“When will it happen?” – Critical question deserving careful thought!

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Salespeople have to be able to predict when sales will happen, it’s an essential part of the job, and it’s referred to as forecasting. Businesses need to know what is lying ahead and salespeople are best suited for determining that. But, as any salesperson will tell you, “it ain’t easy.”

In our ASPEC sales methodology we use a couple of issues to determine probability of winning the order.  On one side we look at the confidence of winning. That involves gut feel about ability to beat the competition, whether the product to hold its own, and of course the price. I always think of product spec and performance coupled with price to represent value to the customer.

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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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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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The Usability Guide for ASPEC for Salesforce.com – Part 1: What It Is & How It Works

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ASPEC for Salesforce

In this guide I intend to introduce how ASPEC for Salesforce.com can benefit your business, and specifically how it works. We have previously talked about why we built the app, and have given presentations at Dreamforce ’13 on how we created it – but this guide is on the usability of the app itself.

Installing the App

The quick guide to getting up and running is as follows – this is meant for Salesforce administrators or for anyone with access to a sandbox account:

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Opportunity Management: Why We Built An App For Salesforce

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This week we will be co-presenting at two sessions at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco. We’ve built a sales app on the AppExchange called ASPEC for Salesforce. Our development team has used the latest Canvas technology from Salesforce to integrate ASPEC’s graphic and gamification design features, to make sales automation fun and easy to use.

Our vision, here at SalesWays, is to make our ASPEC technology as widely available to as many salespeople as possible, whether solo users, small teams, or large enterprises. To make this happen we had to consider the different technology platforms that are currently used. As I write this today, ASPEC itself by our own definitions at SalesWays is not CRM—we prefer to call it sales automation (SFA). 

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Presenting at Two Sessions Next Week at Dreamforce ’13

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Dreamforce 2013 is less than a week away and I am extremely excited. I am proud to announce that I will be co-presenting at two sessions, at the world’s largest cloud computing event. I will be talking about our experiences as an ISV Partner, explaining the architecture behind our Canvas integration, and performing a live demonstration of our app.

We recently released ASPEC for Salesforce on the AppExchange, and worked with a great Salesforce ISV team, as we navigated the process from idea to reality. One of the early decisions was to use Canvas, a new technology that came into its own in Summer ’13. I’ll be speaking on why we chose to use Canvas and our journey through the ISV lifecycle.

ASPEC for Salesforce is truly a great example of a connected app. I am thrilled to be able to share it with the fantastic crowd of sales professionals, partners, and industry experts in San Francisco.

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ASPEC for Salesforce – Available on the Salesforce AppExchange

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ASPEC for Salesforce

It is my utmost pleasure to announce that ASPEC for Salesforce  is now available on the AppExchange. SalesWays’ groundbreaking opportunity management app using our patented sales methodology is readily available, fully-integrated into the world’s most popular customer relationship management (CRM) software.

ASPEC for Salesforce is a connected app that is compatible with all Sales Cloud editions with Opportunity Tracking enabled. With this launch, Sales Cloud users can instantly unlock tremendous value from their Salesforce opportunity tracking through the additional visual and analytical tools found only in ASPEC.

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Sales Forecasting With ASPEC – Part 2: Putting it all Together

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In Part 1, I reviewed the different methods of choosing the numbers that power your forecast – Unweighted, Weighted, and Committed.   ASPEC supports these three methods – and you don’t have to pick just one.  In fact, you can use more than one as a double check to validate the numbers you are seeing.

Let’s talk now about the operational side of using the Forecast function in ASPEC.

For most opportunity tracking tools (either in CRM, or stand-alone), forecasting falls into one of two categories:

1.  Reporting

This is the idea that forecasting is left to a reporting section of the software tool – it is considered output.  The kind of output you run once a month or once a week.  This comes from the pre-historic days of CRM – which many of the current crop of Cloud vendors copy.  Forecasting should be interactive – rather than run a report on a territory and product, you should be able to apply a territory or product filter to your forecast.

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