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About Bob Apollo

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So far Bob Apollo has created 44 blog entries.

Why the Cost of Inaction is so important in B2B Sales

Return on Investment (ROI) projections are often regarded as a critical element of B2B sales proposals, particular for high-value considered purchases. There’s no arguing that they have a role to play - but your sales people would be very unwise to rely on them. In fact, I’ve become convinced that over-reliance on ROI calculations is one of a number of key factors that are driving the high level of “decisions to do nothing after all” that so bedevil many long and complex sales cycles. Are you keen to find out why? 1. Most prospects distrust vendor-supplied ROI projections Most prospects have READ MORE

B2B Complex Sales: process is no substitute for emotional intelligence

Many sales leaders believe that having a sales process is important - as evidenced by the over 300 million references on Google to the term. But in most complex sales environments, having an over-prescriptive sales process can actually damage your chances of winning. I’ve seen too many situations where a sales person is so keen to move to the next stage of the defined sales process that they fail to ask the questions or, (even worse) actually listen to the answers they have already been given that could give them clues about where the buyer was and READ MORE

2020-10-13T20:04:46+11:00By |B2B marketing blog, Sales|

How many zombies are lurking in your sales pipeline?

Have you ever felt that you might be in the presence of the living dead? Even if you are not a horror movie fan, it might be worth taking a closer look at your organisation’s sales pipeline. The things you are likely to uncover could disturb you. That’s because many of today’s sales pipelines contain deals that are destined to never close - and yet the sales people responsible seem strangely unwilling to acknowledge the fact. Many of the deals were never alive in the first place - and many more are beyond any hope of resurrection. READ MORE

Why B2B sales people need to lead towards – not with – their solution

One of the key principles that should underpin your B2B marketer’s mindset is that your marketing messages – and your sales conversations – need to lead towards your solution rather than with your solution. The obvious conclusion is that both your marketing messages and your sales conversations need to “sell the problem before you sell your solution” - it’s a matter of leading the prospect through the critical sequence: Why change? - Why now? - Why us? Suppressing the itch to pitch Sales people (and marketers) often get this intellectually, but then stumble when putting it into READ MORE

Why we’re going to need fewer, smarter B2B sales people

According to projections by Gerhard Gschwandtner (CEO of SellingPower magazine) and others, we’re going to need to employ far fewer sales people by the end of the current decade - and the trend is already kicking in. From the demand side, there are many explanations for this trend - amongst them the modern, digitally-savvy prospect’s understandable tendency to delay wanting to engage with a sales person until far later in their buying decision process, and the rise of “self-service” B2B sales models. Traditional behaviours are increasingly irrelevant And from the supply-side, despite the fact that the one READ MORE

2020-06-03T11:04:30+10:00By |B2B marketing blog, Sales|

In complex sales, your fiercest competitor is often “do nothing”

It’s bad enough when, after a long, complex and resource-intensive sales campaign, you end up losing to the competition. But at least you’ve got the satisfaction of knowing that somewhere in the process you were probably outsold, or failed to acknowledge a competitor’s advantage that was always going to be difficult to defeat. But what about the growing number of apparently well-qualified sales opportunities that fade away with the prospect deciding to “do nothing” at the end of the day? You might attempt to derive some comfort from the fact that at least you weren’t beaten by READ MORE

2020-10-13T20:04:48+11:00By |B2B marketing blog, Sales|

B2B Marketing: The Trouble with Thought Leadership

Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz Allen Hamilton magazine Strategy & Business first coined the term “thought leadership” in 1994. I wonder if he knew what he was starting? It’s nearly impossible to find a B2B focused marketing plan that doesn’t include it as an objective, but in my experience - and maybe yours - the term is widely and wildly misused. It’s not just the rash of so-called thought leadership programmes that are no more than a clumsily disguised piece of product propaganda. Those are easy enough to spot and discard, and do not do any READ MORE

2020-10-13T20:04:46+11:00By |B2B marketing blog|

20 Best Practices all B2B Sales & Marketing Organisations Should Adopt

What separates the top-performing B2B sales and marketing organisations from their also-ran competitors? What are the winning behaviours that enable them to create repeatable, scalable and predictable businesses? After observing many of these best-in-class organisations in action, I’d like to suggest 20 best practices that all B2B focused companies ought to think about adopting… These best practices appear to be particularly relevant to B2B organisations with complex, high-value products or services that involve extended sales cycles, and where uncovering better qualified opportunities, shortening sales cycles and increasing sales win rates can have a dramatic impact on revenues, READ MORE

2020-10-13T20:04:47+11:00By |B2B marketing blog, Sales, Skills|

Should B2B marketing be employing more scientists than artists?

Should B2B marketing be employing more scientists than artists? That’s the question implied by one of IDC’s recently published “Top 10 predictions for 2013”. Driven by a number of profound changes in both the business and marketing environments, they project that from 2013 onwards, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds. They point out that the fastest growing job categories in marketing today include campaign management, marketing operations, intelligence/research, sales enablement, social media and marketing IT. Many of these categories hardly existed less than a decade or less ago. Analytics and automation All of these roles require - to varying degrees READ MORE

2020-06-03T10:55:33+10:00By |B2B marketing blog, Tactics|

B2B sales: “how are you?” and other cringe-worthy opening questions

Call me old fashioned if you will, but when someone I have never met phones me out of the blue and can’t think of anything less inane than “how are you” to start the conversation, I know one person on the call is an idiot. And, IMHO, it isn’t me. In a business-to-business environment, that sort of false familiarity isn’t just cringeworthy, it’s downright impertinent, and a sure sign that the speaker that is utterly devoid of imagination or any detectable level of emotional intelligence. Why on earth would I want to waste my time in continuing READ MORE

2020-06-03T11:07:37+10:00By |B2B marketing blog, Sales, Tactics|
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