Bob Apollo

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...

The illusion of the expert buyer

One of the most dangerous mistakes we can make as sales people is believing that our customer – and particularly the sponsor we have been working with – knows how to buy. This might be a reasonable assumption if our prospective customer is buying a fam...

When your customers DO want to speak to a sales person

There’s been a great deal of comment – often from people and organisations who frankly should know better – about how today’s B2B customer doesn’t want to engage with a sales person until late in their consideration. That comment is based on studies an...

The keys to engaging our stakeholders

Our prospective customers are far more likely to want to engage with us if they believe that they are likely to learn something valuable from us. Most sales methodologies stress the importance of asking intelligent questions at the appropriate time and...

Why early engagement is critical to sales success

The now increasingly discredited BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) approach to opportunity qualification discouraged sales people from pursuing opportunities unless there was a clearly defined project with an already established budget. Now,...

Sales pipeline management: let’s stop confusing progress with probability

Sales forecasting is hard. For proof, you need look no further than the 2018 CSO Insights Sales Performance study, which reported that on average a little over 46% of all forecasted sales deals actually resulted in a win (never mind the timing). Even t...

8 steps to positioning your strategic business value

In complex B2B sales environments - particularly ones that involve multiple stakeholders and lengthy and often complicated buying journeys - it's unwise to rush to propose your solution the moment a prospective customer acknowledges or implies that the...

Targeting your most valuable sales opportunities

Many B2B sales and marketing organisations have an unfortunate habit of wasting huge amounts of time and energy pursuing "prospects" that are unlikely to ever become valuable customers, often because there is no common company-wide consensus about whic...

4 key factors influencing B2B buying behaviour

In any high-value complex B2B sales environment involving new projects with multiple stakeholders, the buying behaviours and motivations that drive your customer’s decision-making journey are inherently complicated and may be impossible for the average...

Sales enablement and the performance gap

The primary goal of sales enablement must surely be to increase sales effectiveness by progressively reducing the performance gap between our best sales people and the rest, measured by revenue and other tangible metrics. But it seems to me that a numb...

Is your BDRs’ outreach pertinent or impertinent?

If you are in a role that tends to attract the attention of other vendors’ business development people, you’ve probably had them reaching out to you with varying degrees of competence. Maybe I’m just unlucky, or maybe I have a magnetic attraction for n...

The non-linear world of B2B buying

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 fail to reflect the reality of any...

In complex B2B sales, stakeholders have more than one dimension

In complex B2B sales, there’s a common recognition that multiple stakeholders are almost always involved in the decision-making process. Research by the CEB (now part of Gartner) found that the average number was 6.8 and rising. In some deals, that num...

Responding to, Reframing or Creating Sales Opportunities?

Jim Burns of Avitage drew the distinction between finding versus creating sales opportunities in an article on LinkedIn a couple of years back (I’ve included a link to his article below) and I’d like to offer some additional perspectives on an issue th...

Avoiding the curse of premature elaboration

Apparently, someone once offered a definition for the split second as “the time between a customer giving the merest hint that they might have a need and the sales person rushing to pitch their solution”. It’s a common problem, and I must credit Mike B...

The 7 storytelling secrets of successful salespeople

I’ve long believed that top sellers are storytellers. They are able to call upon a rich fund of relevant anecdotes that they use to communicate and persuade far more convincingly than a conventional sales pitch could ever do. And in sharing their stori...

The Problem with Account Plans…

Many of the clients I’ve been working with over the past few months have been attempting to implement some form of account planning. Far fewer seem to be happy with the current outcomes. The symptoms of an ineffective account planning process aren’t ha...

Asking good questions isn’t enough…

Most traditional sales methodologies stress the importance of asking good questions, and there’s no doubt that the ability to ask relevant and effective questions is a critical sales skill. Unfortunately, the essential matching skill of actually listen...

Of course it matters whether you won or lost…

You’ve probably heard some variation of the saying “it matters not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game”. The modern use of the phrase (in a slightly different form) is attributed to the American sports commentator Grantland Rice, but t...

B2B Sales: Contrast Drives Change

Many analysts claim - and many sales people would agree - that today’s most powerful competitor is not another similar vendor, but the status quo. A “do nothing” or “change nothing” decision is now the most common outcome of complex B2B buying decision...

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