Control What You Can Control

I trust that everyone had a fun and relaxing 4th and was able for a day or two to leave behind the pressures of the office, quotas, politics and geo-turmoil and focus on celebrating this most important holiday with family and friends.  For me, I retreated to my tiny Vermont town of Winhall (pop. 769) where my major decisions came down to painting the second floor deck of the studio and whether it was worth the two mile drive to the general store for milk, or could it wait for another day?

The answers were that the painting could not wait, but the trip to the Winhall General Store was put off for multiple days.  It must be something in the Vermont air because the entire state of Vermont...along with Bernie Sanders... operates at its own pace and nothing a flatlander does or says is going to make any difference in terms of political or financial impact.  Even with 7 generations of Vermonters surrounding me, I always remember "my place" since I was born on the south side of Chicago and grew up in Boston's suburbs even through 5 generations before me were "true' Vermonters".  

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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, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

The Celtics & The Math

Today will be historic in Boston, which, as all of us who live here already know, is a wicked sports town!

Today, Boston will show off that everything-green pride for the Celtics in its Duckboat celebration bringing 1 million people to the city this morning. 

Whether you're in town today or you're watching on your phone this morning or tonight on the evening news, this is about celebrating the best ever in team success!


By taking a look at the Celts' record shattering success resulting in a 4-1 historic win over the Mavericks, there are a number of very solid takeaways for those of us who run businesses and especially sales organizations that you should think about.

  • This success was as much, maybe even more, about creating and living a team culture than individual skills.  Add to that comment about culture, an underlying drive to win that comes from within the team itself rather than from one or two individuals. 

    An Idea: Take a step back when you finish the quarter in two weeks and rate your perception of the team culture of your sales team.  Choose a 1-5 scale and simply write that down adding a couple of notes about why you think that way.  Then ask your sales team to do the same at a work meeting in July.   It may well be that you have a Celtics-level culture.  If you don't, then set out a plan to change.

  • The Celtics win had to do with solving a math problem, They ended with the best offense in the history of the NBA because that's where they deliberately focused one portion of their training figuring out how to high percentage shots.  Sales success is often about who has the most consistent training, and the application of that specific training depends on the math.  Everyone on the Celtics team understands the exactness of the math and where they need to be at any time in the completion of their own specific stats and the metrics of the entire team. That same thought process of understanding the details of the math needs to apply in our case as sales managers relative to where we are in the month, the quarter and the balance of the year.  

    An Idea: In July, spend a day with your sales team and work backgrounds from where you need to be at the end of Q4 and Q3 in your critical KPIs. Most importantly, figure out both the deal and revenue math moving up from the bottom of your sales funnel which is the number of closed deals that your sales plan requires.  As a group, do this math both for the team in total and then have everyone work through their own  math individually. Then work backgrounds as you walk up your sales funnel from the bottom until you get to the top SQL step. Now figure out your conversion rates from step to step and ask yourself whether the numbers make sense, which they may well not as you look out for the next six months. One question then become what's the type of training you can apply beginning now into the early fall. The other question is where do you need to make changes in the team..

  • Take a hard look at your team and figure out where you need to make changes now and bring in new talent. The Celtics excel in their recruiting and training. Interestingly, as a result, they do not have a player who finished in the top five of MVP voting during the season.  On the other hand, what they do have to a person are exceptional performers all unified around their unique culture of winning.

    An idea:  Do a specific sales skills assessment of your individual sales players and ask yourself is it time to make a change and make that judgement on the basis of your own assessment of that person's skills and whether you have the time to put into training and coaching that player to be an "A" level.  If not, it's time to make the change now and not get caught up in the false math that some level of sales from a B- player is better than no sales. That math never works.  Just make the move now and don't look back.  There's plenty of high caliber sales talent available right now. 

Good selling today and enjoy what's going to be a perfectly beautiful and memorable Friday!   


Executing on your Sales Plan in 2024!

After the quarter is finished, for a few ideas on your sales plan for the second half of the year and improving the productivity of your own team, you can click here for our new  "Writing the Winning Sales Plan in 2024", for a few ideas on structure, sales models, process funnels and a number of productivity tools and how to recruit and hire the best.  Or, just give me a call, and we can kick around a few ideas  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.



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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning

It's time to simplify

Tough loss last night for the Celts.  The most polite word, I read this morning in The Globe and heard on 'BZ was "blowout".   

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

The Rhythm of the Seasons

Every spring, everything tumbles and crashes into one another in our business.  It's merely the rhythm of our consulting business when the excitement and optimism of the annual January sales meetings meets the reality of Q1 sales forecasts measured against actual results  Sometimes up, sometimes down, but never exactly as was planned, which then results in increased business for us at the firm.  It's just the rhythm of our business which always seems to align itself with the seasonal calendar rhythms of the year. 

Add to this cyclical rhythm the reality that the implementation of any new sales or marketing plan will always take a minimum of 90 days before any results are seen, which is why we always focus on Q2 as being the most important quarter of the year.  By the month of May, we know what's working and what's not, and there's still plenty of time to make adjustments that will pay off in Q4.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, HubSpot Tips, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 sales and marketing best practices, 2024 Sales Planning, 2024 Business Planning, 2024 Marketing Planning

The Profession of Sales

I'm love being a salesguy!. I love what we do in our consulting practice working with companies in the rapidly changing environments of Sales and Marketing, plus the fact that I can explore those practices even more intently by teaching both subjects at the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts provides a perfect flywheel of experiences with highly  positive results.  Personally, I can take out of the classroom and labs new ideas and bring them into our customers while many of our customers take advantage of three-month deep dives in perfecting their planning with my student teams of juniors, seniors and grad students. 

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales Hiring Perfectly, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2024 Sales 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

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 

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!  
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

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

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

We Just Need to Get Along Together !

First, and most importantly, please have a wonderful, warm and safe holiday!  I'd like to thank you for your support, your notes, and the agreements...and disagreements... with my weekly ramblings.  Hopefully, there have been a few takeaways this year that you've been able put to use to increase your own sales and marketing productivity, which brings me to today's subject of "just getting along".  

-This is not about the wars, since neither I nor you can make much of an impact.
-This is not about the backstabbing of the self-righteous Washington politicos.
-This is not about troubled personal relationships.  Fixing Washington might be easier.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, marketing effectiveness, business planning, 2024 sales and marketing best practices