Plan for Success in Sales:  Teach, Coach & Certify

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Apr 21, 2017


It all comes down to 50 minutes

In life, in Sales, and in teaching, there are always deadlines. 

tufts Marketing spring 2017_edited.jpgWednesday, one of those deadlines was evidenced in 50 minute final exam presentations days at Tufts.  After 12 weeks of content in the brand new Sales course and in the nine-year-old Marketing course, Wednesday was the day when the first two teams of Sales students and the three teams of Marketing students presented their findings, reams of research and their detailed sales and marketing recommendations to the management of their project companies. 

We'll do the same thing to the same rhythm next Wednesday, and then another semester will be over.  During the summer, I'll spend a big chunk of time on the beach refining and re-calibrating for the fall semesters at Tufts and at MIT, where I've had the privilege of working with Professor Chun for almost 20 years.  For me, all of this is a lot of fun, a fair amount of hard work and always some level of anxiety, which keeps me on the competitive edge, which is exactly why I teach...since I continue to believe that I'm just a student of the very exciting worlds of sales and marketing.

tufts Marketing OTB 2017.jpgAt Tufts, half of the grade for the semester comes from me, while the other 50% is determined by the management of the companies that provide the projects who assess criteria such as...

  • Did the student team deliver the required marketing or the sales plan objectives as planned?
  • Were the specific research or pricing or tactical implementation requirements met?
  • Did the market research and customer surveys validate the activity detailing?
  • Did the forecasting and expense budgeting criteria stand up to reality?
  • ...and a long list of other objectives

The bottom line of the semester so far...  

  • Everyone, including me, learned something over the last three months of hard work.
  • There was a fair amount of coaching which took during class and around campus about Marketing and Sales, about life, and about the process of finding high-paying jobs, which, for me, is one of the most important measurements of the output of these courses.
  • Everyone became certified through the course requirement of becoming Hubspot certified, through the various case studies and presentations that occurred during the semester, and, of course, as a result of the final grade given by me and the management of the various companies.

Teaching, Coaching & Certifying

This weekend, as you think through where you are in meeting your Q2 sales quota, you might want to assess the level of teaching,  coaching and certifying that you are being provided/are providing as a salesperson or as the sales coach in your company.

  • In teaching, there are set times and parameters for content delivery in the classroom.  In my case, it's two three hour time blocks every Wednesday. 

    I know exactly what you're thinking right could not devote that amount of time to provide formal classroom level (online or in-house) training for your salespeople.  OK, I might buy that, but having said that, what is the time that you can afford?  If it is not three hours per week, it should not be zero hours per month, and yet, when you look at the data of hours (four hours a quarter) and dollars ($2,000 per year) actually spent in B2B companies per salesperson, it is dismally low.  My observation on this is that it should then be no surprise to discover that last year the overall B2B quota attainment was only 57% nationally.
  • As employers and consumers, we certify and re-certify auto mechanics, docs, pilots, air-conditioning specialists, police, purchasing agents, food inspectors, athletes and hundreds of other professions. 

    When was the last time that you certified your salespeople?  Why is that?  Do you think that salespeople simply "know everything" there is to know in the science of sales?  Do you actually have a formal in-house training program to achieve "Selling the [your company name here] Way"? 

    From our experience, the reality in most cases is that for some reason, we perceive that it's simply not necessary, and that our salespeople know everything there is to know about the science of sales.   Why?  "Because they're professional salespeople" is what I hear as an answer, which makes absolutely no sense in this rapidly changing sales ecosystem of Process-Tool-Technologies-Metrics.

    If you want to explore our ideas on the new world of Sales, just click on to our website HERE and take a look at a few of our videos covering a wide variety of sales activities.  Then just give us a call, and we can talk through a few ideas as to how you might want to explore improving your own sales productivity.  We love talking through sales scenarios on the phone, and there's never a cost to the calls.

    This semester in the new sales course, I made it a requirement that all of the students became certified on Hubspot's CRM.  Very simple equation:  no certification, no grade.  Why not make the process of becoming certified as a professional salesperson be the same for your own company?  Just think about the concept, and then very objectively, think about your answer.  I cannot think of any reason that you would require it, but if there is one, you should let me know, which would be another learning experience for me.

    Have a Great Day Selling Today!

    Interested in learning more?  

    Just email me at jack@derbymanagement or any others on the senior partner team.

    George Simmons at

    John Routhier at 


     Jack Derby

    Head Coach  

     Derby Management...for 25 years
     -Sales & Marketing Productivity experts
     -Business & Strategy Planning specialists
     -Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs

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








Tags: sales productivity, Sales Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales training