Bob Apollo

Supercharging our sales conversations

This article first appeared in the April 2021 "Supercharging Sales" issue of the International Journal of Sales Transformation.Given the overall theme of the magazine, I thought it might be appropriate to focus on a topic that has long been a focus of ...

Exploding the 3* sales pipeline coverage myth

One of the most unhelpful “rules of thumb” in B2B selling is the long standing and widely quoted myth that the benchmark standard when it comes to sales pipeline management is 3* quota coverage.I’ve struggled to find any original research that justifie...

Ditching the ‘Itch to Pitch’

Whether proactively reaching out to potential future customers or responding to inbound enquiries, salespeople and business development reps in complex B2B sales environments often find themselves having to make a large number of contact attempts in or...

Refining our customer’s value story

Regular readers will know that I have been evangelising the critical importance of customer-specific value stories for a long time. I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on my latest story framework, fuelled by a growing number of client proj...

Profit derives from usage – not initial purchase

Business customers have become increasingly used to as-a-service models, rather than outright purchase - and many of them have come to prefer it.It’s hard to think of any reason why new software offerings would not be developed with a Software-as-a-Ser...

The Secrets of Sales Innovators

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at length with Jan Ropponen, author of “Secrets of Sales Innovators - how World-Class sellers win Million-Dollar deals”.Jan’s book is the distillation of an extensive series of interviews with highly successful B...

Contrast is critical to B2B sales success

I was pleased to be asked to contribute an article to the latest edition of Top Sales Magazine - a regular source of insight for sales professionals - there's a subscription link below. I chose to focus on the importance of contrast in complex B2B…

The key issues for B2B sales leaders in 2021

I was very pleased to be invited by the International Journal of Sales Transformation to contribute an article to their latest edition. The publication is a consistently valuable read for any sales professional, and I urge you to subscribe (I've includ...

“Why are you still working that deal?”

In a recent article (Advance or disqualify!), I proposed that salespeople - rather than clinging on to lifeless sales opportunities in the hope of a miraculous and unlikely resuscitation - should politely and professionally disqualify deals where the c...

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...

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