Bayer?  Beah?  Bare?  Bear?  Gotta use the same language!

It's been a superb summa' so far.  Rain or shine, I don't really care; all I know is that any day from May through September beats February in Vermont!

A typical week has me working from NH the first half of the week and then mid-Wednesday afternoons I take  the red summa' car to let the ponies run on the three hour drive to Vermont. I typically work from the VT house for the balance of the week returning to the NH beach at some point depending on the weatha'.

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Tags: sales coaching, Sales Management Best Practices, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management boot camp, how to close sales, sales success, how to write a sales plan

Gettin' your fingers in the dirt

This time of year, in between Zoom and Team calls, I've been ankle-deep in the dirt and last weekend's mud in the gardens in both NH and Vermont planting, cutting and weeding.  It's good for the soul and my hyper-sense of organization to be able to dive into the deep end of the mud and "get er done" no matter what the weather...or the business...forecast is.  

  • Right here at the beginning of June, our Q2 business forecast is looking pretty good among all of our clients now working through the details to end with a robust close to the quarter.  Concerns about supply lines and labor unknowns are obviously top of mind, but business forecasts in general seem to be solid for the next four weeks.
  • When I got in the car last night to drive from Boston to Vermont for a day of morning meetings and garden work this afternoon, the weather forecast also looked pretty good, and I planned my calls and meetings for the day around that forecast.  Early this AM, it's a raw 55 degrees and pouring rain, but somehow the outside work still needs to be completed between lawyer calls at 10, a weekly Team meeting at 11 and a F2F 3:00  new client meeting this afternoon.  

Bottom line is that weather forecasts change all the time, and of course, we have zero control, but yet, the work still needs to be completed.  Business plans and sales forecasts go through just as many variations as the unknowns of the weather, but at the end of a week like today and the end of the quarter in less than four weeks, sales quotas still need to be met and operating plans and product commitments completed just as we forecasted. 

As anyone who has seen my Vermont woodlot, everything is "neat & tidy" especially in the spring and summa'.  That organization allows me ready access to a season's worth of kindling and two of the four cords of wood I burn every winter. 

Having everything organized and "in its place" is the way I work out in the woods and also in my management consulting work since that level of organization allows me to have "extra time" when the weather changes or in the case of work, unexpected client speed bumps occur.

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales effectiveness, sales management training, marketing effectiveness, marketing productivity, best sales practices;, how to write a sales plan

What are you planning for tomorrow?

Every day, every week, I work through a series of mini-plans at least in my head and most often in writing.

-Days start early before the sun and begin with a fountain pen and new yellow-ruled sheet of paper.

-I bullet down in a word or two the tasks needed for the company and for Tufts in two columns

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, sales planning, sales tools, closing sales, how to close sales, sales success, how to write a sales plan

So, you want to blog?  Here's 3 winning tactics from my students

 

Last week, I mentioned that Brian Bresee, an alum from our marketing course, and now Hubspot's North America's Director of Partnership Sales, provides a lecture every semester starting with an outline of Inbound Marketing. 

Brian and I met 11 years ago at Tufts, became friends with a common love of being on the Vermont snow.  After graduating, he worked for one of my companies as a BDR, moving to Hubspot 10+ years ago and has become a highly valued Tufts Lecturer in my courses for the last 8 years.  Brian provides content and Hubspot platforms for our course and has become a coach for numbers of my students who want to move into a sales role.  Same way that I coached Brian a decade ago, which is all about giving back to our Tufts students through our alums.

          

Brian masterfully brings the strategy of Inbound right down to the reality of teaching the specifics of blogging to junior and seniors who have marketing plans to deliver to real companies in just 10 weeks from now.

For me, having been a writer of books, newsletters, magazine and newspaper articles and now blogs, I know that blogging is one of the most important tactical tools in any marketer's toolbox. In fact, prior to 2018, when video content began to rise and then just exploded in use in 2020, blogs led the list as the most heavily used media tool

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, how to close sales, sales success, value propositions, effective blogging

Learning from my students...4 tactics for winning presentations

At Tufts where I'm a professor for two courses-"Entrepreneurial Marketing" and "The Science of Sales", a decade plus later, I have the luxury of bringing back our alums from these courses who are now experts in their own fields at their companies to teach portions of our 13 week semesters. 

The exciting results are...

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Tags: sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, business coaching, how to close sales, meeting networking, sales management productivity, delivering great presentations

just waiting for the spring this AM

With 30 years of skiing anchored firmly in my Vermont winta' roots, I've now spent the last 25 years only snowboarding gaining a new love for old trails and new woods and parks that I would have never explored on skis. I still remember the taunts and laughs from my skier buddies I left behind, but as with anything new, I've learned to find the best coaches and study harder and longer than others. 

This winta' morning, I find myself at the NH beach trading my Big Boy Ariens snowblower back in VT for shovels that fit NH winding paths and decks that overlook a very angry ocean.  It will actually be good to grab some fresh air and quick exercise today between six zooms and a board meeting. One of the benefits of WFH.

Love winta'...but cannot wait for March 20th, the official start of spring and leaving behind dark mornings and getting back out into the VT woods with my chainsaw or looking for seaglass on the NH beach.  I do love the rhythm and the variety of the NE seasons...most of the time

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Tags: sales coaching, sales effectiveness, closing sales, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, business coaching, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, planningsalestodayinacovidworld

2021 a year all about change...

This week...

I write this this afternoon at the end of an extraordinarily cataclysmic week. 

I could not even begin to provide any meaningful content today that has not been said better and more fluently by much more knowledgeable people than me. 

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Tags: sales coaching, Sales Optimization, sales effectiveness, best sales practices;, sales productiv, how to write a sales plan

Today's number is 20!

a few Reasons to be thankful!

We just finished what I always consider to be "the best holiday of the year".
--no one really worked last Wednesday, and even if you did, your prospects may not have.
--definitely, no one worked Thursday, and we celebrated with whomever was safe.
--most people did not work Friday other than in retail or necessary services.
--two days of good weather on the weekend came next.
--and yesterday, we closed out November's quota...hopefully on plan!

now it's Tuesday & we have 20 selling days left 

20 days are actually a ton of time to do what we do as sales pros!

With the correctly qualified accounts, all of us, as the seasoned pros we are, have enough time to push down the field, mount play-after-play, bring together the right team and move almost any deal to a close.  That's this week, still early in the game with lots of time left on the scoreboard. 

Next week, not so much time left since we'd already be in the second half of the selling month in pre-holiday time.

The following week, we have no time at all unless we're just a few relative yards/minutes away from pulling everyone over the goal line.   

 

Here's a couple of tactics that always work...

1. Focus on the 80/20 Rule!

Today, as in today-Tuesday-separate out the 20%, (maybe it's only the 10%) of what's in your pipeline that will make the biggest impact on your quota.  In fact, one or two of these opportunities may also be the most difficult and will take maximum time and effort, which is why you're focusing today on the 20% since you have a full 20 days to get to a close.  Plenty of time in fact to make a difference in almost any deal.  

 

2. Get rid of the detractors & interrupters!

The good side of being zoom-distanced is that there are fewer office-talk interruptions although your WFH time may be equally challenged by kids and pets.  The very good news is that you have 20 days.  Multiply that by 10 hours, and you have a ton of time.  The reality of that news is that you have only 20 days. 

  • My buddy, Frank Y., who excels as a BDR, works time zones following the sun across the country.
  • My neighbor, Ray, moves his office to the garage, during the kids' home-schooling hours.
  • I'm up even earlier at 4:00 AM planning out three days ahead and getting rid of the mental clutter. 

3.  Clean up your calendar! 

- Today, plan out all of your selling days for the rest of the year and just jam into those same time blocks everything you think that you will need to do between now and then. 

- Then take an expanded view of what you have just done and make sure that it makes sense balancing what time blocks you now have in your 20-day calendar and what time you have available to actually sell.  Try to view your calendar as if you were 20 feet above the view and not able to see the details other than the available time to sell. 

In some sales markets such as recruiting and real estate, these are called "the money hours", which these highly trained salespeople know from experience are the two or four optimum times during a day to connect with a prospect.
The point here is to take a hard look at what you have available to sell and simply get rid of everything else and forklift it over to January.   Yes, January!

  • I'm a fanatic about time, and I just did this exercise yesterday morning and realized I had overlapping times in two critical presentations and was not allowing enough travel time Wednesday night to prep for a critical early Thursday call.
  • Make sure that you ask your December prospects what their vacation plans are for December and also extend that question to everyone else in the purchasing approval cycle.  Nothing's worse than trying to track down someone in the legal department for a cursory review of the final approval docs when that person is on the ski slopes between Christmas and New Year's.  
  • For sales management, there's the added reality during these same 20 days of having to spend some time fine-tuning the 2021 sales plans you submitted to your boss and the finance people in November. Another reality for sure, and there's no way around that other than weekend work.  Having dealt with this at all levels for 25 plus years, if you want a few ideas as to how to compress time and focus your planning on the sales and financial KPIs that really count, just connect for a no-cost call.  

4.  Clean Body, Focused Mind!  

No, this is not another statement on what you need to do to prevent infection.  You already know more than the basics by this time.  This relates to doing whatever you need to do to stay healthy, efficient, alert and sales-effective through the balance of this month which comes down to the simple truths of exercising, getting enough sleep and eating correctly...just like Mom told us. 

We all know the basics, and, yet most of us struggle with finding enough time or dealing with the realities of not being able go to our favorite gym which we left back in March. 

 

I certainly would rather be back at my workout place in Boston which I last saw on March 9th than walking down into the basement at 4:00 and getting on the Peloton for 30 minutes. But I also know the mental impact of what 30 minutes can make in clearing out the clutter and focusing me for the day ahead. 

................................

Nothing earth-shattering or even new in the four-point outline above...other than the reality of 20 days of superb opportunities in front of us today!   

Have a great day selling today...and for the next 19! 

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.

 

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Tags: sales coach, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, sales readiness

Lessons from a Tufts alum on making the best presentations!

I've had the privilege of teaching at MIT and Tufts for 20 and 15 years respectively. The experience...

  • Blends in perfectly with my other passion of consulting in sales, marketing and business planning
  • Reminds me of just how much I still do not know, and my requirement to be a life-long student
  • Provides me with continuing opportunities to catch up with and engage my alums.
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Tags: sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales jobs, Tufts marketing projects, free marketing projects from universities, value propositions, jack derby professor at Tufts

Who are your most valuable salespeople?

Darn cold at 29 last Saturday out by the Vermont barn. Jumped on the ATV to work through the woods and get up to the pond where I noticed that the swamp maples were already turning even though the big foliage week is still a couple of weeks from now.  Always good for the Vermont economy when leaf-peeping ties into a long weekend.

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, sales coach, sales effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, sales management boot camp, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, writing sales plans, Selling Successfully in a Covid World