Monday, September 27th, 2021

The role of trust in sales

If we expect our customers to trust us, we need to develop both an internal and an external culture of trust. Trust is an essential foundational element in any sales environment, and it can (and must) take many forms. Perhaps the most obvious manifestation lies in the relationship between the salesperson (and the vendor they represent) and the customer’s decision-making… 

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Establishing the foundations of a coaching culture

The ability to coach is a key attribute that distinguishes truly effective first-level sales managers from the pack. What’s the one thing that separates truly effective first-level sales managers from the rest? You can make a case for their ability to motivate or to create an environment of responsibility and accountability, but there’s good reason to believe that their ability… 

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Supercharging our sales conversations

Selling power comes not from how much conversation we manage to get through, but the quality of the conversation. Supercharging sales is the overall theme of this edition of the International Journal of Sales Transformation, so I thought it might be appropriate to focus on a topic that has long been a focus of mine: how can salespeople supercharge their… 

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Here’s what’s changing

The key issues for B2B sales leaders in 2021. 2020 proved to be a challenging year for many B2B sales organisations. Certain sectors powered ahead (for example, anything associated with e-commerce or digital transformation) but many other industries suffered significant declines in demand. 2021 will inevitably bring further challenges. Whilst the emergence of effective vaccines offers some hope for recovery,… 

Friday, November 6th, 2020

What’s your customer’s unique value story?

Do you have compelling answers to three crucial customer questions: why change, why you, why now? Generic value propositions, while 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 that they will derive from… 

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Solutions or outcomes?

Bob Apollo on Sales Methodologies In recent articles in this series, I’ve taken a look at some of today’s most widely adopted B2B sales methodologies. Many sales methodologies (in the interest, no doubt, of selling more books and training courses) claim to have a uniquely effective approach. Yet, and perhaps inevitably, each methodology has its strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots…. 

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Spotlight on SPIN® Selling

Following my initial two “Spotlight on…” articles on Sandler and Strategic Selling, I now want to turn my attention to another long-established, widely adopted and still-relevant sales methodology: SPIN® Selling from Huthwaite International. The concepts behind SPIN® were the result of extensive research by Neil Rackham and his colleagues into the patterns of success and failure in complex B2B sales…. 

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Spotlight on Strategic Selling

In the previous edition of the International Journal of Sales Transformation, I summarised some of the key aspects of the Sandler Selling System. In the second of my series of articles on today’s leading sales methodologies, I want to turn to another long-established approach: Strategic Selling® from the Miller Heiman Group. The Strategic Selling methodology is particularly effective in complex… 

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Spotlight on Sandler

In this, the first of a series of articles on sales methodologies, I want to turn the spotlight onto Sandler Selling. Introduced by the late David Sandler in 1967 as an antidote to conventional product-centric, hard-sales tactics, the approach aims to achieve a more equitable balance of power between the buyer and the seller. By emphasising rapport-building and empathy, and… 

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Which sales methodology is best for your organisation?

There is a general recognition – backed by the latest research from CSO Insights and others – that sales organisations that have adopted a structured approach to selling consistently and often dramatically outperform their less-effective competitors. One of the key foundations of a structured approach to selling involves the adoption of an appropriate sales methodology. You might think of these… 

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

ABM: a foundation for partnership

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses Account-based marketing (ABM), along with its all-embracing cousin “account-based everything”, have been touted by its promoters as a miracle cure capable of halting the precipitate decline in conventional marketing effectiveness – and derided by cynical detractors as just another over-hyped trend. As with most new(ish) trends, the reality is probably somewhere in between. The… 

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Sales enablement and the performance gap

The primary goal of sales enablement must surely be to increase sales effectiveness by progressively reducing the performance gap between our best sales people and the rest, measured by revenue and other tangible metrics. But it seems to me that a number of sales enablement programmes (typically the less successful ones) have made insufficient efforts to understand the winning behaviours… 

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Opportunity coaching for fun and profit

You’ll notice a number of articles elsewhere in this edition on the subject of coaching. I want to use this short piece to focus on an area that has become a particular interest of mine: using coaching techniques to help our salespeople develop more effective opportunity strategies. I’ve observed organisations that do a particularly effective job of opportunity coaching, viewed… 

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

The many dimensions of diversity

If, as many successful scale-ups are, we are on a mission to challenge the status quo and to get our prospective customers to think differently about their critical business issues, we would be wise to ensure that we are accommodating diverse perspectives and experiences within our own organisations. I’m not talking about the demographic dimensions of diversity – of age,… 

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Continuously developing sales competencies

I’m not sure that what you might describe as the “traditional” approach to sales skills development – sending salespeople on an occasional formal sales training course based on one of the many standard methodologies – ever delivered consistent results in terms of driving sustained performance improvement. And that was in yesterday’s relatively static marketplaces! In today’s fast-changing business environment, sales… 

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Sales in the age of analytics

It would be hard to argue against the idea that we’re living in an age of analytics. For many large organisations selling to the public through B2C channels, analytics has become a critical competitive weapon, whether it’s our favourite online shopping site tempting us to make another related purchase, or our local supermarket ensuring that they don’t run out of… 

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Filling the value vacuum

The precise proportions vary a little depending on which researcher you listen to, but the general conclusion is remarkably consistent: the majority of meetings with salespeople generate little meaningful value for the potential customer. They often turn out to be a complete waste of their time. A big part of the explanation can be found in studies which conclude that… 

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Dealing with the ever-growing buying decision group

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses Long ago and far away, there was a time when “selling to the C-level” was a credible and often effective strategy. Dozens – maybe hundreds – of sales books were written on the subject. If you could successfully sell to the top, so the authors claimed, sales success would surely follow. Now, there’s no… 

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Getting the right salespeople on the bus

Jim Collins’ Good to Great has been the inspiration for many CEOs who are determined to elevate their companies from run-of-the-mill to lasting greatness. There are many lessons to be learned from the book but one of the most significant is the idea that, before organisations can stand a chance of realising their potential, they must get the right people… 

Monday, October 31st, 2016

What about the buyer’s journey?

When organisations talk about their sales process, they are usually thinking in terms of a sequence of sales activities, typically encapsulated in a series of pipeline stages, which are designed to move a prospect from first contact to a successful sale. There’s overwhelming research to prove that having a formalised sales process has helped many organisations to improve sales performance….