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

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.  https://derbyecenter.tufts.edu/

  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

Startup Basics...You Gotta Sell Some Stuff!

Two years ago, I met the well-known Provost of Research at Tufts, Simin Meydani, and she had a question. 

Not about her 10 years of ground-breaking nutrition research on healthier living, reducing cancer risk by 25%, increasing life span by 50% and reducing weight gain, but a technical question on company formation.

As a result of that discussion and hundreds of others, we launched FulLife Nutrition  with two other co-founders who are deep into the science of nutrition, FDA regulations, the early-stage engineering of food, and, of course...marketing.  We then extended our unpaid team to startup food and beverage experts from the many people in the Tufts food and beverage community.

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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

Folklore, Forecasting & Punxsutawney Phil

Today it's all about Punxsutawney Phil!

The famous prognosticator has been making weather predictions from his Gobbler’s Knob home in Punxsutawney PA since 1887.  And with Groundhog Day 2024 here this morning, the pressure is on for Phil to once more deliver his prediction about how many dark and icy days are ahead.   

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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

I love dark days and black ice!

I've lived in Vermont for a very long time.  At various times, that has been for a few years, but most of the time, it's back and forth every week driving the triangle between my tiny VT town of 729 people, the NH beach where I live, and Boston or Tufts where I work.  A bit of driving, but I love what I do, and as a New Englander, I've learned the realities of living in the winta' with dark days and black ice.  As a snowboarder, I will often meet people on the chairlift on one of those very few perfect blue-sky days who would talk about how wonderful it would be to live full time in Vermont. Since I've done that twice in my life-plus my family has lived in this valley for 7 generations-I always point out with my best artificial Vermont accent... "looks beautiful today on a perfect Saturday with beautiful people on the slopes, but it ain't this way most dark days in January".

 

 

Gotta Love the Rhythm 

  • There's always the seasonal rhythm, and winta' is always going to be dark and cold in NE!
  • There's also the rhythm of business, and January will always require sales plans! 

Debating the NE winta' compared to the summa' is trivial by comparison to the rhythm of business, but it does provide a healthy if slightly tedious conversation path of getting through January and February. My personal attitude is that the weatha' is what it is, and I can either be positive and use my Vermont grandfather's phrase that there's no such thing as bad weatha', only bad clothes, or I can be miserable and grumpy for 25 percent of the year, which is, I remind myself, 25% of my life.  I choose to be positive, so I end up burying myself even more intently into our sales and marketing consulting work and into our entrepreneurship center at Tufts.

Thinking through the rhythm of business...

I know from years of data, hundreds and hundreds of company examples and thousands of salespeople, that everything we put into detailed tactical planning in January and February will pay off in the second quarter, which I regard as the most important quarter of the year. It's this time of the year in the rhythm of annual B2B sales planning that the large-scale strategies are brought down to the street level by creating detailed monthly and quarterly tactical planning. It's this level of detail that defines every "A" level salesperson.  Those superstars have...

  • detailed week-by-week action plans continuously updated in their CRM 
  • 30-60-90 day Key Account Plans for the 20% of accounts that will bring in 80% of quota
  • detailed playbooks for each of their primary products . 


it's All About the Planning

As anyone knows who has followed this blog for a while, I'm a devoted student of the teachings of Sun Tzu, and as I think about my own planning for the rest of this month even with only a few more days, I am reminded this morning of...

Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow...they have form but are formless. They are skilled in both planning and adapting and need not fear the result of a thousand battles: for they win in advance, defeating those that have already lost.

 

I certainly don't have the creds of Sun Tzu or even his ability to put into a few words the summation of his successful battle practices.  Instead, I just updated last year's edition of "Writing the Winning Sales Plan", which you can download by clicking here which will then bring you to our sales productivity web page. 

 

You can download there...or just connect with me at anytime at jack@derbymanagement.com. 

The bottom line for this cold and rainy day in Boston is that if you can prioritize the detailing of creating individual sales plans for your own team members and the creation of playbooks on your own part as the manager, I will guarantee you a successful 2024!   

Have a great day selling today and a superb weekend! 

www.derbymanagement.com  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.

 


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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning

The Marketing of Prostate Cancer

For a cold Friday morning at the end of a very busy and shortened week, hopefully the title of this morning's blog gets some attention...because it should.  Terrible news with what has occurred over the last two weeks regarding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's complications from his prostrate surgery.  He has already stated that there are actions he should have taken that would have provided better communication and better met protocols. 

 

And unfortunately, given the current Washington environment of rabid finger-pointing and heightened political back-stabbing, there are now calls for his resignation.   

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

Writing a 2024 Business Plan is Wicked Tough Work!

The first time I heard the phrase "business plan" was when I was purchasing manager of a division of Becton Dickinson.  That exercise given to me by the Controller was actually to just set prices on 10,000+ components for the year ahead. 

Click HERE for the 2024 edition of Writing the Winning Business Plan

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Making Tough Choices, Teaching at Tufts University, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning