The TASC Top 10 – Number 2 The local weatherman puts your forecasting to shame.

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We’ve been researching and studying and analyzing the sales process and methodology for a long time. Back in 1999, our CRM was called MODE and consisted of three modules: FIND for marketing; TASC for sales; and CARE for after-sales support and service. TASC was an acronym for Territory, Account, Sales cycle, and Contact, and it incorporated the ASPEC technology, although it wasn’t called ASPEC then.

It was, as I said, 1999, and CRM was in its infancy, not really understood as a software tool by most businesses. We wrote a series of ten vignettes illustrating various situations where CRM would solve some business problem and published them as the TASC 10. They are still relevant today, and sixteen years later, here is Number 2 – The local weatherman puts your forecasting to shame.

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The TASC Top 10 – Number 1 You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

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We’ve been researching and studying and analyzing the sales process and methodology for a long time. Back in 1999, our CRM was called MODE and consisted of three modules: FIND for marketing; TASC for sales; and CARE for after-sales support and service. TASC was an acronym for Territory, Account, Sales cycle, and Contact, and it incorporated the ASPEC technology, although it wasn’t called ASPEC then.

It was, as I said, 1999, and CRM was in its infancy, not really understood as a software tool by most businesses. We wrote a series of ten vignettes illustrating various situations where CRM would solve some business problem and published them as the TASC 10. They are still relevant today, and sixteen years later, here is Number 1 – You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process With Your ComputerReason No. 3 – Singing from the same page.

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The common way for sales teams to get automated is through a CRM system. Early adopters of CRM have managed to iron out the flaws and have settled down to life with CRM doing a pretty good job of assisting with customer experience—making it as good as you can.

Salespeople and sales managers use the CRM system. If the CRM is implemented correctly, they have to. Sales, however, is the last bastion to get into the CRM fold and sometimes only with kicking and screaming. There are reasons for that which are a fairly common topic in my posts. Let’s think a bit about what the sales manager wants out of computer involvement with his team and his processes.

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The Other Side of the Selling Equation

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From Wikipedia: In mathematics, an equation is an equality containing one or more variables. Solving the equation consists of determining which values of the variables make the equality true.

Your sales equation might look like this: good price + right product + favorable terms + good relationship – competition = win. And like Wikipedia says, determining the values is what will result in that win.

On the opposite side of the opportunity, the buyer’s equation might look like this: need + budget + authority + product + trust – hype = buy. And the buyer has the same problem of establishing the values of his variables before he chooses.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No. 2 – Because It’s the Best List Manager on the Planet!

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You can’t get lists out of your life – we depend on them. Before writing this I did a bit of research on the history of lists. Belle Beth Cooper in her wonderful article on lists says, “We pack all the madness and ambiguity of life into a structured form of writing. In short, making lists is a great way to increase our overall happiness and feel less overwhelmed.”

Beth’s was the first piece I turned up in my research and it drew me in so deeply I didn’t bother to go any further. She has some very excellent tips for those of us that are always searching for ways to pack more productive time into our lives. But, back to the post—I’m interested in the list as it applies to salespeople.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No 1 – Because It’s Cool

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Well right off the bat, computers are cool. Every salesperson has one in some form or another. The choice is not limited to laptops or desktops—might as well include smartphones, tablets, phablets, ultrabooks, chromebooks and, of course, pads and pods. And now there’s wearable computing—soon salespeople will be looking through Google Glass, and reading their schedule on their iWatch, Gear 2, and so on (and on).

Technology has proven valuable for salespeople, assisting in a zillion different ways to do things better, faster, and overall, just making things easier. The effect is, or should be, more sales. But all of this is not that new— can it be cool? Cool easily becomes a passing fad.

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3 Ways To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

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Full disclosure: that title is deceptive. Intentionally so. It implies that I am going to show you some surefire ways to shorten your sales cycles and get to the win faster. Well, I am going to show you those surefire ways, but they won’t lead to a win. Shortening the sales cycle never does.

First, we need to understand what the sales cycle is, and what it isn’t. Here’s what it isn’t – yours. Here’s what it is – your reaction to the customer’s buying cycle.

That means your sales exists at the customer’s whim. It starts when he wants it, it ends when he’s ready, it changes as his situation does. The customer makes the rules and you need to obey them.

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Forecasting Analytics: The Sales Cycle Length

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Occasionally, I go to the LinkedIn sales forums to see what’s on the minds of salespeople and the problems they are struggling with. I get frustrated though, because as the owner of a commercial sales application development business, I am frequently not allowed to post my two cents worth because it is “self-promotion.”

Recently, a sales manager was asking, “What is the best analytic I can use to see if my salespeople have good pipelines and my forecasting has a chance of being accurate.”

I know my answer to this probably won’t come up in the discussion thread. The one piece of data that drives information and knowledge about strategy in the sale and creates the best chance of accurate projections is . . . the length of the sales cycle. Let’s see why.

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Does Your Sales Forecast Help You?

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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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6 Questions to Ask Anyone Who Says Their Sales Cycle Doesn’t End

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When we are talking about the sales process, we ask for the best guess of the sales person as to when the sales opportunity will close. Occasionally, we hear back “I don’t have an end date.” There are legitimate cases where this is true, but more often than not, it’s not only wrong, but is also dangerous. Forecasting will be difficult if not impossible, and the sales people won’t be following a process.

Here are some questions to think about when evaluating if you actually have an end date to your sales opportunity.

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