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

Myth: If you build a better mousetrap, they will come.

We've all heard the adage about the better mousetrap and buyers beating a path to the door.  In fact, the U.S. patent office over the years has issued more than 4,400 patents for "better" mousetraps, and my guess is that over my years of owning houses, my choices always seem to come down to two: the old-fashioned, dangerous, lose-your-finger, spring traps and the myriad of make-you-cringe newer glue traps.  4,400 ideas reduced to just a couple of choices and actual buying decisions typically being made in the aisles or on the websites of Home Depot and ACE based on colors, brand names, fonts, images of dead critters, and anonymous reviews citing "better, "faster" and "more humane".   

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, how to write a marketing plan, Making Tough Choices, how to write a sales plan, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Teaching entrepreneurship, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

In the heat of the summer, it's still about the math

When I was in junior high school, it was obvious to me and to my parents that I was not doing well in math.  As a result, every Saturday morning was spent at the house of Mr. Sampson, the head of the high school math department, who served as my tutor taking me from basic addition to more complicated algebraic formulas resulting in a slow rewiring of my brain.  Math Saturdays took place all year including when the family returned from the beach in August, and I still remember walking back and forth to Mr. Sampson's house in the sweltering heat of the summer.  To a large degree, the rewiring process worked...although not so well according to my CFO friends.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Inboound, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning

You can't plan results!


Jack, "The Planning Guy", who relentlessly talks about planning, making a religion about planning everything, every process, every marketing and sales activity now headlining today's blog about not planning results?  Maybe just a bit too much sun on the NH beach over the long weekend!  What gives?

what gives is that none of us, including the Celtics, can "plan" results.  

  • We can define the results we want, and hope for those results.
  • We can create sales and marketing strategies which are only initiatives and directions.
  • We can detail objectives, metrics and KPIs, often in way too much detail.

But when it comes down to the men and women who are at the tip of the spear specifically as salespeople, who are on the phone, on the street, and in their offices touching and reaching out to real customers and prospects, although "strategies" and KPIs may be important guidelines, they are somewhat meaningless without a 30-60-day action plan.  

  • I can talk about, hope and pray for results.
  • I can use objectives and KPIs as boundaries. 
  • But I can only plan actions!

Too often, we surround our salespeople with too much.  Good intentions, all aimed at the common objective of making our number, but too often we leave out the requirement of action planning at the detail level. 

We attempt to teach them about strategy, and too often end up just creating confusion.  We surround them with sales theories, new systems and out-of-date sales books.

We love to have weekly team meetings, which are important, of course, but then waste 50% of that time telling them stuff that could have been better handled in a pre-meeting video prepping everyone for a more productive meeting to discuss go-forward 30-day action plans and sharing best practices. 

In our own work, we ask for week-by-week 30-day plans for 60 days built on a uniform, easy-to-complete template which then becomes part of our tool set kept in our Hubspot CRM so that there is only one source of truth.  This also makes everything accessible by everyone since what we are really looking for is the sharing of best practices and best tools among all of the sales team whether that's 5 or 50 people. 

One of our very best and most successful heads of sales that we've worked with, Colleen Honan simply calls it "Planning the Plan".  We term it "30-60's" where we want to see the following bullets in a template that should take 30 minutes a week to complete and discuss with the manager.

  • Weekly schedules for 2 weeks
  • Weekly KPIs on the critical sales process numbers of calls, visits, discoveries and closed deals
  • Short action-based text of a paragraph or two related directly to that month's objectives
  • Additional resources in people or expense that are needed to meet the objectives 



Check out our updated sales productivity site page.  Just page down to get our new edition of Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023.  Or you can just email me, and I will send you a free copy.  Connect with me at any time for some quick ideas and feedback. There's never a cost for a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about Sales & Marketing.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.












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

Sales Basics Taught by my Students

Today is the last of the 11 Marketing and Sales project presentations for the semester.  Should be very interesting considering the team is mostly engineering graduate students, and they have been hard at it for 13 weeks in our Science of Sales course stretching beyond the confines of building out the details of a sales plan to the rounding out of a fuller business plan.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, Derby Entrepreneurship Center

The Taxman & the Quota Boss come calling today!

It was 1966, and the Beatles released Taxman with George Harrison as the lead singer.

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

Just what is Inbound Sales & Marketing?

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. 

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, Making Tough Choices, Inboound, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning

Sales Success is about Sales Math

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" 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: 

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

Always a tough Tufts question..."So, just what is marketing?

Gearing up for re-entry into the Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts since in four weeks, I'll need to accelerate from my normal 70 mph day-to-day Derby Management work to 110 mph at Tufts. 

That faster pace and my personal excitement of Tufts are the result of the tight integration of my teaching marketing to 36 juniors and seniors who are already signed up in six person teams working on six complex semester-long marketing projects.  Of these six projects, three are well-known companies to Derby Management, one is an emerging company begun by one of my alums, another is a startup from a very well-known nutrition scientist here at Tufts, and the remaining is a fascinating consumer healthcare product.   

The bottom line of the kickoff on September 7th is that full marketing plans complete with research, strategies, tactics, detailed recommendations and budgets will be presented to their customers for grading during the first week of December.  

The 1st class begins with "So, what is Marketing?"

The class actually begins with a 15-minute, rapid-fire, standup 15 question quiz on one of the summer assignments which is to complete what I call "a beach read" of David Meerman's Scott's iconic, 8th edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR. 

That exercise is then followed with my favorite question which I always ask in my kickoff class at Tufts and at MIT.  It's a very simple question, and for me a very simple answer, which I do not provide until the whiteboard is filled with answers from the students which typically include words such, "convincing", "selling", "social media", "ads", "PR", "branding", "lead generation", "pricing" and even a few negative words like "tricking" and so on.

Marketing is Everything!

I always go back to the iconic Marketing is Everything article written by Regis McKenna, one of the most influential marketers in history, and one of the small number of individuals who began what is today known as Silicon Valley.  I find that the underlying premise of this 30-year-old article is even more critical today given the explosion of choices everyone has in their marketing strategies, tactics, platforms, tools and apps, most of which are powered through AI and bots. 

And let's not forget that the hyper-crowded graphic above is only martech and does not include radio, TV, snail mail, billboards or trade shows which continue to have a major role in what we call "marketing"!

The good news is that marketing is everything!  The bad news is that marketing is everything!  And many non-progressive marketers continue to believe that what they did five years ago, or even last year, is still relevant or sales productive today. The reality is that it may be, likely it is not.  

Many of us believe we're pretty good singers in the car or the shower, but only a tiny 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% become paid singers.  It's the same with marketing which is why I teach the subject since it's constantly being updated, and the true job of any good marketer is to figure out the highest impact at a cost that fits into a budget that drives sales qualified leads. The result is as simple as that, which is why we always measure CAC as one of our top three primary metrics.  The complexity comes in the making of the choices.


marketing Success is making choices...and measuring everything!

The exciting part of our course is the ability to learn and experiment in real time.  The students can set in motion the marketing tactics of ads, social channels, PR and which blogs and which events have impact and be able to measure all of that in their Hubspot marketing platforms.  All the incoming students must be certified in Inbound Marketing at the beginning of the semester. 

Just some thoughts for a late Friday morning to think about over what looks like a spectacular summer weekend, which will find me walking across the street to the NH beach. 

At any time, if you want to discuss your own sales and marketing planning for the rest of this year, just connect with me for some quick ideas and feedback. There's no cost to a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about this new rapidly changing world of sales and marketing.  It's nothing like the old days of 2020!  In the meantime, take a look at our 2022 edition of "Writing the 2022 Winning Sales Plan" , or our Writing the Winning Marketing Plan in 2022.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 





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Tags: sales planning, marketing effectiveness, HubSpot Tips, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, marketing plans, marketing planning, 2020 sales plans, 2022 sales planning, 2022businessplansuccess, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts

Acceleration-3 Steps to Improve

Two thirds of the way through this superb summer and plenty of time left to take a bit of vaca, squish the sand between the toes, pack those gotta-read-this-summer books into the beach bag, and in general just prepare yourself physically and mentally for the wicked fast acceleration into the first week of September. 

The Dog Days of August occur  when everyone realizes that the beginning of the summa' has passed them by, and now there's just five weeks left to take some time off and do that forced relaxation thing.  Forget trying to find anyone in France or Italy, and the same applies to any venture or PE person in the U.S, who all seem to be hiding out on Nantucket. It is what it is, and September will be here soon enough.  To a degree, who cares, since this is all about you, so right now, this morning, click open your calendar and just mark off all the days you can with the words "beach", "golf", "kids" or "nothing".  You won't get another chance since when it's over, it's over 

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Tags: HubSpot Tips, Tufts ELS program, Tufts internships, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales plans for 2018, Tufts Entrepreneurship