Bob Apollo

Avoiding the Value-Added Trap

An earlier version of this article was first published in the November 2019 edition of Top Sales Magazine.Every sales organisation likes to believe that what they are selling is valuable. But there are many interpretations and definitions of what value...

Sales people need to act like personal trainers, not bartenders

In a recent article for the CEB, Andrew Kent posed the question “Are your reps bartenders or personal trainers?” It’s a great question, a wonderful analogy, and a concept that deserves a broader exposure.Kent was contrasting the difference between trad...

Assumptions kill opportunities

I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on a number of QBRs with my clients, and as an outside observer I’m struck by how common it is for salespeople to make untested assumptions that directly affect the accuracy of their sales forecasts and the outcomes…

The why, how, what and who of sales checklists

When Harvard Medical School Professor (and BBC Reith Lecturer) Atul Gawande published his “Checklist Manifesto” nearly 10 years ago, it soon became apparent that the application of simple checklists - which have transformed patient outcomes in healthca...

Sales perfection is impossible!

There are so many potential variables and unknowns in any complex B2B sales environment that the idea of running a completely perfect sales campaign feels like an impossible dream (or more accurately a hallucination).That’s why rigid sales scripts, sta...

Please tell me something I don’t already know

Corporate Visions recently hosted a webinar on how to gain access to business executives. Their findings were based on a series of realistic simulations intended to identify which messages senior business executives were most likely to respond to (ther...

The most important thing a proposal needs to sell

When your salespeople submit a proposal, it should always represent the natural culmination of a series of value creating conversations with their potential customer.The contents should not come as a surprise. The recommendations should reflect an alre...

RFPs: how to avoid being column fodder

The term “cannon fodder” is used as a somewhat dismissive description for soldiers who were regarded by their generals as expendable and were forced to fight against often hopeless odds in order to achieve an often-unrealistic military goal. First used...

Helping your customer make sense of complexity

Making a buying decision has never been more complicated. Your customers have access to an overwhelming amount of information - often inconsistent, and frequently false or incomplete. They seek consensus when making buying decisions - but have to someh...

A fresh perspective on the Challenger Sale research

First published in 2011, “The Challenger Sale” must be one of the most widely-read sales books of the past decade, and with good reason. Together with its successor “The Challenger Customer” (which I believe is an even more influential book), it served...

Who are your ideal customers?

Most sales organisations - and most of the sales people who work for them - are capable of describing their target market in broad demographic terms. They might, for example, choose to focus on organisations of a certain size, in one or a number of…

Why are so many CRM implementations still failing?

According to many market analysts, the market for CRM solutions shows no signs of slowing down. It’s increasingly rare to find established sales organisations of any significant size without some form of CRM solution. And yet when I talk to many sales ...

How likely is your customer to take action?

One of the most significant mistakes any sales person can make is to assume that their prospective customer is inevitably going to buy something, and that the only remaining questions are what, when, and who from. Some purchases are admittedly inevitab...

How does your CRM manage different opportunity types?

Why do so many CRM implementations behave as if every sales opportunity was created equal? If your organisation is involved in B2B or transactional B2C sales, a “one size fits all” approach might possibly work. But if you are involved in complex B2B sa...

The Foundations of Sales Effectiveness

I recently recorded a second wide-ranging podcast on the foundations of sales effectiveness with Michael Webb of Sales Performance Consultants Inc. We continued to develop the topics we had discussed in our initial podcast, and this time we turned...

Up-front agreements: the key to having productive customer conversations

Business executives often report that they look back on the initial conversations they have with sales people and regard them as a frustrating waste of their time. Given this experience, it’s no wonder that it has become increasingly hard to persuade a...

Stop striving for sales perfection!

Given the inevitable complications and unique considerations involved in any complex sales environment, it’s hard to imagine that we could ever execute a completely “perfect” sale. Unlike a typical manufacturing environment, which seeks to produce high...

What is your Customer’s Minimum Viable Problem?

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product is common in the start-up community. It is normally regarded as an initial release of a product that has just enough features to satisfy early adopter customers and provide feedback for future product development...

The Art, Science + Engineering of Sales Management

Here's an edited transcript of our conversation: Michael Webb: This is Michael Webb, and this is the Sales Process Excellence Podcast. Some people focus on data and applying statistics to solve business problems. Other people focus on reaching senior l...

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...

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