Posts Tagged ‘Sales Methodology’

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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Successful CRM Implementation #2: Develop the Plan

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Even before the CRM system is specified, researched, and purchased, there should be discussion amongst all the functional groups within the company that might be impacted, and that will be pretty much the entire company. In these discussions, the previously defined vision will begin to permeate through the organization. Just like any project, if there is no plan to translate the vision and change into a working system, things are bound to go awry.

The plan will include an overview of what has to be fixed and a detailed operational description of how and when to do each step. Key people will be assigned as stakeholders and will take charge of the piece of the project that they control or influence. Goals must be set, expectations must be aligned with real tasks, and measurement criteria has to be identified and assigned.

These can vary in scope depending on their expected impact. A sales manager may set down the goal of having an accurate day-to-day bookings forecast available. Someone in sales administration may want to see clean customer information in one place. A CEO may demand real-time information about, well, virtually anything. CRM is so all-encompassing that each company will have its own unique set of aspirations. The important thing is to get them written down in a plan. That is the only way the success of the project can be monitored.

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Deal Me In – Prioritizing in Cards & Sales

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One of the most significant daily challenges to a sales professional is deciding which opportunity to work on today. To do this, you have to get your prioritization right, and that requires each opportunity to be valued.

This is even more critical when you are working many opportunities at one time and when the opportunities are at different points in the sales cycle and have different levels of importance based on strategy, revenue, product, etc. This exercise requires a significant time investment, and getting it right is crucial to focusing your effort where it will have the best payoff.

Putting a value on an opportunity is tricky. Our OPM methodology helps by defining two distinct types of value. An intrinsic value depends only on the probability of winning the deal and the position you are in the sales cycle. External value refers to the factors we mentioned earlier such as potential revenue, strategic importance, product relevance and others.

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Baseball, Big Data, and Selling.

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A while ago I wrote a post on Sabermetrics which us using baseball statistics to make strategic decisions in improving a team’s performance especially when it came to individual performers. This was the subject of the story in the movie “Moneyball” staring Brad Pit. My post was how to use some of these ideas in building sales teams.

Now there is another book that discusses the role of Big Data in baseball.  (“Big Data Baseball ; Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20yr Losing Streak,”  by Travis Sawchik. This idea takes Sabermetrics a bit further and looks at the idea of sifting the huge amount of Big Data that has amassed in baseball to make long range decisions on a Club’s success rate.

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What is the start of the sale cycle?

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I saw this discussion on the AA-ISP site just recently. It’s an ongoing issue with salespeople and managers, and especially so since metrics have gained so much dominance in the sales process.

The real problem is that unless you have a consistent, realistic estimation of when the sales opportunity begins, the sales cycle starts, or your favourite expression for this event, you can’t do any reliable analytics on the how long it takes to sell something. And getting the whole team to abide by the same definition is very difficult.

Back to the AA-ISP forum. The question was this:

“What do you consider the start of the sales cycle? For instance, we have a Sales Development Team and Account Executive Team. Our Sales Development Team will outbound call/email out to a pool of ~10,000 potential prospects (cold) and schedule demos for our Account Executive team. Would you consider the sales cycle to have started at first contact? when the demo is scheduled? or when the Account Executive holds the demo?”

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

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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

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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 Language and Method of Selling

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Salespeople usually get trained by “learning on the job.” Depending on who’s teaching, that may be OK, but it often leads to nonconformity of understanding from one salesperson to another. It’s surprising how many salespeople have little in common with their fellows, as far as understanding the fundamental language of the sale.

Wide adoption of computer technology by sales departments only heightens the problem. If a few hundred salespeople are linked together through a common CRM network, they have to understand the common thread of the sales method that is hopefully embedded in it. If not, they will use it in a myriad of different ways, which usually renders the CRM system useless. CRM is a wonderful way to ingrain sales methodology, but it needs a carefully chosen sales method to start off with.

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