It's time to be entrepreneurish

Snowing heavily at 6:00 this morning out by the Vermont barn, as I'm sure it is wherever you are here in New England.  Looks like 13-15" on the hill today, but unfortunately for me a packed day of sales calls and zooms.  When it snows, I always worry about the mechanics of dealing with it even with three snowblowers at various houses and a superb plow service from the team at Homestead up the road a piece.  It's just my normal belt and suspenders approach to way overthinking too many details.    

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Tags: entreprenurial, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning, 2022businessplansuccess

We all need a Plan B

"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...

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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

It's January, it's wicked cold, and we gotta sell some stuff...

Minus 5 right now out by the barn this AM. 

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Tags: sales enablement, sales tools, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, 2022businessplansuccess

6 High Impact Value Adds to your '22 plans

Super packed weeks now leading up to the Thanksgiving break followed by added intensity on closing the year and delivering solid 2022 business, sales and marketing plans to the board in December. 

Always have as your guide the simple fact that no plan is ever perfect, and that most often, it's the planning process of working together as a team, breaking down the walls and agreeing to focus on customer value which is the most important output.  

At this time of year, we're running two or three planning sessions every week, and I thought that it might be helpful to take a more strategic and less tactical view of the winning value adders we're hearing about and working on this fall.  There's no priority in the following bullets, and I'm very happy to add detail if you want to book some no cost time to discuss. 

  • Increased direct contact with prospects and customers
    We're seeing Sales travel budgets for 2022 are increasing by more than 25% over 2021.  Even though virtual meetings are  much easier than in 2020 and added tech tools are coming on board very quickly, there's an increased push to travel.  Much better planned and sharply limited to who travels, but travel is back especially for C level senior management.  Our best companies are planning that 40% plus  of the CEO's time will spent F2F with customers and prospects. 
  • Formal, more tightly defined WFH hybrid policies 
    20% of our customers have been working fine with no physical office for two years and plan to operate that way in 2022 into 2023.  The best of the others have formal definitions with "shifts" of fixed 3/2 or  2/3 days a week detailed by department.  The more smoothly operating with less personnel conflict problems also have mandatory vaccines policies.  Yes, they have lost some employees, but that is now behind them and hiring plans are in place.
  • Tighter market category, geo and size focus
    If 2019 was "expansion", and 2020 was "hunker down" followed by "caution" in the first six months of 2021, what we are seeing for 2022 is very narrow organic growth definitions on sub-categories of market size, and tighter definitions of geographies.   Cities, not regions or territories.   Redefining "mid-market" on very tight definitions of employee counts/revenue/
  • Sales & Marketing Processes
    More and more fluency and much quicker adoption of formal Sales & Marketing processes anchored in highly integrated CRM and CMS platforms with the top choices being SFDC, MS Dynamics and our personal favorite Hubspot.  Along with these processes, enhanced training and certification requirements for all salespeople.
  • Strategy is nice, but tactics are critical
    A "strategy" example for a primary 2022 initiative might be the adoption of a territory re-alignment or the beefing up the implementation tactics for an existing sales partnership model.  Having said that 90% plus of the planning work we're seeing this fall is execution detailing of the Sales & Marketing basics with fingers-in-the-dirt definitions in the clarity of redefined Sales and Marketing playbooks, templates, and tech tools 
  • Increased focus on speed and agility 
    A question I was asked yesterday in a two-day Sales planning session was "rather than the second week in January, can we get this done by December 6th?  My initial thought, given the huge amount of detailing that now needed to be done, was that "it couldn't be done" , followed in a minute, by "let's work to that date, roll out what we have and fill in the rest of the detailing in early January".   In this case, we will double down on the assignments, and I'll bring in 3 or 4 of my interns do complete the research, the interviews and build out the Hubspot tools.

That's it for this AM working out of Boston's Back Bay this morning with an 8:00 AM start to the second day of our sales process building.  A very exciting company with highly engaged and experienced management razor focused on 2022 objectives with a need to re-architect and build tighter processes and tools while tightening up on increased responsibilities.  Wicked exciting, and just a great way to start the day!

Have a great day selling today!

  

AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me!  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.

www.derbymanagement.com

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 

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Tags: sales coaching, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, sales readiness, forgetsalesstrategyfocusontactics, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning

5 things you need to know about recruiting sales talent

The #1 or #2 issue we hear in all of our 2022 planning sessions this fall is the issue of the difficulty to find and retain talent. 

It is what it is, and we can debate for hours why it's occurring and the surrounding theories of the inflation impact on the economy. but the reality is that...

 

  • it's here, it's been here for 12 months, and we all see and read about it everywhere.
  • it's real, not a bubble, and it's not going away in 2022; maybe in '23 when the world flattens a bit.
  • this is a fundamental shift in the future of work, what represents "the office" and lifestyle
  • we need people now, onboarded and in place in Q1 if we're going to make out '22 numbers

From all of our 2022 planning sessions, what follows below are five non-prioritized tactics that you might want to think about.  Connect with me at any time, and I can walk you through any of the details, or just be a sounding board for best practices.

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Tags: sales enablement, sales tools, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, hiring sales people

Leaf Peepin' in Vermont...it's the season

Vermont Rules

As you know, I love Vermont and spend about 30% of my time working from there with more time on the weekends doing what every Vermonter does: shovel snow, rake leaves, tend my woodlot and plant gardens.  Plus, every time I'm there, including this weekend, I always take some time out to admire the unique beauty of Vermont by walking down to the river or just looking across to the now-turning leaves on the other side of the pond just up the road a piece.

Six generations of my family before me were born and lived in this same valley, and although I call myself "a Vermonter", I always leave out the fact that I was born and lived my early years in a tough neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.  Maybe I'm "a-kind-of Vermonter" since I've lived in this same valley for 50 years, but I do know my place in that I am not "a true Vermonter".   Those are Vermont Rules!

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Tags: sales planning, sales success, sales effectivness, writing business plans, planningsalestodayinacovidworld, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, 2022 business planning

The Dog Days of Summa'

For me, it's been a superb summa' even given this weekend's hurricane, the heat of August, the rains of July and the unsettling anticipation of what lies ahead when we return/don't return to offices and classrooms in a couple of weeks.  After all...it's the summa, and no matter who we are, or pretend to be, every summa brings all of us back to memories of time off from school, the rigors of multiple jobs, loves started and hearts broken,  and always the anticipation of gearing up for the faster, more demanding time of September.  And this September accelerating into this Q4 will not be any different !

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Tags: sales tools, sales training, how to close sales, how to write a sales plan, sales management productivity, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts

...just plain ol' Vermont grit

Vermont is a tiny state with a very diverse grouping of residents.  I'm not talking here about the 13 "gold towns" inappropriately named by an infamous prior governor who overtaxed the flatlanders who came to VT to ski.  I'm also not talking about Burlington where 50% of the population lives. To know the real Vermont, one needs to get down into the dirt and understand their own grit and exceptionally hard work. 

When one takes a look at the stats, it almost defies logic of why the state even exists...except for grit.

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Tags: sales coaching, sales plan process, sales management boot camp, how to close sales, Tufts marketing projects, student intern marketing projects, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

ya gotta love what you do...

With Valentine's Day Sunday, I find myself once again in the woods of Vermont this morning with a -4 degree temp and "yet-another-dusting" of four inches.  Just enough that it will ice unless attacked by "Big Orange", my brand new 30" Ariens delivered by the superb sales guys up the road a piece at Brown Enterprises.   For variety, I work out of the NH beach Monday through Wednesday, drive to Boston following Wednesday's Tufts class, check on the now-vacant office, pick up the mail and then drive to VT. 

I work here in VT on Thursdays and Fridays...and then, depending on the weatha' for the weekend, stay or leave.  I love the variety of the rural VT woods and the NH sand.  It's my own
own stress-reducer keeping my head screwed on and the entire weekly process reaffirms my love of what I do.

 

After 30+ years of management consulting including 20+ of teaching at MIT and Tufts, I have the opportunity to work with the management of hundreds of companies every year and hundreds of both students and alums at both universities.  I love the work, the challenges, the extraordinary variety of both problem solving and creating new sales opportunities along with the inherent management coaching that goes along with it.  This is all I do, and I can't imagine doing anything else except a little snowboarding in the winta' (but not this year) and surfing in the summa'

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Tags: entreprenurial, marketing productivity, business coaching, how to close sales, sales success, sales effectivness

Zen & the science of snowblowing

The interesting and good news about selling in 2021...

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Tags: Sales Optimization, closing sales, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, best sales practices;, sales success, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans