Bob Apollo

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...

Is your thought leadership really “thought followership”?

If you agree with my definition of thought leadership as something that causes the reader to think and act differently in some meaningful way, then the vast majority of this stream of lazy regurgitation is thought followership at best.

Why should your customers migrate to your new solution?

If - like many of the clients I work with - you are an established enterprise software company, it’s likely that your initial success will have been based on selling a perpetually licensed on-premise solution. And even if you’ve developed a new cloud-b...

In search of the perfect sale…

Is there such a thing as a “perfect sale”? A sale in which we got the highest possible price in the shortest possible sales cycle with the least possible effort, and in which our customer got far more than they hoped for whilst spending far less than t...

Sales training: should we emphasise technique or thinking?

I’ve been talking about the long-term impact of conventional sales training programmes with clients, and their experience seems to be patchy to say the least. One obvious conclusion is that if sales training is to have any chance of being effective, it...

Are your sales people leading with gain or pain?

Most B2B-focused sales people have been taught that it’s more effective to promote the projected “benefits” of their solution than to subject their prospects to a tediously detailed presentation of the features of their product or service. There’s a na...

Targeting prospects who are “trying but struggling”

An uninformed and superficial review of the principles of “challenger®️ selling” might lead some people to conclude that it depends on introducing a problem or opportunity that our potential prospect has never previously given any active consideration ...

Are you selling “me-too” or “breakthrough”?

Have you ever wondered why so many apparently promising B2B sales opportunities end with the prospect deciding to either stick with the status quo or choose the cheapest from a set of apparently similar options? Or why even if they do have a ...

Situational awareness – a critical factor in B2B sales

As regular readers will know, I’ve been a long-standing advocate of establishing repeatable sales processes, but please bear with me while I take what might appear to be a contradictory position: In today’s typical complex B2B sales environments, there...

Understanding the buying decision mindset

Are your prospects Satisfied with the Status Quo, Painting by Numbers, Pursuing a Vision, Busy Going Nowhere or Searching for Guidance? I recently wrote about the phases B2B prospects tend to go through as their buying decision process evolves, and the...

Harnessing the power of hindsight…

Sales opportunities can go so wrong in so many different ways. Sometimes, they go wrong due to events or circumstances that were genuinely unpredictable or completely beyond our control. Sometimes (more often than some sales people might care to admit)...

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