2020-a year to be very curious

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Jan 15, 2020

Right now I'm about four hours away from my first Marketing course of this new semester at Tufts, and I never know who's more nervous or excited about the upcoming 13 weeks- me or the students? 

Experience says that it's always me!.

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Tags: sales leadership, sales management productivity, Tufts Entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, 2020 business plans, 2020 sales plans

Today...We Gotta Get Moving!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Jan 09, 2020

The Scores are on the Board!

2019 in review

The scores have been on the scoreboard now for a few days since the official year ended on the 30th, and the final game tapes have been reviewed.  There'll be a couple of minor adjustments made during this week, but the big numbers are already posted on the board!

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Tags: writing a business plan, sales planning meetings, sales success, how to write a sales plan, Tufts Entrepreneurship, writing sales plans

Enjoy Your Entrepreneurial Break !

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Mon, Dec 23, 2019

One does not need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial, so it's with that thought that I share a few ideas to take you through the holidays and hopefully a couple of days off for a much-needed break.   

In the spirit of sharing, the first three of these came to me last week from one of the all-time great entrepreneurs, CB Vaughn, the founder of CB Sports, who revolutionized the world of skiing and championship ski racing by designing and manufacturing outwear that became the market leader in design, while being extremely functional on the hill.  Still today, when people notice that I worked with CB, they will stop and tell me about the first CB parka that they bought, its color, and how they had saved up for a year to make the purchase at top ski shops like Pedigree Sports.

  • Always Inspire !

    Above everything else, inspire your team and your customers to want to do work with you!  At CB Sports, we weren't the biggest, but we were certainly the leading brand in terms of design, quality and functionality!  There was never a question as to the absolute focus on our customers and the value that we provided. Long before the clinical marketing term of "persona" was conceived, we knew exactly who are customers were...and were not. With CB's very strong leadership, all of us from associates to suppliers to retailers were totally driven to focus exactly on the team on the hill.
  • Be Prepared for Your Own SuperBowl !

    During the time that I worked with CB, he had the drive and, most importantly, the discipline of preparation to be able to interpret and translate the smallest detail into the impact and the value that it delivered to our customers. His SuperBowl has always been the customer experience, which, when you think about it should always define our own success in everything we do.
  • 4th & 1: You Don't Need a Playbook !

    In any company, whether it's one of my many emerging startups that we innovate out of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, or it's an established rapid-growth company like CB Sports, there are those critical times when you need to take control of the ball and just drive decisively down the field and win!
  • Entrepreneurship is About Making Change Happen in your own world!

    Growing up as a corporate guy at Becton Dickinson, even though my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father were all very different entrepreneurs, I couldn't spell "entrepreneurship" before I started sitting in the audience at the MIT Enterprise Forum, where years later I became an avid volunteer and a committed board member and chairman. 

    Back-in-the-day, even after working with CB and then starting a company when I returned to Boston, and then another company and another and more, I always thought of entrepreneurship as doing just that. I thought that entrepreneurship was all about starting companies and moving up and to the right from Concept to Team to Structure to Scale to Success. And, while that's somewhat true, that path works only in a tiny 1% of 1% of companies that actually succeed, and even then, it's never a straight line. 

    Of much more importance is our own entrepreneurial ability that's present in all of us to initiate and make change happen in whatever piece of the world where we choose to make it happen! 

    In among the holiday presents, the marvelous food and the travel, I would ask you to take a tiny slice of time and think about mapping out your own entrepreneurial journey for 2020.  I've just completed mine and looking forward to hearing about yours!

    Have a wonderful holiday!
    Enjoy !  Hug!  Be Safe! 
    Make Change Happen!
    Please stay connected! jack@derbymanagement.com 

    Advisor, Derby Management, experts in...
    -Sales & Marketing Productivity
    -Business and Strategic Planning
    WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT




 

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Tags: entreprenurial, entrepreneurship, 2020 business plans, 2020 sales plans

End of the Year- "Git-R-Done"

Jack and Tufts Entrepreneurship Center -1Today, hopefully you're heads down and totally focused on completing the year ahead of plan.  Whether you're in the profession of sales or you're an artist working on delivering the last of the Christmas ornaments, next week is the week when all of the marbles get measured.  Yea, I know...the month doesn't end on the 20th, but for all practical purposes, it really does.  Even if you're planning to work on the 24th and the 30th and 31st, you're going to be very lonely sitting at home talking to no one, so this is the last week to "Git-R-Done!"

As you're lining up calls, connections and closings today while keeping an anxious eye on the disappearing minutes on the clock, keep very focused on just three things:

 

  1. Don't Overthink.  

    Your work today and next week is all about your focus to close deals in five days from today!
    You are not in the business of providing creative strategy or product development solutions for your prospective customer that will impact their business two or three years from now.  You're the solution and business value provider whose company will provide the absolute best products and services that will improve your prospects' 2020 business results by increasing their revenue, their gross profit and their net income.  
  2. Be Human

    With a short countdown till launch of only five days, be human and project your own humanity of  working 10 and 12 hours a day at this time of year to the person on the other side of the table-phone-text-email-videophone.  They're just as stressed as you are and have equally stretched schedules of work, kids, teacher conferences, holiday parties and wicked travel.  Yesterday, it took me two and a half hours just to drive from Logan to the Back Bay...and there were no accidents.  Forget 128/95/495 travel at 7:00 AM or 5:00 PM, but also remember that that's the reality of what happens to your prospect every day.  Be extremely sensitive to that type of reality and assess what it is that you could do personally that would reduce the stress, improve the time efficiency and impact the value that you and your products provide to your buying decision maker?  

    I'm running a two-day business planning session during the first week of January for 16 people.  The real work is the technical stuff related to the prep, the interviews, and the facilitation of the meeting.  I happily volunteered (and was immediately asked to do so) to take care of all of the logistics, hotel and travel reservations, food and everything else freeing up the senior team to focus on closing their year.
  3. Buckle Up

    This is crunch time; it's as simple as that!.  This weekend and the next five days require 100 hours of work, waking up before the kids tomorrow and Sunday and getting in at 7:00 AM and not 8:30 all next week.  
    Do everything you already know how to do and make sure that you're physically and mentally on the top of your game because when it's over, it's over! 
Just a few quick thoughts for this morning. 

Now, get back to work, and have a great day today being remarkable!  

Please stay connected! jack@derbymanagement.com 

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Tags: improving sales productivity, sales planning meetings, sales success, sale management, selling trust, sales motivation, 2020 sales plans

Transitions & Next Chapters...Great time of year to make changes!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Dec 06, 2019

 

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Tags: sales management effectiveness, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales management productivity, Tufts Entrepreneurship, 2020 business plans

10 Lessons in Entrepreneurship from 20 Entrepreneurs!

I've probably listened to, coached or presented in 10-20,000 presentations.

  • Early volunteering and chairing the MIT Enterprise Forum, was my first love!
  • Being involved in the leadership of 4 or 5 other entrepreneurship associations
  •  20 years of teaching at MIT in early stage business planning 
  • 14 years of teaching at Tufts in entrepreneurial marketing and sales 
  •  Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center & Cummings Professor of entrepreneurship
  •  9 of my own startups-a few very good, some just ok, and some "what was I thinking?"
  • A venture guy in three early stage venture firms and chairing Common Angels.
10,000 plus seems to be a good guess over 30 years; it's probably a lot more.

A couple of years ago, when we took over what has now been rebranded as the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, we knew we could most importantly take entrepreneurship to the next level at this extraordinary University with 10 of the highest ranking research schools in the country.  We're really urgent, so we quickly moved ahead breaking more than a few rules along the way always focused on creating the absolute best student experience!

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Tags: Tufts Marketing, marketing interns, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

3 Early 2020 Sales Predictions

Many of us are currently crunching through data, spreadsheets, analytics and forecasts trying to figure out what our operating plans will be for 2020.  Whether it's the almighty CFO continuously prodding us for this information as she assembles the company's financial plan or our sales manager taking even more time out of our already super-packed prospecting week to juggle scenarios, the pressure's on to figure out plans for 2020.  Hard enough as a salesperson, wicked hard as a manager and darn near impossible as the boss, but, who cares?  It is what it is, and what it is is about business planning and forecasting at this time of year in the seasonal cycle of business.   

The weak salespeople and managers will whine, complain and not dive in and do the real hard work of assessing the last 10 months of data and will simply guess.  The pros will sift through the analytics, consult with their peers, sit with marketing and then work directly with the quants in Finance to make sure that what their forecasting works for the department and the company.  Nothing exists in a vacuum!

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Tags: improving sales productivity, writing sales plans, writing business plans

Rod Stewart is Keeping Me Awake!

For the last month, the ageless Rod Stewart's classic Maggie May has been ringing in my head.  "it's late September, and I should be back at school", which was fine for September, but now it's late October, and I'm deep into the busiest season of the year: 

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I'm a brand...and so are you!  3 steps to enhance that brand!

Positive or negative, emphatic or weak, powerful or not, you and I are brands!  

The fact that you're reading this post means that you have already defined some level of brand for me.
  • It could be the Professor Guy, the Vermont Guy, the Sales & Marketing Guy, the NH Surfing Guy, the management consultant guy...or someone else.  The fact is that when you read this post, which now has close to 10,000 subscribers, or you connect with me by phone, text or email, immediately, for a few synapses of a few seconds, you've defined me as a brand.
  • Similarly, for that instant when we do connect, I immediately associate a defined brand for you.  First, for a few milliseconds, I immediately categorize you as a student, a customer, a partner, a prospect or an investment, and then in that same instant, I picture (not really an image, but a composite video blur of a photo, a voice, a job, and an attribute into a definition of you as a brand.

What's the largest selling cereal in the U.S.?

Even with cereal sales slightly declining, Cheerios again and again, tops the list in market share with a strong commanding need.  Even though the specific sub-brand of Honey Nut Cheerios leads the overall family of the various Cheerios brands, in general, the brand reaction that we all instantly make follows a connected chain of links that leads to their well marketed value proposition...

- Cheerios is made from oats
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Tags: branding plans, how to write a marketing plan, how to brand, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, marketing planning, sales management productivity

When you're going through hell, what do you do?

In mid-July, I wrote about doing a first half year review, taking score of where you are and re-planning for the second half of the year.  That tactic of the first half review is used in business, in life, in football, and I'm now just suggesting to do it later this week for everyone working in Sales and now facing the critical 4th Quarter.  Very simply, when the 4th Quarter is finished on the 31st of December, it's game over, and the 2019 numbers are posted for all to see on the scoreboard.  No more time, no more timeouts, no more substitutions, no more injured players, no more excuses.  Done!!!

  • True salespeople, women and men, sales execs or BDRs, district managers or CEOs always know exactly where they are in their revenue metrics.  I'm currently in the critical process of signing up partners to the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, and I don't need to have my head of finance remind me where I am...but she does all the time...because she's a strong manager and a critical partner, and at the end of the day, money is money!   Bottom line is that I'm behind, and I now need to double down in effort, add more time to the sales clock and execute on a couple of new short term tactics. 
  • This week, theoretically there's 13 weeks left in the year, but in the cold hard reality of vacations and holidays, there's really nine. Given that, today, as in Monday, the last day of Q3, you should be totally focused on today, and then on Tuesday, as in tomorrow, immediately shift that focus to Q4 and the remaining 50 selling days left in the year.

Congratulations! to those of you who wake up tomorrow morning knowing that you're ahead of the game for the year, that the team is fully balanced, everyone is trained and amped up for the long drive through the rest of the quarter. 

Like the Pats, it's great to be ahead of the pack!

For those of us behind the curve, me included, it's time to change something since whatever it is that we've been doing for the past 270 days or so has not been working that well, and given current course and speed, the simple math says that nothing will change.  As professionals in the science of Sales, we gave up on the "Strategy of Hope" a very long time ago. It doesn't take that many slaps upside the head from past failures to figure out that the "same old, same old" even with a fresh coat of paint, rarely works.  

TIME to Create a New Game Plan

  •  It's the 4th Quarter which brings with it all of the normal issues of competition, focus, pricing discounts
     and the lack of time on the part of everyone on both sides of the buying and selling table.
  • In this particular 4th quarter, add to the lack of time, the confusion about tariffs, the stupidity of both political parties and the brain-dead media rapidly talking the country into a recession.  But, given the buoyancy of the economy, low unemployment, low interest rates and wheelbarrows of cash still parked on the sidelines, there's plenty of buying power left in corporate America... at least for the short term. 
  •  Today announce that you're gathering the team around the table this Friday morning at 7:30 to spend the entire morning walking through every strategy, every tactic, every contingency scenario and every personnel resource you're going to need during the next 53 days of the quarter.  Give assignments out today so that everyone is prepared and everyone has something to present.

And, btw, wherever you are on whichever side of the competitive edge you are on today, it could be a lot worse!  Imagine if you're a senior manager or are on the sales teams of WeWork, Peloton, Boeing or Juul having to rebuild your entire business model and your product plans.

  • I also think back to the readings of my sales coach, SunTzu, who time and again has pulled me out of the sales doldrums and has givin me immediate short and mid-term focus to the tactical job at hand. 
  • Similarly, Eisenhower's response when after learning on that morning of the highly planned invasion of the beaches at Normandy that everything was disastrously falling apart by the hour, he executed a totally revised tactical plan which quickly got the soldiers off the beaches.  Weeks after, he was quoted with "It's not the plan that's important; it's the planning process.".  
  • And it was from those dark early days of the war when Britain stood alone following the invasion of France and the disaster at Dunkirk that Winston Churchill responded with "When you're going through hell, keep going", followed again and again with "Never, never, never give up".  

Things to do this week:

1. Get that Friday morning planning session together with assignments and concise and impactful tactical presentations focused on the remaining 50ish days.  Don't allow anyone to complain about their lack of time, or those big bad competitors, or the problems with tariffs when in fact, it's most probably the lack of small, focused tactical selling plans that's the real problem.

 

2. Focus on geographies at the Friday planning meeting.  With a small number of days left in the year, we need to focus on streets, not states.  There are 31 NFL cities in the U.S.   The cities themselves  account for 10% of the U.S. population.  The "greater" population directly around those cities equals another 25%.  Go where the customers are and the prospects are going to be. Don't waste time exploring new geographies!  

3. Pick your critical metrics and communicate them every week  Next week institute 30 minute team calls every Monday morning at 7:30, and at the end a day midweek-either Wednesday or Thursday-to discover on a peer-to-peer basis-what tactics worked and the results that came from them.   

Have a great day selling today !

Please stay connected!

Advisor, Derby Management, experts in-
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning
WHAT WE DO AT DERBY MANAGEMENT    

Director, TEC-Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Cummings Family Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship
Spark-Incubate-Accelerate@Tufts
Come to our Events

2019 $100K New Ventures
Cell:  617-504-4222 jack.derby@tufts.edu



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Tags: sales planning meeting, sales leadership, sales management productivity, sales motivation