Posts Tagged ‘Opportunity Portfolio Management’

Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.

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Everything that humans do is process. Everything.

Process is “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” That pretty much describes everything you do, from brushing your teeth to designing a jumbo jet. The only time we escape process is when we’re asleep.

So why do many sales people react with, “Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.” (Apologies to Humphrey Bogart and Gene Wilder.) But you do. And here is the most important process you need: choosing the sales opportunity you’re going to work on right now.

That’s more important than your process for closing the sale because if you’re working the wrong opportunity, winning doesn’t matter. Neither does losing, which you will do more often than your manager will like.

That’s more important than your process for prospecting a lead because when that lead becomes an opportunity, chances are you’ll screw it up if you don’t get it into its proper priority in your pipeline.

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

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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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The Sales Process – “All the World’s a Stage …” (Part Two)

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Final Curtain

Here are some more thoughts on the metaphor of the stage play versus the sales transaction that began in this post. As in that post, the italics are taken from my original description of the SalesWays Opportunity Portfolio Management training course.

Remember, the reason that we get precise in the language of sales is to define an exact model of the sales process that the computer can understand. The advantage of having consistent understanding of the terms across the sales team is that it builds transparency which in turn leads to efficiency. Efficiency is one of those two E words (Effectiveness being the other) that you hope will ensue when you implement CRM or SFA. This post ends with the “Final Curtain” and will, indeed, mark the end of this two part thread on the stage metaphor. I promise.

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Prioritize Sales Opportunities to Maximize Results

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ASPEC - OPM Planner - Priority

Priority is an important concept in selling. It helps us to determine how we should organize our work on the opportunities in our portfolios in order to maximize their value, and maximize our income. Although the idea is intuitive in theory, it is not always obvious in the reality and pressures of dealing with real sales opportunities in real time.

There are many ways to prioritize opportunities. We may prioritize based on order potential (size), the strategic nature of the prospect, or our estimated probability of success, for example.  Although these are acceptable practices, they may not guarantee we will maximize the results of our efforts.  A large potential order with very limited likelihood of success may prove to be a time sink that prevents us from acting on opportunities that might result in a larger payoff.

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The Sales Process – “All the World’s a Stage …”

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Sales Process on Stage

“All the world’s a stage and we’re all players and salespeople.”

This quote is from an article by Liz Guthridge called, “Learn to love selling in the year of the snake.”

Actually, Liz was reviewing a recent book by Dan Pink called “To Sell Is Human.” I checked out the inside of the book on Amazon and placed an order—looks like good stuff to me.

Liz is enamored by a suggestion in the book to enhance the skills of pitching, improvisation, and serving. To focus on improvisation, she involves herself in a course of improv and finds it has a positive impact on her selling. Summing up she says, “With apologies to Shakespeare, I prefer selling to acting as influencing seems more natural to me . . .”

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Introduction to the ‘Sales Productivity with ASPEC’ Series

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ASPEC, the sales productivity system

Here at SalesWays we have been working hard on ASPEC, our Mobile and Cloud-based sales tracking and opportunity management application.  But ASPEC isn’t just software – it’s sales methodology and technology combined.  We’ve invented something special with ASPEC – a universal model for the sales cycle.  In fact, we’d argue that no one else has ever done this, as evidenced by our three patents.  For the first time ever, the computer can understand the sales process.

There hasn’t been a lot on ASPEC on The SalesWays Hub since its launch – but that’s about to change.  We’re introducing an extended series on how to increase sales productivity and sales effectiveness using ASPEC.  The series is going to focus on how to apply ASPEC to everyday life as a sales person, sales team, and/or sales organization.

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Building a Profitable Opportunities Portfolio Using Priority

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Follow Your Priority

Dealing with probabilities is a way that gives greater consistency and credibility to the projection of future business. When addressed through the answers to three simple questions (Will we get the business? What is the assurance that there will be business? When will it happen?), we define what we call the “essential aspects of opportunity” and introduce a sense of urgency or, in the language of our sales model, priority.

We now have all the factors that determine this priority. It is obvious that the probability of a successful sale directly influences the allocation of resources to work the opportunity, but another factor to consider is time.

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Selling Styles and Customer Interactions

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Interaction Styles

An earlier post discussed the two selling styles and how salespeople needed to blend them to suit the occasion—a particular point in the sales cycle. What is meant by blending styles? To answer this question, we need to revisit customer interactions. Most selling is done in face to face interactions with the customer, and sales cycles usually involve several meetings in which the salesperson plays out a scripted strategy to win the sale.

Although a good salesperson will have mapped out the objectives of a call beforehand, things don’t always go as planned. The customer may be having a bad day which will bring the salesperson’s personal skills into play. Conversely, the customer may be ready to take off for a weekend at the cottage, and the salesperson must try to get the business taken care of as there may not be another chance for a long time. The salesperson must hop between relationship and opportunity focus as appropriate.

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The Sales Cycle: A Computer Model

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Abstract Computer Model

The idea of a computer model of the sales cycle raises a few eyebrows at our OPM sales training, and it’s understandable. Why put in the effort to model the sale when it is tough enough dealing with the real thing?  We designed the model to enable a computer to understand the critical components that drive the dynamics of the sales process.

Our sales model was based on lessons learned in years of field sales experience with a variety of products and customers in complex sales cycles. The concepts that have traditionally described the sale — lead, customer, opportunity, interaction, etc. — needed to be reframed to match the rigorous and logical “thinking” process of the computer.

After testing the model in thousands of real sales situations, we found it could be used outside of its original scope. These ideas don’t need the support of technology to succeed, although they come alive on the computer. If salespeople understand the principles behind the model and use them rigorously in their selling, they will win more sales, whether they use a computer or not.

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PowerPoint, Wikipedia, and a True Definition of Sales

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Powerpoint 2010

In a previous article, I referred to Michael Schrage’s comment that the 2×2 matrix rated along with PowerPoint as the two most popular business tools. I don’t rate them equal — PowerPoint does not have the same depth as the 2×2 in the power to unravel problems;it is more a set of tools to get a more effective portrayal of an idea or message. In an effort to learn more, I went over to Wikipedia to check on PowerPoint. This led to a digression that is worth writing about.

Wikipedia says that PowerPoint is a ubiquitous presentation program. I guess we all knew that, and the reason it is ubiquitous is because of Microsoft’s marketing clout. It goes on to say that PowerPoint “is among the most prevalent forms of persuasion technology.” That last term caught my interest—I’ve heard of information technology, change technology, but this is the first I’ve heard of persuasion technology.

I plowed on:

“Persuasion technology is technology that can be used for presenting or promoting a point-of-view. Any technology designed and deployed for those purposes can be considered a persuasion technology. Such aids are regularly used in sales, diplomacy, politics, religion, military training, cult recruiting and management, and may potentially be used in any area of human interaction.”

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