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.
Sales management should know what their salespeople are doing at any given time and be able to predict and guide performance. That is not easy anytime, and it is particularly difficult where there is global presence and rolled up performance data from a complex sales organization. Managers need their salespeople’s activities to be transparent, and any solution needs to simply and reliably gather the information and present it in a useful manner. Sales team members must find it quick easy to record and update current information, and they must benefit from doing it, or they won’t.
ASPEC’s opportunity analysis feature rewards the simple entry of basic information with automated probability and priority assessment to alert the salesperson to the real-time condition of every opportunity, and expert feedback to help them win more sales. Which is, of course, everyone’s goal.
Consistency means that everyone does things in the same way, that information is accumulated in a uniform process, and that it is assessed and used in a defined and coherent way. What’s the good of knowing what sales teams are doing if they are all doing it in different ways? Can forecasts from one region to another be reliably compared if the way they are created is different?
ASPEC provides a common, trusted sales process that is easily understood and simple to use by everyone, that automatically assess opportunity probability and priority in an objective process, and that ensures predictable sales results.
One of the expected benefits of CRM is the ability to acquire reliable customer data and extract information from it. In the case of sales, this means the ability to become more competitive through analysis of this information, and to take corrective action where appropriate. Any analytics depends on good data, and the foundational metric for sales analytics is the sales cycle length. From there, analysis can reveal the good and the bad of sales performance across a team, in an individual, and even in a product or market. Accurate analysis of historical sales cycle data depends on a consistent way of recording the opportunity across the team and transparency to log and report the data.
ASPEC provides all the information required for accurate analysis of historical sales cycle data, collected consistently and easily. And only ASPEC normalizes time in three flexible sales cycle stages, allowing analysis using a stable time stamp – the position in the sales cycle phase, rather than highly variable chronological measurements. The variability of all the sales cycle lengths across teams, and the constantly changing length of any particular sales cycle, no longer clouds analysis.
Technology is ubiquitous today, and seemingly everyone has a computer and tablet and smartphone or other devices. Is the sales team benefiting from using this latest computer and networking technology and applications? Having CRM and a device to run it on and Cloud connectivity does not guarantee an increase in effectiveness. Knowing that you are in the fifth stage of a 10-stage sales process only places you in a range of activity, it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of your opportunity or your work, or your chances of winning. The more imprecise and loose the sales method in the sales app, the more chance of incomplete or bad data that misleads salespeople.
ASPEC was designed specifically to use the power of the computer in the actual sales process, not just recording lists of the people and events surrounding it. It’s patented universal sales model and sales methodology is applicable to virtually every B2B sales situation and can accommodate any sales process.
5. Best Practice
If the CRM system has sales methodology, is should be based on a best practice process. It must be applied in a consistent process across the sales teams, and to all of your opportunities, not just the “important” ones. Different methods, applied erratically, will yield widely varying results.
ASPEC is easy to use so it can be applied to every opportunity, from the multi-million dollar, once-in-a-lifetime sale to re-stocking your customer’s inventory. And it can be used without diverting the sales team from their main job – selling. In fact, with the computerized sales model and the expert guidance, it enhances their ability to do just that.
Competitiveness is more than price, and more than service. For a sales organization to be competitive, it must cover all of the factors previously described, and it must cover them well, every day. Gaps or unknowns in vital sales activities make it impossible to gauge performance accurately, and the metric you most need improved, your win ratio, won’t go up. Competitiveness means getting into the sales cycle early, positioning yourself well, establishing leadership. It means applying the correct selling skills at the right time, no matter how the sales cycle is changing. It means knowing where you are at all times, what is important at any particular time, and getting it done in the proper sequence.
ASPEC recognizes and models your sales cycles, encouraging attention to the early and important activities. It watches the passage of time and reminds you where you are, whether you are doing anything or not. It flexes as the sales cycle changes, making sure you are applying the correct skill at the correct time and not trying to close on the first meeting. It prioritizes all of your opportunities and automatically updates your list so you aren’t distracted by the noise of others or the emotions of one particular sale. It provides guidance based on your selling environment and the facts of each specific opportunity.
Are the sales teams producing? The two E’s, Efficiency and Effectiveness, will pay off in spades from using a good sales methodology baked into a solid CRM system. Efficiency is the ability to do more with the same resources, leveraging technology to relieve administrative and logistical loads. Effectiveness is doing better than others in the same situation.
“Baked into” is one of the most important features of ASPEC. Because it is based on a universal methodology, and the app developed around it, the sales team is constantly working it the methodology, having it reinforced in every computer view they use. And while any good CRM system should increase efficiency, ASPEC increases effectiveness by using the computer in the sales process itself, not just as a list-maker.
There are many forecasting methods, and they rely either on subjective assessment, statistical history, or progress through a linear series of steps. Of these, statistical history is the most accurate because it takes the guesswork out of forecasting and replaces it with hard numbers and facts. Unless your business is a seasonal cycle of sales that repeat year after year, you need better methods.
ASPEC assigns probability using the knowledge of the sales person and applying computer analysis to calculate a probability percentage. Forecasts can be structured to the specific business needs using the variety of parameters provided in ASPEC, and a choice of forecasting types.
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