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Dreamforce ‘14 – ASPEC at the World’s Largest Cloud Computing Conference

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It’s that time of the year when the tech world makes the pilgrimage to San Francisco to talk enterprise cloud computing at Dreamforce. Salesforce has invited our CTO, Sam Henechowicz, to host a Developer Zone session at the conference, and concurrently, we will be launching ASPEC for Salesforce 2.0, the app that takes opportunity management to an even higher level of effectiveness.

ASPEC for Salesforce brings award-winning sales productivity technology to the Salesforce platform, and Version 2.0 features some great enhancements. Version 2.0 supports all Sales Cloud editions, is optimized for Salesforce1 including a new mobile optimized priority view, as well as additional UI enhancements made possible by Summer ’14.

With ASPEC, Salesforce users can consistently and effectively manage every sales cycle with automated analysis and assessment that calculates the accurate probability of winning and sets a priority based on the up-to-the-minute characteristics of each sales opportunity.

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Optimizing Sales Opportunities: The GPS of Selling

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Remember maps? You could buy them at gas stations and unfold them and search out where you were and where you wanted to go. You could plot routes and make a plan and then try to refold it only to end up with some misshapen accordion of paper. It was all very manual and didn’t adapt well to change. And if you missed a turn, you had to try to figure out where you were now and come up with a new route.

Technology changed all of that – it brought us the GPS. Now your trip is mapped for you with two simple pieces of information: Where are you? Where do you want to be? And it already knows where you are.

GPS keeps on knowing where you are at any given point in your trip and graphically displays it for you. It provides turn-by-turn directions so you always know what to do to keep going in the right direction.

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The Probing Demo: Using the Right Selling Skills At The Right Time

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In a previous article, I categorized the probing skill as the most overlooked of the three selling skills: probing, proving, and closing. Probing is asking the questions before giving the answers. It’s listening to what the customer says, thinking about that in relation to your own products and sales environment, asking follow-up questions and listening again, repeat. You never stop probing, you only do less of it as you learn more and are able to use that knowledge to move through the sales cycle.

Many sales people are reluctant to ask the questions, maybe thinking it shows their ignorance or something. And even those who do ask often don’t listen to the answers and think about them and react accordingly. They have accumulated information, but they haven’t gained any knowledge. It’s like hearing the weather forecast. If you don’t get your umbrella, it is useless information.

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Does Your Sales Forecast Help You?

Written by on . Posted in Forecasting, General Sales Topics, Sales Methodology No Comments

In America, it’s April 14th, (April 29th in Canada and Brazil, May 30 in Germany, and June 29 in Papua New Guinea) and your income taxes are due tomorrow. You don’t want to do them, but you have to. They will be wrong, but you don’t know how wrong. You will cheat and hope you don’t get caught. There are expensive professionals and cheap software that will do it for you and give you someone to blame. And the audit is only slightly preferable to prison.

Quick – tell me the difference between this and doing your sales forecast.

Hint – you only have to do your taxes once a year.

Yes, forecasting. The very word itself makes you cringe. Like marriage counseling or colonoscopy. But it won’t go away, no matter how much you wish.

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Arm Yourself With A New Sales Strategy and Sales Tool: Change

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Change. It happens all the time, and sales cycles are no exception. Maybe even more often than in other professions, change happens. You’ve got a mix of personalities and factors. You’ve got a winner-takes-all process with dollars and careers on the line. There is competition, sometimes severe competition. There are others out there whose goal is to screw you over. They make plans, set their tactics to do so in secret and will spring them on you unannounced.

And that’s just on the selling side. On the buying side, you have many of the same factors. Budgets disappear, organizations re-organize, schedules expand or contract, urgency disappears or increases, new solutions to old problems are found, and so on.

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8 Sales Pain Points – Do You Have Sales Pain?

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Any enterprise considering an opportunity management solution has, by definition, an opportunity management problem. Just as in medicine, triage is the first step in selecting an opportunity management app – where does it hurt?

It is a fair assumption that most companies today will have an established CRM program. For many sales organizations, the opportunity management capability of that program is inadequate, or even counter-productive, the victim of trying to do everything for everyone instead of focusing on doing the important thing for sales success. Here is a list of some of the customer pains caused by poor opportunity management modules, and the solution that ASPEC provides.

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Cold Calling in the 21st Century – A White Paper Review

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I recently ran across an interesting white paper that connected two articles that were previously published here on The HUB – Claire Waggoner’s “The Key to Sales Success: Pick Up the Phone” and my review of Jill Konrath’s e-book, Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code. Gretchen Gordon of Braveheart Sales Performance is offering her paper, Cold Calling in the 21st Century, at their web site, and I found it informative and useful.

Notice I didn’t say comfortable. The reason for that is she touches on some particular issues of mine regarding cold calling, and forces me to acknowledge what I don’t want to – that full disclosure is not always the best tactic right out of the box when leaving a voicemail, and being persistent on a daily basis works.

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Selling to Sales Pros

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I get a lot of calls from telemarketers – tele-sales people really, because they are instantly into the Close Phase of the sales cycle trying to get me to commit right now. The worst are (or used to be) investment managers – brokerages, counselors, etc. Some were sales pros – they ask first, sell second and know when to stop wasting their time and be polite about it.

The rest are why the sales profession gets a bad rap, and they should not be categorized as sales professionals. They are soldiers, thrown at the phone like so much cannon fodder, and are quickly killed off and replaced by the next wave of zombies with a script.

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Online Selling & Promotion – My Experience So Far

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From my October 1 article which I titled E-Selling: Rowing Upstream With One Oar:

I’m going to follow this up with some more articles describing my first-hand experiences trying to tackle this new world of e-selling on a budget that wouldn’t cover the bar tab in my previous sales experience. You could all save me the trouble by getting everyone you know to buy my book.

Well, you failed, because after clawing its way to Number 35 on Amazon’s Best Seller list in its genre, my book has slowly settled back and rests comfortably outside the top 100. Sales are steady, although steady at a pace below what I’d hoped for by this time.

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Lunch – The (Ultimate) Death of a Salesman

Written by on . Posted in General Sales Topics, Miscellaneous General Sales Topics 2 Comments

Good Lunch

Theoretically, in our Western culture we eat 21 meals each week. (3 times 7 equals 21. See how easy that was?) Five of those meals occur in the middle of the typical workday. 24% of your fuel intake happens when you’re supposed to be working. The obvious solution for work day productivity – stop eating lunch.

OK, don’t. That’s bad advice even by my standards of advice. Here’s better advice – eat a good, nutritional lunch every work day. And do it away from your desk. Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC-Davis who studies the psychology of the workplace, says getting away from your desk can provide a boost in creativity.

“Never taking a break from very careful thought-work actually reduces your ability to be creative,” she says. “It sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested.”

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