Bob Apollo

Advance or disqualify!

In his best-selling sales guidebook “SPIN® Selling”, Neil Rackham identified four potential outcomes from every significant conversation with a prospective customer in a complex B2B sales environment: a win, an advance, a continuation or a clear “no sa...

Has role specialisation in B2B selling gone too far?

Largely inspired by the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor, and made real by Henry Ford and others, the age of mass production introduced the concept of role specialisation in the pursuit of manufacturing efficiency.And for a considerable period of time ...

A New Year Resolution: eliminating wasteful sales behaviours

This is the time of year when most of us would benefit from some quiet reflection on what we’ve learned during 2020, and how we intend to apply that learning in the New Year.It’s fair to say that for most of us the learning opportunities…

Creating collective value through customised value

I recently made what I hope was a compelling case for creating a customer-specific unique value story for every significant customer opportunity.I now want to turn my attention to a critical complement to every such value story: making explicit connect...

Why do so many trials end up as tribulations?

I want to give Dave Kurlan of Objective Management Group the credit for stimulating this article. I’ve added a link to his original piece below.Whilst trials have become an accepted and effective way of selling consumer or personal productivity softwar...

What’s your customer’s unique value story?

Generic value propositions, although they might be of some use in persuading potential prospects to make initial contact with you as a potential vendor, aren’t very helpful when it comes to setting your customer’s expectations about the specific value ...

Your customers don’t care about your so-called “solutions”

Everywhere you look, sales organisations of all descriptions are promoting their so-called “solutions”. It’s become such an overused term that for years the UK’s Private Eye magazine published a fortnightly column satirising the most amusingly egregiou...

A brief history of sales opportunity qualification

The quality and accuracy of opportunity qualification is widely acknowledged to be a key predictor of future sales success - and a critical differentiator between the best salespeople and the rest.Today’s top salespeople have too much respect for their...

Why it’s time to focus on outcomes

Note: This article has been adapted from the latest fully revised and updated version of my “Introduction to Outcome Centric Selling” - you can download the full document here.Complex B2B buying journeys are inevitably complicated. Your customer’s deci...

Today’s 3 Frontline Sales Management Priorities

Frontline sales managers - the people from whom individual members of the sales organisation take their day-to-day direction - have always played an absolutely pivotal role in the success of every sales organisation.The actions they take and the guidan...

Mutual Success Plans: A Collaborative Approach

I’ve written before about the persuasive power of a Mutual Success Plan in technology-based B2B sales, and I believe the concept is so important that it is worth returning to it, particularly in the light of recent developments in collaboration technol...

The status quo isn’t what it used to be…

Whenever a purchase is inevitable (the customer must act) your competition tends to be predictable - and it will often be another vendor like you. But - as is so often the case in complex B2B sales - the purchase is discretionary (the customer may…

Never let a good crisis go to waste

As Winston Churchill was working to establish the United Nations after World War Two, he observed that leaders should “never let a good crisis go to waste”.Faced with the current pandemic-induced crisis, we all face choices, and we all exposed to the p...

Answering your customer’s three critical questions

In today's challenging and uncertain business climate, your customers have good reason to be cautious. They are unlikely to initiate new projects unless they see them as being strategically relevant, tactically urgent, and capable of deliveri...

A New Normal – or a Better Normal?

It’s become common for commentators to refer to the fast-evolving reality of B2B selling as the “new normal”, and I’ve often used this phrase myself. But in some interpretations, seems to imply an acceptance that we’re going to have to learn to live wi...

Is your ‘coach’ a mobiliser or an immobiliser?

Most conventional sales methodologies encourage salespeople to find at least one coach inside the potential customer’s organisation who is willing and able to give them honest feedback and guide them through the decision-making and approval processes.I...

Should we be selling ‘solutions’ or outcomes?

Many sales methodologies claim to have a uniquely effective approach. Yet, and perhaps inevitably, each methodology has its strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. None of them can credibly claim that they offer a universal “one best way”.

This is why (some) B2B customers are still buying in the current climate…

There’s no doubt that the vast majority - if not all - of discretionary, could-put-it off until later B2B purchases are being deferred in the current climate.If your prospects don’t feel they have to take action, they won’t, and no amount of bluster or...

Reprioritising your target accounts

Having a clearly defined and actively worked new business target account list is a key strategy for anyone who is responsible for proactively developing their own territory (or who has BDR resources focused on their behalf).Generally, having a small ac...

Keeping your sales pipeline flowing

I recently ran a webinar with Paul Everett of The Marketing Practice - one of the UK’s most respected B2B marketing agencies, and with a growing international footprint.We decided to address one of today’s most pressing questions: how can B2B sales org...

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