Bob Apollo

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...

Over 40% of projects are ad-hoc: another nail in the coffin of BANT

It surprises and shocks me how many sales organisations still regard BANT as a practical way of qualifying sales opportunities. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it dates back to the steam-driven days prior to the emergence of the I...

From Sales Process to Buying Journey

The idea of a “sales process” has been around since long before I was offered my first sales role. The concept has been heavily promoted by the mainstream sales methodology vendors and adopted with varying degrees of effectiveness by many sales organis...

If you really want to shorten your sales cycle, slow down!

If the conversations I’ve been having with sales leaders recently are anything to go by, our sales pipelines are full of opportunities that start off looking like they are going to end up in a quick sale, but then get stuck somewhere in the middle (or ...

Successful Selling = Intelligent Choices, not Fixed Formulas

I’ve just spent a few minutes completing the annual survey from one of the world’s most widely respected sales training organisations. Of course, I haven’t yet seen the results, but I was intrigued by the implications behind a number of the questions. ...

No sales plan survives first contact with the customer

Military leaders have long recognised the importance of planning. But they have also recognised that it is the act of planning, rather than the plan itself, that is most important. The Prussian military commander Helmuth van Moltke concluded that “No p...

The sales methodology that outperforms all others

Every established sales methodology attracts its own fan base. Some are fans of SPIN®, others Challenger®, Miller-Heiman, Sandler, Solution Selling® and so on – the list goes on for ages. I’m particularly but not exclusively attracted to "value se...

Is your sales pipeline full of fatbergs?

The sewer systems of of our towns and cities are struggling to cope with a phenomenon known as the “fatberg”. These fatbergs are formed by an unappetising combination of oil, grease, food waste and other materials that have no place in the system. Unfo...

Selling incremental improvement isn’t enough!

If you’re involved in complex B2B sales, and if what you are selling is anything other than an absolute “must buy” necessity, then you all face the same top competitor, whatever you’re trying to sell, and whoever you’re trying to sell to. It’s the stat...

Account Based Everything: a foundation for partnership

Account-Based Marketing (and its all-embracing cousin “Account Based Everything”) has been touted by its promoters as a miracle cure capable of halting the precipitate decline in conventional marketing effectiveness - and derided by cynical detractors ...

The 3* sales pipeline coverage myth

I’m no great fan of averages, and I’m no great fan of unsupported rules of thumb, either. Perhaps the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example is the longstanding urban myth that we need to target 3* pipeline coverage in order to reliably...

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...

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