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

Do More in '24!

Most importantly, the best of the best to everyone for what I believe will be an extraordinary growth year in 2024!  My personal chant driving my own planning is "Do More in '24!". 

"Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024"

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices

Jack's 3 Rules to his Students

Always an interesting time of year in my balancing time between Derby Management customers, Tufts students and this week's final exams, and our portfolio companies.  The simple solution is to sleep less since I've never been convinced that we need all of those hours anyway. [apologies if this recent WSJ article only opens to subscribers]. 

Bottom line:
-get less sleep
-work on the weekends

-only 10 more selling days!

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

The Rubber, The Road & The Days

  • The Days are now only 17 real selling days left in the year.  
  • The Road is a choice to focus on either new logos or upsell/crossell.
  • The Rubber is getting to Quota & President's Club
I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Family, friends and a bit of well-deserved time off not complicated by gifts and pressured only by Mom's Rule of no politics at the dinner table.   Always a great holiday, plus this past weekend seems to indicate very solid retail performance.

Unless I'm deep in the lower half of my sales funnel with deals I've been working on since late September and October, right now, I'm totally focused on upselling existing customers with additional solutions. 

For me, it's a simple equation built around having only 17 available days and being a trusted partner or strategic advisor to our existing customers.  

 

 

A fun example of upselling occurred with me on TDay morning when I showed up exactly at 10:30 at the country club as instructed to pick up the mostly cooked bird and the 6 sides of vegetables, potatoes, and everything else down to the butter and the cranberry sauce.  Greeting me was the club manager, the chef and two other smiling employees who were there to load everything into my car, which I thought was "very nice" of them to do.   Then the manager asked me:  "We also have a very nice wine selection to go with your wonderful dinner", as he pointed to a table of various wines grouped by price at $20, $30, $40 and $50 a bottle.   

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales quota, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning

Time to be Thankful!!!

Yes, first and most importantly, a sincere expression of thanks for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday!  A great time for families and a day or two of decompression before we jump back into the final 20ish days of the year where every point we can put on the board counts.  Enjoy the break, have fun, take a walk in the woods and get ready for the final quota crunch.  The very good news is that as salespeople, we have a lot to be thankful for.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales quota, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Gotta always be planning ahead...even on a Friday!

With around 37 real selling days left in the Q, 90% of our sales and marketing expertise and our rapidly eroding time needs to be spent on pumping, pushing and pulling deals down into the funnel. 

 

The actual closing process at the end of the funnel should be the easy part; it's the prep and the actual selling of the value that we provide that takes the time over the next 37 days.   

 

 

 

 

 

BTW, just in terms of other sales factoids that rattle around in my brain sometimes, did you know that there are more than 30 different B2B closing tactics we could be using? Here's an old video I did back in my sales training days that still has value in its simplicity. My experience is that the very best salespeople are experts in 3 types of closing techniques, and they hone those to perfection all the time!  

 

To make it more direct (I didn't say "easy"). our work as salespeople needs to be always focused not on us and our products, but on the actual business and personal value we deliver.  To help guide you along that path, I have pasted below excellent advice from last week's blog post from my sales-expert friend, and Fractional CRO, Mike Schumann, to provide you with specific ideas that should get you activated in the science and the math of Sales.  Mike's philosophy and hands-on expertise exactly matches our own at Derby Management, where for over a decade we've built customized detailed sales and marketing methods that follow our underlying mantra of "Process-Tools-Technology-Math & People".   When executed completely, the results are productivity improvements of around 25% in less than a year.

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Tags: Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Remember...we're just selling vanilla ice cream!

In a world... where we were struggling two years ago to figure out what "the new normal" would be, and, just when we thought we had done that, we were hit with ugliness of inflation, the media hype of recession, the invasion of Ukraine and now the tragedy of what is happening in the Middle East.  The bottom line of this opening to this Friday's blog is that there's very little right now that any of us can do to change any of these outside influences on our businesses.   

What we should be doing is to take rigid control of what we can control and reduce that to the simplicity of selling vanilla ice cream!

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans