About Bob Apollo

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So far Bob Apollo has created 44 blog entries.

Sales people: problem solvers or problem builders?

The conventional view of a successful “solution sales” person is as a problem solver. But that traditional perspective is being questioned in a number of quarters. You see, the fact that you have a solution to your prospect’s “problem” is probably irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, even if what you have to offer is - by whatever questionable criteria you might choose to apply - the “best” solution available. Your prospects can't afford to solve all their problems Given half a chance, your prospects will always be able to identify more problems, issues or opportunities READ MORE

Why top sales people focus on priorities – not needs

When I started my sales career, I was taught that I should focus on identifying my prospect’s needs. Later, when I started to work for companies that were selling into early-stage markets, I was taught that I should invest in creating needs that the prospect had not previously recognised they had. But I’ve learned that simply identifying or creating needs isn’t enough. Here’s why… You see, no matter how good you are at identifying needs that your prospects already have, or no matter how good you are at creating needs your prospects didn’t previously know they had, READ MORE

Social Media: A Team Effort Between Marketing & Sales

Surveys of B2B marketing budgets consistently show that a higher percentage of marketing resources are being invested in content development and social media than ever before. But business social media is too important to be left to the marketing department alone—it needs to be a team effort between marketing, sales and other customer-facing employees. In addition to the obvious advice to make all of your invaluable content social-media friendly and easily shareable, I’d like to suggest 7 simple steps that could help the whole organization to come together to fully realize the potential of business social media. READ MORE

B2B Sales: Is your funnel fighting fit or fundamentally flabby?

The “funnel” is one of the most powerful metaphors in B2B sales and marketing. It describes the passage of prospects through a buying decision process that hopefully will (but often does not) result in your successfully selling something to them. A flawed metaphor For sure, the metaphor is flawed. Real-world funnels don’t leak, and everything that flows into the top tends to flow out from the bottom. And - unlike sales opportunities - the liquid they contain doesn’t normally flow back uphill again or evaporate completely. But despite all its manifest flaws, the idea of a funnel READ MORE

If Alignment is a good thing, why is it so hard to achieve

It would be hard to find anyone prepared to argue against the benefits of sales and marketing alignment. It’s a proven fact (we’ll come on to the results in a moment) that well-aligned organisations grow revenues faster. So, if alignment is such a good thing, why is it so difficult to achieve? I'd like to share some of my conclusions about why alignment often proves difficult - and offer you some ideas that could help you improve it. Why bother getting aligned? According to the Aberdeen Group, the top reasons for improving sales and marketing alignment are READ MORE

Are you appealing to budget makers or budget takers?

Are your sales and marketing messages targeted at budget makers or budget takers? In most complex, high-value sales environments, of course, you need to appeal to both. But the marketing messages you need to use - and the sales conversations you need to have - differ dramatically. Budget makers vs. budget takers Here’s the key difference between the two roles: a budget maker has the power and authority to find the money required for a favoured project, even if a budget does not yet exist. Budget takers, on the other hand, need someone else to have created READ MORE

3 Key Steps to Building a Stronger Sales Funnel for 2013

We’re already into the last quarter of 2012. If you’re in a complex sales environment with lengthy decision-making processes, this year’s final revenue number is probably going to depend on how effectively you can close the opportunities that are already visible to you in your funnel. But what about next year? What could and should you be doing today to lay the foundations for a stronger sales funnel in 2013? I’d like to suggest 3 simple, effective steps that you can take right now to ensure that you enter 2013 (and maybe even finish 2012) in great READ MORE

B2B sales: stop rushing and you’ll sell faster

I’ve been called in by a number of clients who believe that they have a bottom-of-funnel sales problem. Their sales opportunities just seem to be piling up and getting stuck in the later stages of the sales pipeline. They imagine that their sales people need help with their closing techniques. But when you dig into it, the problem is almost always somewhere else... They have been looking in the wrong place. The real problem typically turns out to be not closing techniques, but opening techniques. A careful examination of the evidence often shows that their sales people READ MORE

How can sales people prevent premature elaboration?

It’s not a very edifying sight, but it happens way, way too often. A prospect gives the faintest acknowledgement of a potential issue, and the impatient (not to say desperate) sales person simply can’t wait to respond by presenting the features, advantages and benefits of their proposed solution in glorious detail. They may even offer to follow up with a costed proposal. All this before the poor bewildered prospect has even come to terms with whether they need to do anything at all. The sales person has pitched their product way too early. This uncomfortable condition is READ MORE

3 critical questions for B2B sales: Why Change? Why Now? Why You?

Your company is facing an increasingly strong competitor - yet you won’t find them listed in any Google search of the key players in your marketplace. But this competitor is playing a powerful and often-undefined role in almost every significant B2B buying decision. And it’s the reason why a growing number of your apparently well-qualified opportunities are ending up with the prospect deciding to “do nothing”. Have you recognised the competitor yet? It’s the status quo - and in today’s increasingly risk-averse decision-making climate, where it may be harder than ever before to get approval for discretionary READ MORE

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