Bob Apollo

A tale of greed – and reckless disregard for the customer experience

I hope you will forgive me this rant, but in addition to allowing me to vent my frustration, I believe the story contains some important messages and lessons... French Air Traffic controllers earn around €106,000 euros – around three times the ave...

Why you need a Vision Story and a Value Story

The best sales people and the best content marketers are often great storytellers. They have the ability to craft compelling narratives that persuade their potential customers to want to buy. But can the same story architecture work at both the macro (...

The Persuasive Power of a Mutual Action Plan

As Gartner and others have frequently pointed out, B2B buying decisions are often complicated. If the problem to be solved is a new one, rather than a familiar repetitive purchase, the buyer (or, more likely, buying group) may not be completely clear a...

Is your differentiation based on features or outcomes?

It’s a fundamental principle of value-based selling that whenever a prospective customer is unable to establish any meaningful difference between the options open to them, they are likely to choose what they perceive to be the cheapest or safest option...

Hope is not a strategy – and ignorance is no excuse

Why do apparently promising sales opportunities go wrong so often? Why do close dates speed past, get reset and then repeat the cycle? Why do so many sales forecasts bear so little relationship to reality? Rick Page, founder of The Complex Sale offered...

Sales Opportunity Qualification or Qualifiction?

Accurate opportunity qualification is perhaps the single most important foundation for success in complex B2B sales environments. In the absence of an up-to-date and accurate assessment of the specific circumstances of each of their active sales opport...

Familiar vs. Unfamiliar Purchases

Sales consultants often make the distinction between transactional and complex sales. Transactional sales - whatever their value - tend to have a relatively simple buying journey, are associated with lower decision risk, and involve fewer stakeholders....

Understanding Your Customer’s Decision Journey

It’s falsely comforting to think of selling as a process in which one step follows logically after another. But although rigidly defined processes might be the best way of running a manufacturing production line, they completely fail to reflect th...

A Progressive Approach to Sales Opportunity Qualification [that isn’t BANT]

Like a growing number of other commentators, I have come to believe that the traditional BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) approach to sales opportunity qualification is fundamentally flawed and not fit for purpose when it comes to complex B...

Over 40% of projects are ad-hoc: another nail in the coffin of BANT

It surprises and shocks me how many sales organisations still regard BANT as a practical way of qualifying sales opportunities. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it dates back to the steam-driven days prior to the emergence of the I...

From Sales Process to Buying Journey

The idea of a “sales process” has been around since long before I was offered my first sales role. The concept has been heavily promoted by the mainstream sales methodology vendors and adopted with varying degrees of effectiveness by many sales organis...

If you really want to shorten your sales cycle, slow down!

If the conversations I’ve been having with sales leaders recently are anything to go by, our sales pipelines are full of opportunities that start off looking like they are going to end up in a quick sale, but then get stuck somewhere in the middle (or ...

Successful Selling = Intelligent Choices, not Fixed Formulas

I’ve just spent a few minutes completing the annual survey from one of the world’s most widely respected sales training organisations. Of course, I haven’t yet seen the results, but I was intrigued by the implications behind a number of the questions. ...

No sales plan survives first contact with the customer

Military leaders have long recognised the importance of planning. But they have also recognised that it is the act of planning, rather than the plan itself, that is most important. The Prussian military commander Helmuth van Moltke concluded that “No p...

The sales methodology that outperforms all others

Every established sales methodology attracts its own fan base. Some are fans of SPIN®, others Challenger®, Miller-Heiman, Sandler, Solution Selling® and so on – the list goes on for ages. I’m particularly but not exclusively attracted to "value se...

Is your sales pipeline full of fatbergs?

The sewer systems of of our towns and cities are struggling to cope with a phenomenon known as the “fatberg”. These fatbergs are formed by an unappetising combination of oil, grease, food waste and other materials that have no place in the system. Unfo...

Selling incremental improvement isn’t enough!

If you’re involved in complex B2B sales, and if what you are selling is anything other than an absolute “must buy” necessity, then you all face the same top competitor, whatever you’re trying to sell, and whoever you’re trying to sell to. It’s the stat...

Account Based Everything: a foundation for partnership

Account-Based Marketing (and its all-embracing cousin “Account Based Everything”) has been touted by its promoters as a miracle cure capable of halting the precipitate decline in conventional marketing effectiveness - and derided by cynical detractors ...

The 3* sales pipeline coverage myth

I’m no great fan of averages, and I’m no great fan of unsupported rules of thumb, either. Perhaps the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example is the longstanding urban myth that we need to target 3* pipeline coverage in order to reliably...

Why your pipeline doesn’t need any sales stages

This is a subject I’ve referred to before, but an excellent article by Don Mulhern has prompted me to promote a concept that deserves far more attention - and which is driving impressive success in the growing number of sales organisations that have em...

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