Posts Tagged ‘Opportunity Management’

The CRM Debate Goes On: Do We Really Need It?

Written by on . Posted in CRM, Sales & Technology

Over the years, we’ve worked with literally thousands of companies considering a CRM system. Big companies, small companies, in-between companies. Some bought ours, some bought someone else’s, and some did nothing. It is this last group that this paper addresses.

I recently polled an industry group of manufacturers who sold capital equipment and services to a narrow, B2B market segment. Their sales cycles are long, complex, and varied, the competition is stiff, and the repeat business substantial. A dream market for CRM. Over half of them have no CRM system, and no active plans to implement one.

One part of me says “great, more sales opportunities for me.” Another part says, “why not?”

The reasons I hear (and interpret):

  • “We don’t need it.”

This is usually accompanied by “Excel/ Outlook/ Quickbooks/ Other works just fine.” But you do need it. You think you don’t because business is going along as it always has, so why rock the boat? The answer is because your customers and competitors are already rocking the boat, and you’re gonna get swamped sooner or later.

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

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology 1 Comment

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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The Other Side of the Selling Equation

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

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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3 Ways To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology No Comments

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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Optimizing Sales Opportunities: The GPS of Selling

Written by on . Posted in ASPEC, ASPEC Methodology No Comments

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

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

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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The Evolution of Computational Selling – What You Need To Know About Sales Automation

Written by on . Posted in Sales & Technology, SFA No Comments

Regular HUB readers will know that at SalesWays we are constantly looking to improve sales performance using technology – that’s been a mission of mine since my early career in sales and my first personal computer. This is referred to as “sales force automation” and I’ve never really liked the term. It sounds too military for me—I see images of rows of salespeople lined up in battle formation. SFA spun out from “contact management” which involved PCs maintaining databases of names, addresses and other customer data. Attempts to store details of sales opportunities morphed it into SFA. As the information expanded in scope and involved workflow between other departments in the company, the terminology Customer Relationship Management (CRM) took over and quickly became the norm. Now most people are confused between SFA and CRM—trust me, my company sells both products and we find it hard to quickly convince people of the difference.

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The Army of New Sales CRM Vendors, and Why They’ve Got It Wrong

Written by on . Posted in CRM, Sales & Technology No Comments

We have recently released a new version of ASPEC that has added Accounts, Contacts and Interactions to our Sales Tracking and Opportunity Management functions.  Some call this CRM, others call it Sales Force Automation. I tend to view ASPEC 4 as true Sales Automation.  As usual, however, there is no standard definition out there on what Sales Force Automation actually is – some say it includes inventory management while others define it literally as the automation of sales tasks.

I mention the distinction because there is a resurgence in what seems to be called “Sales CRM.”  Startups and Investors have recognized there is a large market opportunity in CRM, specifically for the sales organization. There are a number of relatively new players in this Sales CRM market, and their focus is almost entirely on sales process and opportunity management.  They all agree one thing – the established current CRM vendors just aren’t cutting it with helping sales people and sales teams win more business, be more disciplined, and be more productive.

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8 Sales Pain Points – Do You Have Sales Pain?

Written by on . Posted in ASPEC, In Practice No Comments

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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Effective Team Selling – The Culture of Sharing Information

Written by on . Posted in Information Management No Comments

When the sales department gets automated, spin-off benefits are high both for the individual and the team, or, at least, they should be. An important thing to get right is to ensure a culture of “sharing”. Sharing plays a big role in the effectiveness in CRM, and by default, SFA projects.

I can see eyebrows being raised? Why should there be a problem with sharing? Well, in business (and remember, sales is the business of doing business), sharing is often something that people find difficult to do—sometimes a major shift in culture has to occur to make it happen. Salespeople are by nature competitive—and have to be. Their financial and spiritual reward depends heavily in individual effort, know-how, and tenacity. Knowledge gained from that is prized, and leveraged for career gain and success.

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