Bob Apollo

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...

B2B sales: six steps to value

One of the biggest frustrations for today’s sales leaders is their sales peoples’ apparent inability to connect the business value of their solutions with the business issues of their prospective customers. It’s not a new phenomenon - we’ve been wrestl...

B2B sales: what should we be measuring?

If we’re in sales, there are two obvious monetary measures of our success: revenue and margin. Revenue is particularly important for organisations that are primarily concerned with driving top line growth. Margin is particularly important for organisat...

3 fundamental goals of sales leadership

The art and science of sales leadership is clearly complicated, but the fundamental goals of sales leadership - at least from my observations of complex B2B sales environments - seem to be remarkably consistent: They want to be confident that they are ...

14 critical activities every sales person needs to master

Whenever we attempt break down the key success factors in managing complex B2B sales opportunities, it soon becomes apparent that there are a number of critical activities that need to be mastered between the first contact with a potential customer and...

Our prospects are qualifying us, too…

Just as the discovery process is best thought of (and most effective) as a two-way exercise, so is the closely-related opportunity qualification process. We can think of qualification as one of the key outcomes of an effective discovery process. Many s...

Why our sales discovery process must always be two-way

I’ve written before about the critical importance of the discovery process in complex B2B sales. It’s a favourite subject, and with good reason - in my experience the quality of initial discovery is a vital predictor of subsequent sales success. But it...

Why your salespeople should never do product demonstrations

I imagine we’ve all sat through at least one of these at some stage of our careers: a software demonstration that is nothing more or less than a relentless and apparently never-ending stream of product features thrown out at the audience in the misguid...

Is this the most counterproductive sales metric?

If we’re driven by data and interested in statistics, there are a wide range of sales metrics we can choose to monitor. Assuming that we have collected the data in the first place, we can measure win rates, sales cycle velocity, changes in deal value o...

Is sales “process” really the right metaphor?

The term “sales process” has become an almost universal cliché (and yes, I have been as guilty as the rest). Research is regularly published to prove that organisations with a defined “sales process” outperform their less well organised competitors. In...

How do you create value for your customers?

With relatively few exceptions, most companies want to be seen to be focused on value, rather than price. You can understand why: in most markets there is only space for one or at most a very few “cost leaders”. You can see the trend reflected in the n...

Is scope creep suffocating your opportunities?

Most sales organisations would agree that increasing average deal values is a positive objective, along with shortening sales cycles and improving win rates. But the same is not necessarily true when it comes to specific sales opportunities. In fact, a...

12 key sales qualifiers

Early, accurate qualification is critical to success in complex B2B sales. It allows us to identify the opportunities that we have a real chance of winning, and it allows us to quickly eliminate poorly qualified deals from our pipeline. In my experienc...

We’re NOT Average

Mark Twain is said to have popularised the phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics". In an amusing variation, an obviously learned British judge is said to have categorised witnesses into three classes: “simple liars, d...

Shaping our customer’s “why”…

I recently shared my thoughts about applying Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” concept (also known as The Golden Circle) to the sales process - you can read the article here. I used Sinek’s framework to make the point that our best customers don’t just bu...

Starting with “Why”

In September 2009, Simon Sinek took the stage at a TEDx event and delivered an 18-minute presentation that has now been viewed around 50 million times across a variety of different sites. In it, Sinek offered a model for inspirational leadership that h...

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