UNREASONABLE IDEAS: the inflexion-point blog

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionaries

3 critical questions you must ask during sales pipeline reviews

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 24-Apr-2014

Whether you’re a sales leader or CEO, holding regular sales pipeline reviews ought to offer an essential way of keeping your finger on the pulse of the business and giving you the confidence that revenue forecasts are likely to be met.

But as we all know, there are often frustrating gaps between the apparent potential of the forecastable pipeline and the resulting actual revenue performance. I want to suggest that part of the reason is that the wrong questions are being asked during the process.

And no, I’m not referring to the usual questions around “how much is the opportunity worth?” “what are the next steps?” “who is the decision maker” “what is the probability of winning?” and “when is the order going to be received?”

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Topics: B2B Sales, Sales Management

Neil Rackham: B2B buying behaviour is becoming increasingly polarised

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 22-Apr-2014

We’re all very familiar with the idea that modern B2B buyers are increasingly well-informed and far less dependent on individual sales interactions to get hold of the information they need to make buying decisions.

But according to a recent survey revealed by Neil Rackham of SPIN Selling fame, B2B buyers are also demanding more expertise and support from sales people than ever before. How can these two apparent contradictions be rationalised?

It turns out that the answer lies in the increasingly polarised nature of B2B buying behaviour…

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Topics: B2B Sales, B2B Buying Process

Twitter loses its crown as most preferred B2B social media platform

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 17-Apr-2014

B2B Marketing have just published a comprehensive 60+ page survey of business social media - and one of their key conclusions is that LinkedIn (94%) has replaced Twitter (89%) as the B2B marketer’s favourite business social media platform.

The preference gap widened dramatically when marketers were asked which social network was most effective in supporting their business goals. More than twice as many - 45% - chose LinkedIn, compared to 20% that chose Twitter.

Perhaps this should come as no great surprise: as the survey pointed our, fluffy justifications for social media investments won’t pass muster any more. Business social media is increasingly expected to deliver hard business benefits.

So what are the implications for B2B marketing?

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Topics: Business Social Media, B2B Marketing

Crossing the Chasm - moving up through the gears

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 15-Apr-2014

One of a series of articles celebrating the lasting impact of “Crossing the Chasm”

It’s more than 20 years since Geoffrey Moore published the first edition of “Crossing the Chasm”. Since then, it has become a classic, and has cemented its position as the one must-have book that every B2B technology marketer needs to have read.

I’ve been applying the principles since 1991 - the year in which the book was first published - and the timelessness of the core concept is striking. But the world has moved on in a number of significant respects, and the recently published 3rd edition reflects this.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales, Crossing the Chasm, Scalable Systems

Neil Rackham really wanted us all to be SPIV sales people

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 10-Apr-2014

One of a series of articles celebrating the continuing relevance of SPIN Selling

I had the chance to listen to Neil Rackham, creator of the best-selling SPIN Selling, at the Portsmouth Business School a couple of weeks ago. He proved an extremely engaging speaker - and he shared a closely-guarded secret: SPIN Selling should really have been SPIV selling.

For those of you unfamiliar with SPIN Selling, the four-letter acronym stands for Situational, Problem, Implication and Need-Payoff questions. It resulted from years of research into the winning questioning habits of top-performing sales people.

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Topics: B2B Sales, The Challenger Sale, Crossing the Chasm, Skills Development

Aberdeen Group makes compelling case for sales and marketing alignment

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 9-Apr-2014

“Improving sales and marketing alignment” has been close to the top of CEO priority lists for years - and with good reason. Most people would agree that sales and marketing organisations that work well together are likely to outperform their poorly-aligned peers.

But organisations sometimes struggle to come up with the hard data to back up this belief. It’s a subject that the Aberdeen Group has monitored over many years, and their latest Research Brief offers compelling evidence of the benefits of sales and marketing alignment.

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Topics: Sales + Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group

Why onboarding is so critical to successful B2B sales recruiting

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 8-Apr-2014

Other than making sure you recruit the right people in the first place, how you go about on-boarding new sales people makes a huge difference to their chances of ultimate success. Yet far too many companies seem to believe that a little product training is all that is required to equip a new hire to succeed.

It’s a subject that deserves more attention, and that’s why I was very pleased to be asked to contribute to Brainshark’s excellent new eBook “Prepare Your Sales Force: Ideas for Enabling B2B Reps With More Effective Onboarding and Training”.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, The Challenger Sale, Sales Enablement

Why the Sales and Marketing conversation should never be about you

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 18-Mar-2014

I was delighted to be asked by the founders of the admirably named Witty Parrot to contribute to their collection of 25 “Sales Productivity Tips from the Experts”, featuring a bunch of really smart people. The book has been a runaway download success - you can download your copy by following the link at the bottom of this article.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales, Thought Leaders

Don Draper and the new sales 101

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 6-Mar-2014

If you ever questioned whether marketers could teach sales people anything about selling, I urge you to watch one of my favourite Don Draper moments. If the video isn’t displayed below in your copy of this email, you can reach it by following this link: http://youtu.be/5y4b-DEkIps

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales, Thought Leaders

Amazon’s shamefully shoddy strategy

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 26-Feb-2014

Over the years, I’ve found much to admire about Amazon. They have generally made it easy for me to buy from them, and on the rare occasion they have messed up, they have always been quick to fix the problem. They have become my preferred place for online purchases.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales





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