing environments of Sales and Marketing, plus the fact that I can explore those practices even more intently by teaching both subjects at the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts provides a perfect flywheel of experiences with highly  positive results.  Personally, I can take out of the classroom and labs new ideas and bring them into our customers while many of our customers take advantage of three-month deep dives in perfecting their planning with my student teams of juniors, seniors and grad students. 

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales Hiring Perfectly, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Jack's 3 Rules to his Graduating Students

Not sure how we got here so quickly, but here we are at the 12th week of a 13 week semester with all that's left being the end-of-semester final Marketing presentations of the student teams to their company managers over the period of the next two weeks. Those 90 minute presentations accompanied by detailed marketing plans account for 40% of the students' semester grade, and that 40% is determined by the company manager graded on the basis of how the student teams of five or six met their objectives.  All very exacting, all very real-world, all real-life detailing of Marketing strategies, tactics and accompanying expenses.  The reality of the hard work accomplished by the students is what's exciting for me and keeps me motivated.   

It's been a demanding, complex, fun and very exciting semester   The Science of Sales course has one more content week, and then their final presentations and detailed sales plans will unfold through the balance of the month into the first week of May.   

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

All The Marbles Today

This afternoon's Finals of the Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition started with 100s of February applications and countless hours of expert advice from hands-on-coaches which then moved to 30 Semi-Finalists three weeks ago and today will come down to the judging of 15 finalists for all of the marbles.  Along that path, our distinctive expertise in applying our own brand of "Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us"is the uniqueness that we provide at The Derby Entrepreneurship Center.


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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Rhythms & Taint

On a particularly cold, wet and gray Vermont morning as I look out at the remnants of the two feet of snow earlier this week in addition to it being the last selling day of the quarter on Good Friday before Easter Sunday, I've was thinking a lot about "rhythms" on the drive up from Boston last night.  Take Easter for example since everyone including me has been commenting on "how early Easter is this year", the simplest way to explain the date of Easter is that it falls on the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox.  Bottom line is that it's more complicated than that, but the simple fact is that there is a definitive rhythm to setting the date of Easter.  Next time it will be on March 31st btw will be 2086. 

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning

Entrepreneurship for the rest of us!

An extraordinary day last Friday at The Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts watching, listening, reviewing and commenting on the semi-finals for our annual $100K Business Plan Contest.  Just as college basketball ramps up for March Madness, so do we accelerate for the biggest event on the Tufts campus for The Finals on April 5th.

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

We Run to the Fire!

This afternoon at Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, we will hold the semi-finals of our annual $100K Business Plan Contest, which is our flagship event drawing hundreds of applicants from across all the schools of Tufts from Engineering to Medicine, Dental, Veterinary, Nutrition, Arts & Sciences, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy and the Tisch College of Civic Life.  To get to this point of the second level of judging which will take place in three categories: 

  • General Entrepreneurship, which is mostly tech,
  • Social Impact 
  • Healthcare & Life Science...

...these entrepreneurs have undertaken countless hours of prep on their own, formally with our EIRs and informally with our professors and advisors many of whom are Tufts alums who have been through this process as entrepreneurs. 

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Business Planning

Marketing & the Importance of Events in an AI world!

In today's lightning-paced world of marketing, do events and conferences still hold a significant position in your marketing toolkit?

While they demand meticulous planning and often represent a hefty chunk of your customer acquisition cost, the answer is a resounding YES—events are indispensable!


In my continuing quest this year to simplify the definition of "What's Marketing?", what I absolutely know is that the essence of Marketing's success lies in one basic principle: "Generate qualified leads that yield desired outcomes at the lowest sustained cost!"

No fluff. No vague terminology. Just results-driven results, measured by expense over numbers of days.

If we opt to include events in our marketing arsenal, acknowledging their substantial cost, we must exercise even greater discipline: 

  1. Direct Sales Capability:
    Events should offer opportunities for immediate product sales. Consider a recent B2C pop-up event for our Tufts entrepreneurs, where hundreds purchased products, providing both revenue and valuable feedback.

  2. Uniqueness: Stand out from the crowd! Whether it's a symposium on climatetech or an annual conference, differentiation is key. I recall how HubSpot, in its infancy, captivated attention with everyone wearing orange jumpsuits and providing short innovative demos using iPads.

  3. Expense Management: Beyond venue and fees, scrutinize necessity.  Ask: "How many attendees are essential?" and "Do all sales representatives need to attend?"  Rationalize expenses to maximize ROI.

  4. Defined KPIs Consensus: Establish clear, measurable goals. Determine prospect interest indicators, follow-up protocols, messaging strategies, and conversion rates—all within a rapid time frame. Without strict KPIs, event participation lacks purpose, and just maybe, you shouldn't attend at all.

This week's highlights showcase the power of impactful events:

At my Wednesday's Tufts Marketing class, we were honored to host David Meerman Scott, renowned for his expertise encapsulated in our course bible:  "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" His visit was nothing short of transformative, from AI insights to engaging anecdotes about The Grateful Dead.

The session was met with enthusiastic participation, culminating in a standing ovation—a testament to David's unmatched prowess in the field.

In my two decades of teaching marketing, David stands out as an unparalleled luminary in the field.

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Tags: Teaching entrepreneurship, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Leap Year, March 1st & Q1 Sales Quotas

Unless you're one of the 362,900 people in the U.S. born on yesterday's Leap Day, like rapper JaRule or motivational speaker Tony Robbins, the day was "just a day", except, of course for all of us salespeople with only one more month to meet our Q1 Quota. 

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

Sales & the Zen of Cabinet Making

For a salesguy, yesterday for me was a perfect day!

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, 2024 Sales Planning

3 Things to do in Sales about Market Volatility in '24 !

The end of a week during which what was to be a major Nor'easter here in Boston with 6"-12" of snow ended up as rain with a day of cancelled meetings and closed schools.  On the other hand, my normally quiet 3- hour Thursday night drive to Vermont following my Tufts Science of Sales course turned into an unexpected 5-hour white-knuckle crawl last night marked by wind-swept snow which at times just blanked out everything. 
Half way through Q1, there’s been no shortage of storms so far this year whether those disruptions have been the weather, the overhang from 2023 of economic uncertainties, the wars, the distractions of Washington politics, or even "the normal"  February concerns that we all encounter at this time of year as we think through how we can shock-proof our 2024 sales plans. 

 In any period of heightened volatility...  

  1. Focus only on what you can control.
  2. Require increased detailed sales planning.  
  3. Increase the commitment to sales training. 
During this critical quarter in an age of volatility, no one in sales management can afford to "watch and wait"!  
1. Focus only on what you can control!  "Results-Objectives-Activities"
As salespeople and sales leaders, none of us can control results!  In fact, none of us can control either our objectives or our KPIs.  The only thing that we can absolutely control is our Activities.  In our own work we define this as a "30-60-90", in which we want to see week-by-week planning for the next 30 days, an outline for the following 60 and just a general structure for the 90 day outlook.   

2. Create a Sales Playbook!
The 30-60-90 day activity plans, presented by the salespeople in half-day monthly QBRs, will take care of themselves as all you need for your activity plans.  Now add to that, a detailed sales playbook for the balance of the year.  No different than any playbook for sports, music, surgery or any disciplined activity plan where the stakes are extraordinarily high and the deciding factor for success is in the detailed following of a process, the use of the correct tools, the review of the resulting analytics and the requirement for certified training. 

Creating a solid first-time playbook should take you a weekend.  You could rough it out tomorrow.  We are all-in with our partners at HubSpot ("1 Single Source of Truth"), and here's a great place to start thinking about the basics of what goes into a playbook.  Connect with me for additional ideas, but this is a great place to start! 

3. Commit to a different type of Sales Training!
No, this is not the deadly 8 hours of sales bootcamp training.  Maybe you've done this in the past, maybe you have something planned for the summer.  This is different.  It is focused monthly skills training accomplished in 120 minutes during the first one of two days of each month.  Hands-on skills training with an active in-class engagement exercise which is dissected and discussed with an outside highly skilled expert sales trainer.  

Have a great weekend! The sun is now up, and it's a balmy 24 here in Vermont, so I'm off to deal with the 6 inches from last night.  Great exercise and a good way to clear my head before more sales calls for the day!




You can click here for this brand new  "Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024", for a few ideas on structure, sales models, process, a number of productivity tools and how to hire.  

BTW, I always have tens of the best associate-level juniors and seniors available for an internship this summer or a full-time job in June.  Through our 28 instructors at the Center, we can provide highly personal recommendations for jobs in Finance, Marketing, Sales, Product, and Computer Science.  Give me a call,  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.

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