ASPEC Usability Series – Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

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ASPEC - Let's Start

As mentioned last week, we will be releasing posts over the next few months describing how to best use ASPEC in daily and recurring, and even unusual, sales and sales management situations.  How should it be used to plan your day?  Your week? How does it apply to that situation where you got in the sales cycle late, or find you’re not the preferred supplier?

This is not ASPEC help in the traditional sense – it’s much more than how to create a new contact or sort and filter a list. It’s how best to use the ASPEC methodology embodied in the app to run your opportunity management in a way to achieve maximum success. We have a lot coming – how to run a forecast meeting, how to sort through and prioritize, and even how to generate custom reports, so get ready.

But before all of that, we have to start at the basics of what ASPEC is and how it can do all of this – our simple, elegant sales model.  This post is going to talk about the importance of setting it up correctly when creating a sales opportunity in ASPEC.

When you have logged into ASPEC, you click the “Add” button to create a new IBO (Identified Business Opportunity).  The ASPEC IBO Analysis will take you step-by-step through setting up the essentials of a sales opportunity.

When was the opportunity identified?

This is the date that you discovered this sales opportunity.  Take the time to adjust it to the actual date – don’t just leave it at today if it wasn’t today.  This is extremely important in how ASPEC will provide feedback and assign priority.   Once you have entered this, you will not need to revisit it – the start date doesn’t change.

When will this opportunity end?

Once you’ve established the start of the sales cycle, it’s important to predict when the sale will end, i.e. when the customer will award the order – to you or anyone else – or cancel their buying process.  This sort of evaluation requires some foresight; you may have to guess six or eight months into the future.  Not only is it important to determine the length of the sales cycle when it is about to start, it is important to continually update the time remaining as the cycle progresses, and you will be automatically prompted to do this at appropriate times.

The Sales Cycle

With the answers to these two questions, ASPEC now knows everything it needs to about the sales cycle, thanks to the sales model.  In the illustration below, the sales cycle is 4 months long, with roughly 3 months left.  We also know that we are in the Probe phase – we should be gathering as much information as possible.

ASPEC - define your sales cycle

Probability (or Risk Assessment)

ASPEC looks at probability in a totally new way – it’s not stage based (which just doesn’t work) or guesswork.  Instead, ASPEC looks at two factors when assigning probability – will we win, and will it happen (or will it go through to completion).

Important:  just like the anticipated close date field, these two fields should be constantly updated as the opportunity progresses through the sales cycle!

Will we win this opportunity?

What is your best assessment that if the customer is going to buy something, he will buy it from you?  There are three answers – High, Medium, or Low.  When answering this question, think of your competitive position, how your solution matches, and everything else that goes into your chances of winning the order.

Will this opportunity go through to completion?

What is your best assessment that this sale will go through to conclusion?  Will the customer buy something – even if it is not from you?  Will it happen at all – even though the competition may win it?   Many opportunities get started into normal sales cycles that do not make it to conclusion, maybe because of funding cuts, change in needs, or the politics of the organization.  Again there are three choices – High, Medium, or Low.

Probability Matrix

The answers to these two questions are plotted on a matrix and create a probability.  There are 9 different probabilities – in this case, we have assessed a medium chance of winning, and a high chance of the opportunity going through to completion.  This results in a 60% probability.

ASPEC - Enter your gut feel


Now comes the really cool part of ASPEC – a new concept we call Priority.  Just by entering these four pieces of information, ASPEC can intelligently assign a Priority to the opportunity.  For the situation we’ve been following, ASPEC has assigned a top Priority of “Review First”, with some smart feedback advice.

ASPEC - provides intelligent feedback


Enter the start date, the likely close date.  Now assign the chances of winning, and the chances of it happening.  That’s it – ASPEC takes this information and automatically knows where you are in the sales cycle, what the probability is, and where it should rank in your overall list of opportunities.  Minimal data entry for maximum return.

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