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…. 


Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Bridging the sales performance gap

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses In the majority of sales organisations, a high percentage of sales revenue is generated by the same minority of top sales performers, quarter after quarter. According to research published by the CEB in The Challenger Sale, this performance gap between top salespeople and the rest is amplified in complex, high-value sales environments. They found… 


Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Identifying your ideal customers

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses Market segmentation has traditionally been based on demographic factors such as company size, sector and location. But these simple characteristics are hopelessly inadequate predictors of which specific organisations you should focus your marketing and sales energies on. That’s because in any complex B2B sales environment, there will be a set of specific unique-to-you structural,… 


Thursday, January 28th, 2016

The critical combination: focus, process and people

Bob Apollo on Building Scalable Businesses What can businesses do to ensure that they establish the platform for predictable, reliable and sustainable revenue and market share growth? I’m going to assume that you have a product or service that people want to buy. But that’s clearly not enough. I want to highlight three critical (and timeless) principles that have always… 


Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Competing against “do nothing”

If you’re involved in complex sales in a B2B environment, your most significant competitor is almost certainly not another vendor, but the status quo. According to the latest findings from Sirius Decisions, Sales Benchmark Index and many other respected researchers, an increasingly common outcome for even well-qualified sales opportunities is not a win, or a competitive loss, but a decision… 


Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

“Crossing the Chasm” revisited

When Geoffrey Moore published the first edition of Crossing the Chasm over 20 years ago, it rapidly became a B2B sales and marketing classic – rated by Inc. magazine as one of the top-ten marketing books of all time. Moore’s focus on the behavioural chasm that exists between innovators and pragmatist buyers was a revelation to a generation of technology…