I first heard the word "entrepreneurship" hanging out for years in the packed seats at MIT's Enterprise Forum every 2nd Wednesday in Room 10/250. At the time, I was running a division of a large corporation and had zero idea of what an entrepreneur really did, or why they did it even though I grew up in a family of multi-generations of parents and GFs and GGFs who did exactly that. We just never used that word, "entrepreneur"
15 plus years ago, I learned the details of a new concept called "Inbound Marketing" from a young startup called Hubspot. Since I had known co-founders Brian and Dharmesh, I started to explore their website that first summer just after we moved to the NH beach. I was amazed that they were making all of their detailed content about these very different strategies to be used in Sales and Marketing available on their site for free. I actually kept wondering when Hubspot would email me with a large invoice for all the content i was using, and then I discovered that providing free expert content itself was one of the pillars of Inbound.
At the time, It made no sense to me to be giving away these jewels of expertise, but I would spend a couple of hours reading with the sun just coming up on the horizon at our new ocean house. I would then print everything out, load it into my beach bag and head out to the sand to devour what for me was an entirely new approach to sales and marketing than what I had learned as a salesguy.
Process, Tools, Technology & Math seemed to me to be much more practical than just "stopping by and bringing Dunkin' & Doughnuts"
Piece by piece over the next year, I began to put these theories into hard practices coupled with Hubspot technology and realized that we could dramatically increase sales productivity for our customers...assuming that they wanted to learn and practice the science...and the discipline...of Inbound.
Very much looking forward to a board meeting, where I'm chairman, this morning at 10:00. As is normal in most companies, positive advances in 2022, a couple of speedbumps and a positive outlook for 2023. Most importantly, we have a management team and directors all solidly focused on both growth strategies and tactics for the year ahead. This morning, management will take us through the operating details of their 2023 business plan following the preliminary plan that they presented for board guidance on December 20th.
Like many of you, I hunkered down for the past three weeks mostly working, plus I fully realized that anything I had to say in a business blog among a well-meaning tsunami of cards, emails and social posts focused on wonderfulness, warm wishes and joyful times would be not important in an important personal time.
Every morning I'm up at 4:30. First, I ask Alexa to play WBZ 1030 Radio, so I get my "5 Things You Need to Know" with the local news plus what I really care about which is the traffic and weather to gauge my travel time from the NH beach to Boston. The traffic is always wicked, so I'm just listening for the big accidents like..."yet another truck got Storrowed early this morning", which if you live in Boston, you know what this means.
I then ask Alexa to "Play Bloomberg News", while I click into my newest edition of the WSJ on my iPad and comb through whatever appeals as interesting articles for the day. Last Tuesday, I stopped on this headline of "Millennials Are Changing What It Takes to Succeed in Sales".
The next day, I was reminded of the same article when one of my most faithful blog readers and repeated entrepreneurs, Jerry Brecher, sent it to me. I'm going to link the article here, but my expectation is that by clicking on it, unless you're a WSJ subscriber, you will not get past their paywall. If you cannot, I would encourage you to hunt down the article and read it thoroughly.
Me & Millennials
I began teaching at MIT 22 years ago and Tufts 17, so where I started in this wonderful profession was initially working with Xers and then mostly with Millennials. Exciting, extremely smart, powerful in their statements and curiosity, very energetic, fast-paced and always questioning to move ahead and make an impact in the world! Clearly in numbers, the largest generation: more than the Boomers who carried that badge since the 1940's.
Never a great math student in junior high school, I was shipped off by my parents to a math tutor every Saturday morning for my time spent in the 8th grade. No wonder I was never one of "the cool kids"...plus I played clarinet in the band. I do wish now that I could thank them profusely for that decision to enlist Mr. Sampson for those fundamental lessons in the basics of math. Today, in my love of "The Science of Sales" (the title of one of my Tufts courses at The Derby Entrepreneurship Center,) much of what I do in the world of improving sales productivity comes down to the math of understanding:
This is going to sell by itself!
Too many times, inexperienced entrepreneurs of all ages will use that deadly phrase. It reminds me of the old Ralph Waldo Emerson cliche of "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door."
In the cold reality of the science of entrepreneurship, most likely that path will be very narrow if it exists at all. As professional marketers, what we all want is for that small path to become a four-lane highway, and what we know is that will occur only through consistent marketing that doesn't talk about the product at all but highlights the value that the product brings. After all, we really don't need a better mousetrap; we just need to get rid of the mice quickly, efficiently and without looking at squished mice caught in an ugly trap.
Tufts classes are now deep into their second week, and my Marketing students are equally deep into their projects with 5-6 students assigned to each. In my consistent theme of "Marketing is Everything", which has been in my head, my writing, and basically everything I do in Sales and in Marketing, all my students are exploring and most importantly beginning to organize what will become fully developed marketing plans 10 weeks from now.
Tags: marketing projects, marketing effectiveness, sales culture, Tufts Marketing, marketing planning, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship
In my 9 prior startups where I've been a founder/co-founder, they've all been in software or healthcare. Those are comfortable markets where I have backgrounds, plus I personally enjoy the complexities of building go-to-market marketing and sales plans in these demanding markets. My forays into consumer products have been limited to a medtech product sold in chain pharmacies and to outerwear apparel working with the genius of legendary CB Vaughn at CB Sports.
Tags: how to write a marketing plan, jack derby professor at Tufts, marketing planning, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts
There are certainly more than a few universities both locally and across the country that feature entrepreneurship programs. In fact, every university and most standalone colleges have an entrepreneurship program from the giants of Babson, where entrepreneurship is their DNA, to the halls of MIT, where I also teach, to excellent programs at BU, BC, UNH and across all the campuses of UMass. Very simply, a university cannot be taken seriously without entrepreneurship studies in their program at some level since. in fact, entrepreneurship is not about tech startups. Real entrepreneurship is about innovation and very few universities are as well-equipped as is Tufts, which is recognized as one of the top research universities in the U.S.
Tags: Tufts marketing projects, interns for marketing projects, jack derby professor at Tufts, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts