"Plan A" this morning in Vermont-right at the start of school vacation week-would have been to have blue skies, six feet of snow already on the ground and morning freshies providing the perfect first runs. Instead, we have...
Tags: Sales Best Practices, small business management, business coaching, how to close sales, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022businessplansuccess
When Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, took on the job, he was told by Steve Ballmer, the retiring CEO to... "Be bold and be right. If you’re not bold, you’re not going to do much of anything. If you’re not right, you’re not going to be here.”
The final Tufts six presentations from my marketing course were completed last Friday. Six companies provided individual marketing projects, with five to six students assigned to a team back in July so everyone hit the ground running in September.
- "just extraordinary",
- "over the top",
- "far-surpassed expectations"
Each of the management teams of the six companies actually provide 40% of the overall course grade for the semester. Now, this weekend I and my TAs will work through the very difficult job of grading 32 students.
Being a student or being a salesperson is always about the bottom-line reality of how many points go on the scoreboard. Right now, before I work through the math of the actual grading, it would appear, based on the customer feedback, that there will be an overabundance of "A"s. In addition to the actual grading, I am very pleased that two of our project companies this semester have provided job offers to three students.
During one of the debriefs last Friday following their presentation, I asked the six-person team, who worked on the marketing plan for a $40m company looking at a new market, what defined the success of this project for them, and I was struck by the maturity and the exacting management behavior that they expressed. So, I thought I would share this this morning for you to assess your work during these final two weeks of the year.
- "Since no one on the team knew another when we began, we defined up front who would do what and what the team and our individual responsibilities would be."
- "We agreed to strict daily and weekly timelines since we knew the reality to deliver a marketing plan in 13 weeks."
- "Yea, we elected a Team Captain, but we all agreed to complete responsibility for the project as a team."
"We committed to rAPID Group Knowledge"!
- "We agreed to making sure that all six of us knew "everything about everything" so that there were no islands of knowledge. Yes, primary responsibilities were centered in individuals, but we agreed that "Group Knowledge" was most important especially for our research work and for our customer discovery with the company's prospects and customers."
- "We used a strategy of writing down content quickly that we discovered and also we created as "a stream of consciousness" not caring much about making it formal with punctuation or format."
- "We used Google Drive and avoided Slack and Teams because Google was just more personally comfortable and immediate for us individually."
- "We operated in frequent short sprints with no long meetings until the end"
- "Space, time and location were unimportant in our virtual team, and being online virtually actually worked much better than needing to get together physically
- "Time was now...all the time."
- "We formally scheduled customer meetings at the same time every single week"
- "We completed exhaustive discovery up front repeating the same questions again and again until we came to very detailed answers which led to very detailed objectives"
As a professor, I always learn as much as I teach!
I've thought about these comments all week. The maturity and the sophistication of the basic, but hard things that make a project or one's quota not only achievable, but highly attainable and successful. This morning as we look out over the remaining 12 days of December, I thought that some of these best practices of managing against the clock and to the project or to your quota might prove useful. For other ideas, check out our site for tactics at... https://www.derbymanagement.com/sales-productivity
Have a great day selling Today...12 days left!
CONFIDENTIAL SOUNDING BOARD
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board in business planning or for Sales or Marketing, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener.
Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
I happened to be talking to a friend of mine, Paul Kelly, President of Berkshire Bank, yesterday about...what else...Sales, of course, and he provided a very interesting perspective to approaching his sales process during these times of unknowns. Notice I just used the phrase "times of unknowns" since "chaotic" is too depressing and "new normal/abnormal" has become too much of a trite label, All we do know right now is that we will be in this "time of unknowns" for at least the next six and probably twelve months. Nothing we can do in our day-day-day is going to change the overall environment, but determined and innovative managers like Paul, who focus on positivity, motivation and specific marketing and sales tactics, impact sales at their companies every week.
Yesterday, I completed my virtual follow-up visit with my cardiologist, Dr. Michael at MGH. It's hard to even use those words, "my cardiologist" after being diagnosed with "massive heart disease" (another uncomfortable choice of words) five years ago with 100% of one artery blocked and 60% of another.
The only reason I lived was that I had grown two new arteries which "naturally bypassed" the two diseased arteries. Who knew? Not me! Not my Vermont country doc who had incorrectly diagnosed my shortness of breath as asthma and loaded me down with three different scripts for inhalers which I used for years before moving back to Boston and new docs at MGH.
When I first began as a rookie salesperson, I had just been promoted to be president of the medtech company where I had moved up through the ranks from manufacturing and engineering and then to the corner office. I had never sold anything and had zero understanding of what marketing did other than knowing they spent a ton of money on trade shows, conferences and producing whitepapers. The second week into the job, our number two sales guy, Alan, showed up in my office and suggested that we take a sales trip together to his largest hospital in NYC. A great guy...strong numbers, very affable, bright-but in a folksy kind of way- and a very hard worker. I still remember that first call:
#1 lesson from Alan was to dress down from the plaid suit. 😎
#2 was to go in the hospital on the 2nd shift since it was less hectic and quieter.
#3 was to bring a box of donuts to the nurses since they knew what was really going on.
#4 was to understand that knowledge was power, and the currency was just being human.
Today, we would term that process a "Discovery Call", and we would put it into the second step in our sales process funnel and allocate specific tools and checklists to the Discovery call wrapping all of that up in Hubspot CRM technology that would automatically remind us in three days after the call with follow up tasks and templates to complete. Yes, it's mechanical, efficient, and highly disciplined, and, yes, it's not very human by itself, but it works. The secret to successful sales is to add personality and trust to any sales process that's full of steps and metrics.
Which is better-sales process or the human touch?
Alan was just a superb salesguy! Always #1 or #2 in a team of 50 plus salespeople. He had a superb memory and a built-in innate ability to drive sales "The Alan Way", and as a result he had his own process down to a science. That's the good news.
The unsettling news was that no one else could sell "The Alan Way" since his process came down to style on the attributes side of things and his own selling skills on the process side of the equation. Plus, although he had a huge geographic territory, he only focused his time in the density of two very concentrated cities and then further pinpointed those to the specific hospitals where he knew exactly what was going to happen in in terms of replacement products given his closeness to the nurses using donuts as his currency The bottom line in his "Streets-not-States" strategy was that by focusing on only 5% of the available hospitals in his entire geography, he always got to whatever the bonus number was above 100% of his quota.
The majority of us are not Alan, nor do we have his discipline, so people like me need to "resort" to our "Process & Tools & Technology & People" solution to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks...and because I just don't the whole Joey BagaDonuts approach.
The Joeys who are still in the sales game also do not have the skills or the style that Alan had...all they have are the donuts. As a result, they rely on stupid and affrontive emails like this one below that I just received yesterday:
Hello Mr. Derby, I hope you're having a great Tuesday.
My name is xxx xxx, and I'm the CEO at xxx. We are a new member of xxx. While browsing the member directory I came across your profile highlighting your company and wanted to make a brief introduction about our solutions. We are a cost reduction and profit improvement company. We have had significant success working with venture capital, investment banking firms, private equity groups, and consulting firms seeking to create equity value within their portfolios or for their clients. Attached are a few case studies of those successes. After doing some research, I'm interested in finding out more about your company. I look forward to hearing from you.
That's definitely a Joey BagaDonuts email, but unfortunately it came without the donuts!
Just another example of a worthless marketing and a sales approach so bad, that I just had to blog about it this morning. Messaging like this is especially affrontive now in this time of chaos when it's even more critical for all of us to focus on what it takes to provide true customer value while never using the words, "trust me on this!"
Right now, all of us are trying to figure out what the new rules for both Sales and for Marketing will be for whatever the new normal will be in 2021.
- Today, there is no new normal, just 60-day sales tactics focused on survival.
- First, we need to hit this month's number on Friday.
- Second, we need to get to July 4th and then take a long weekend-breather.
- Third, only then can we spend time figuring out what it takes to get to Labor Day.
- Around that time, we should then know enough to begin to write the new rules for 2021.
Have a great day selling today, tomorrow and Friday!
TUFTS FALL SEMESTER MARKETING PROJECTS
At Tufts where I'm a professor teaching Marketing in the Entrepreneurship Center, I am now actively looking for marketing projects for the fall semester. Yes, we will be teaching in the fall with a blended mix of video and visual content, distance learning and F2F-socially-distanced mechanics. All safe-all the time!
The manner in which I teach is based on my practice of "Content in Context", where I and my guest lecturers provide the clinical teaching content and the real-life experience which is then taught within the structure of six teams of juniors and seniors delivering fully developed marketing plans to their host companies at the end of the semester. The companies range from established startups with revenue to mid-size corporations. The projects are often full marketing plans for the company or a marketing plan for the launch of a new product or service.
The results over the years have been just excellent both for the students and for their companies, and, for a couple of reasons, this semester's results were the best ever...just over the top. Right now, I'm taking applications for next fall's course, so if you're interested, just connect with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will set up a quick call to review the logistics with you and send you an outline of the program. All of the applications need to be in no later than June 19th. The syllabus and the projects go out to the students on July 5th.
If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board management coaching or for Sales or Marketing stuff, just connect with me at any time. Text or email me, and I will quickly set up a call. I'm a pretty good listener. Obviously, no cost, just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.
Be safe, be positive and enjoy today and have a great Memorial Day Weekend!
Tags: sales productivity, Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management coach, sales effectiveness, Sales quota, best sales practices;, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, 2020 sales plans
-120 applications in November
- Mentor workshops from January to March
- Selection of "The Final 16" in March
- Consistent individual hands-on coaching
- The final judging and awards on April 4th & 5th
- Excitement & disappointment at the same time
- Connections and advice everywhere
A continuous learning experience!
If there is one lesson in Sales that I've learned this year, it is not to overthink things !
Success in life and in Sales is all about providing the real value that your partners need and want.
If we focus at this time in this magical Christmas season in practicing just one belief, one skill, and one love for the year ahead, we will all be better salespeople, and, most probably, just better people.
It's come down to this...
- Today through Friday...still pretty good selling days !
- Next Monday, of course, is Christmas, so enjoy !
- As far as next Tuesday's concerned, everyone's traveling either here or there !
- And, then Wednesday-Friday, might be good for you, but most buyers have checked out !
The Blue Skies of Hope & The Valley of Reality
So, just to be conservative in our planning and quickly adjust our heads, and most importantly, our time this week, let's set out this Monday morning figuring that there are only five days to demonstrate our ability to bring in our forecasted deals and punch the ticket to go to President's Club in February.
Which means, we need to plan every call and every activity this week and not get distracted by, or totally lost in "the blue skies of hope".
- Forget about the Bluebirds
- Don't waste a lot time on brand new leads
- Just focus on the bottom of your current funnel