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

I need to get sales results!

Results, Results, & More Results!

Ok, a good way to think on a rainy Tuesday morning as I head out to a day of meetings in Boston in a wicked busy week. 

Finished my intro business planning class at MIT yesterday and while I'm thinking about my second class at Tufts tomorrow which is all about market research, today's focus is 100% on sales, and where I need to be by the end of December...only about 100 workdays away.

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales quota, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

The Tip of the Spear

Welcome to the Summa! 

Just a superb holiday period last week, as I took unfair advantage of the fact that I live on the NH beach by lugging my book-filled beach bag out the door every afternoon and laying claim to my time-tested perfect location of sand and surf.  

- Perfect for catching up on my long list of required reading assignments
- Necessary for the final edits to the fall syllabus which went out on the 5th
- Relaxing from being at the tip of the spear for the last quarter.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, Sales quota, Sales Leadership in the Revolution, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, Teaching at Tufts University, 2023 Business Planning

You can't plan results!


Jack, "The Planning Guy", who relentlessly talks about planning, making a religion about planning everything, every process, every marketing and sales activity now headlining today's blog about not planning results?  Maybe just a bit too much sun on the NH beach over the long weekend!  What gives?

what gives is that none of us, including the Celtics, can "plan" results.  

  • We can define the results we want, and hope for those results.
  • We can create sales and marketing strategies which are only initiatives and directions.
  • We can detail objectives, metrics and KPIs, often in way too much detail.

But when it comes down to the men and women who are at the tip of the spear specifically as salespeople, who are on the phone, on the street, and in their offices touching and reaching out to real customers and prospects, although "strategies" and KPIs may be important guidelines, they are somewhat meaningless without a 30-60-day action plan.  

  • I can talk about, hope and pray for results.
  • I can use objectives and KPIs as boundaries. 
  • But I can only plan actions!

Too often, we surround our salespeople with too much.  Good intentions, all aimed at the common objective of making our number, but too often we leave out the requirement of action planning at the detail level. 

We attempt to teach them about strategy, and too often end up just creating confusion.  We surround them with sales theories, new systems and out-of-date sales books.

We love to have weekly team meetings, which are important, of course, but then waste 50% of that time telling them stuff that could have been better handled in a pre-meeting video prepping everyone for a more productive meeting to discuss go-forward 30-day action plans and sharing best practices. 

In our own work, we ask for week-by-week 30-day plans for 60 days built on a uniform, easy-to-complete template which then becomes part of our tool set kept in our Hubspot CRM so that there is only one source of truth.  This also makes everything accessible by everyone since what we are really looking for is the sharing of best practices and best tools among all of the sales team whether that's 5 or 50 people. 

One of our very best and most successful heads of sales that we've worked with, Colleen Honan simply calls it "Planning the Plan".  We term it "30-60's" where we want to see the following bullets in a template that should take 30 minutes a week to complete and discuss with the manager.

  • Weekly schedules for 2 weeks
  • Weekly KPIs on the critical sales process numbers of calls, visits, discoveries and closed deals
  • Short action-based text of a paragraph or two related directly to that month's objectives
  • Additional resources in people or expense that are needed to meet the objectives 



Check out our updated sales productivity site page.  Just page down to get our new edition of Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023.  Or you can just email me, and I will send you a free copy.  Connect with me at any time for some quick ideas and feedback. There's never a cost for a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about Sales & Marketing.  
Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.












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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales quota, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

The Taxman & the Quota Boss come calling today!

It was 1966, and the Beatles released Taxman with George Harrison as the lead singer.

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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, Sales quota, HubSpot Tips, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

No more Joey BagaDonuts

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, May 27, 2020

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!


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, 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!


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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

Time to talk about trash...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Aug 05, 2016

We just finished an assignment working with Paul and Craig, two solid, heavily experienced serial entrepreneurs who have developed breakthrough technology turning really big food waste (think food prep locations for major supermarket chains, universities and prisons, for examples) into small wafers that can be used as organic fertilizers. Great technology, superb ROI and heavily experienced entrepreneur owner managers attempting to change the world due to a major problem because...

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Tags: sales coaching, sales, Sales quota, sales plans

Selling is rarely frustrating.  Frustration?  How about folding laundry!?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, May 20, 2016

Interesting article in The WSJ yesterday.  If you have a subscription, you'll find it HERE.

Here's the premise...

Folding laundry frustrates most everyone. Makers of consumer products, feel the same way.

“We’re constantly thinking about it,” says Jennifer Schoenegge, general manager of General Electric Co.’s appliance brands. Engineers at the maker of washing machines and other kitchen appliances have joked with her that the solution is a butler, Ms. Schoenegge says. “We haven’t cracked that nut yet.”

Folding laundry stubbornly remains a job done by hand, item by item. It is a Holy Grail for inventors who have seen billion-dollar industries created from products that solve chores such as washing and drying clothes, scrubbing dishes and cleaning floors.

There are some new products, even machines that will fold overnight for anyone willing to part with money and floor space. Meanwhile, marketers are studying the habits consumers don’t often admit to.

So, a couple of comments and related questions..

  • I often get a comment from new (or old and tired) salespeople that selling, and the world of Sales is frustrating.  My belief is, if that's truly the case, then maybe the job is not the right job, or that person is not keeping up with training on today's selling skills, today's technologies and today's "new & improved" selling  processes. 

    When's the last time you took an advanced sales training course either in a personal selling skill or two, or in your CRM platform and its apps?
  • Sure, Sales can indeed sometimes be "frustrating" when we lose that single opportunity that we were forecasting at a very high probability and could almost count the numbers on the commission check, but for every one "frustration", my equation is there are at least ten more "exciting adventures". 

    What's your Frustration Equation in Sales?

I get very frustrated at stupid telemarketers and spam emails, both because they interrupt me and waste my time even if it's just to delete their messages, but also because they're using antiquated Outbound techniques that have been proven time and time again to be both ineffective and very inefficient.  Don't get me started on trade shows!

What's your percentage of operating use between Inbound & Outbound?  Mine's 40/60 in terms of dollars, when I include client dinners and our two annual CEO events.  Other than that, it's all Inbound. 

Final Question...

What's your most frustrating chore? 

Mine is definitely not laundry!  It is food shopping, and in spite of my being a techy kind of guy and although there are lots of interesting online apps for food delivery, I still find myself pushing carts down the aisles in Market Basket every weekend.  Ugh!  Really frustrating.  There's got to be a better way.  When I lived in the city years ago, Peapod was superb!  Try to get any delivery at the NH beach of anything is very, very frustrating.

Let us know... "What's yours?"



Also, since you're now deep into Q2, you just may want to put aside a day during the next two weeks to refine and update your 2016 Business Plan, or at least your 2016 Sales and Marketing Plans.  To get you started, click here and receive a downloaded copy of our Writing the Winning Business Plan, 2016 edition.

Another opportunity for preparing now for Q4 is to do the same type of "relook" at the basics of your 2016 Marketing Plan after reviewing our ebook on "How to Write a Marketing Plan". This consists of mostly solid basics and tactical structure stuff...which just might be the perfect thing to do right now before you dive too deeply into Q3. 

...and, of course, if you just want to talk through some of where you are right now and use us as a confidential sounding board...or do a short Whiteboarding Session with any of us, just email me, and we will work out a convenient schedule.

Good Selling!  



 Head Coach  

 Derby Management...for 25 years
 -Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
 -Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
 -Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs

 Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
 Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 


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Tags: selling, Sales quota, sales jobs, sales culture

10 Golf Hints on Learning more Sales Skills

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, May 14, 2016

"I'm not old enough yet to play golf"

At the tender young age of whatever I am, I keep saying that "I'm not old enough yet to play golf".  That somewhat "too cute" comment, especially at the age of whatever I am, is also just a bit too sarcastic even for me, so I've dropped that phrase in response to the frequent question, "Do you want to join us for golf this weekend?"

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Tags: sales coach, sales planning, Sales quota, sales training