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

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

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

Stats, Numbers, Trends...and, of course, Days

Let's start with the total raw workdays between Monday and 12/22.  

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