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In Use ASPOs To Improve Cold Call Response Rates, I’d introduced Account Specific Point Offerings and touched upon how salespersons can use them to begin the conversation with potential buyers at the top of the sales funnel.

In this post, I’ll describe ASPOs in greater detail and outline a methodology for developing them.

ASPO DEFINED

ASPO is a link between your product or service and your prospect’s strategic initiative.

Strategic initiatives are responses to internal or external events affecting the business. Examples of such events – “trigger events” – are sharp increase in pilferage, expansion into a new geography, acquisition of a new company, and so on. Corresponding strategic initiatives would be contain pilferage, develop localizations, and integrate the IT infrastructure of the acquired company.

As the name suggests, an ASPO is one out of several products / services in the vendor’s portfolio that is relevant to the specific prospect at whom it is pitched. Note that two prospects might respond to the same trigger event in two different ways, so the same ASPO won’t work for both of them.

EXAMPLES OF ASPO

Let me give a few examples of ASPOs created using the aforesaid methodology.

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EXAMPLE-1: Access Control Technology Targeted At A Prospect Facing Heavy Pilferage 
Trigger Event: Sharp increase in pilferage from warehouses.

Strategic Initiative: Restrict access to warehouses.

ASPO: RFID-based access control technology.

Pitch: “I understand that you’re facing heavy pilferage related losses. I’m calling since I thought you may be looking for a way to restrict access to your warehouses so that you can reduce these losses.”

EXAMPLE-2: IT Localization Solution Targeted At A Prospect That Is Expanding Into New Geographies
“I recently read about your plans to expand into new geographies. From our experience with other customers, the required country-specific localizations may delay your launch dates. I’m calling since I thought you may be looking for a way to curtail those delays and safeguard your launch dates.”

EXAMPLE-3: IT Integration Service Targeted At A Prospect That Acquired A New Company
“I heard about your new company acquisition. This might cause incompatibilities in your IT landscape. I’m calling since I thought you may be looking for a way to integrate the IT systems of the two companies such that the incompatibilities are eliminated.”

CREATING ASPOs

The process of creating an ASPO is illustrated in the following diagram:

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It comprises of the following steps:

aspo02

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  1. Tracking trigger events and strategic initiatives for each company on your Target Lead List. If you’re unable to find enough information to do this from the company’s website, you might need to subscribe to premium services like EDGAR OnlineInsideView or our HEATMAP360 that provide news, stories and sentiment about current and potential customers.
  2. Creating a strong link between strategic initiatives and your products / services. This link must be clear enough for the prospect to ‘get it’ in the first few seconds of the cold call. It should also be credible enough for him or her to continue the conversation instead of getting put off by tall claims and bang the phone down.

Creating ASPOs requires a 360 degree knowledge of your offerings, a clear grasp of your company’s case studies, the ability to “connect the dots”  and, above all, the flair to “think on your feet”. You also need oversight to ensure that your BD executives don’t spend too much time on research and too little on calling.

Companies facing a shortfall of skills or lack of management bandwidth to pull off the development of ASPOs inhouse could always outsource this activity.

Ketharaman Swaminathan On October - 3 - 2013

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