ASPEC Usability Series – Generic Opportunity Lists Aren’t Enough, and Here’s Why (The By Priority View)

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ASPEC - Sales Cycles

In most applications that sales people use for opportunity management (mainly CRM), opportunities are presented in a single, sortable list. Perhaps there is some sort of pipeline view as well; the top is generally a lead, and the bottom is generally the final steps in the sales process. The world has been stuck in this method of working with opportunities since Sales Automation first came around.

Sales Funnel
The Sales Pipeline: Does it Really Make Sense as a List to Work?

As I mentioned in the previous post in the series, ASPEC has a unique method of assigning probability and priority to an opportunity using a universal, computerized sales model. With this technology, we can do much more than present a simple sales pipeline. ASPEC is about maximizing your overall use of time to win more, and this is done in the “By Priority View”.

The view is simple in nature – a list of tabs for each of the five different Priorities (Review First, Review Second, Review Third, Break Through Needed, and Leave it Alone) that ASPEC assigns to each and every opportunity and updates constantly. There is a special category called “Overdue” which means that the expected close date for the opportunity has now passed.

Here’s how to use the Priority View to maximum effect.

Bar Scale

First, let’s get the Bar Scale field set up.  What is your typical sales cycle length?  Is it 2 weeks?  3 months?  A year?  There is a good chance it could be all of them, and you will have lots of opportunities with different lengths. The Bar Scale is an effective way to instantly illustrate this as you work in the Priority View.

ASPEC - Bar Scale
Selecting a value for the Bar Scale changes the sales cycle graphs

It’s important to pick a range that will show you this variety so you can see exactly where in the sales cycle you are for each of your opportunities. Too long of a range, and the bars will all be short and stubby. Too short, and they will overlap the edges of the column and lose their visual effect. Enter the value and the graph for each opportunity in the list will adjust. Change it a couple of times to see the effect of different lengths.

ASPEC - Sales Cycles
Sales Cycles can be all over the place — this is an example

Note that the bar graph for each opportunity is color-coded for the three phases of the sales cycle — Probe, Prove, and Close. In Part Three of the e-book Sales Automation Done Right, on page 166, there is a diagram showing the use of what we call the fundamental skills (Probe, Prove, Close) at different times.

How to Work the List

The idea of the Priority View is to show your opportunities grouped by their specific priority, but with the benefit of further sorting by any criteria that you want. To start, click “Review First” (in red and underlined in the figure below). You will see all opportunities that have a Priority 1 assigned to them.  Over on the right, select the sort field and change the value to “When Will It Happen” and make sure the sort is in descending order.

Now you see all of your Priority 1 opportunities sorted by close date with the earliest one at the top.

ASPEC - Sort by Close Date
Sorting by close date

You could sort by “value” as well — the total amount of the opportunity. This appears useful but really isn’t the best method to make sure you are on top of all of your opportunities.  Instead, try sorting by “Last Review.”

ASPEC - Sort by Last Review
Look at your opportunities by last review for maximum effect

Looking at each priority group and sorting by the date each was last reviewed will ensure that you stay on top of all of your opportunities no matter where they are in the sales cycle.  And that’s what is needed to make the best use of your time!

Other articles in the ASPEC Usability Series:


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