Bob Apollo

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 ind...

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...

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...

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