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RAISING B2B SALES TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Actionable ideas for improving B2B sales and marketing performance

Don’t waste your time on deals that have no compelling reason to act

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 9-Dec-2014

It’s often quoted, but worth repeating: the biggest single reason why B2B sales people lose seemingly well-qualified opportunities is because the prospect concluded they didn’t actually have to do anything - and so they decided to do nothing.

It’s hard for your sales people to blame the “competition” for being more keenly priced or having better features when the prospect decides that they are actually more comfortable sticking with the status quo - in fact your sales people can only blame themselves.

It’s a hard thing to acknowledge, but whenever a sales person loses to “no decision”, they either failed to qualify the opportunity accurately, or failed to execute a good enough sales strategy. There are no other excuses…

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Topics: B2B Buying Process, Sales Conversation

Never mind the marketing message, what about the sales conversation?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Fri 5-Dec-2014

If your organisation has a complex sales process that requires a series of interactions over several months with a range of different stakeholders, there’s one thing that matters above everything else - the effectiveness of your sales conversations.

Not how much you spend on marketing, or how clever your campaigns are, or how distinctive your logo looks, or any of the other things marketers are tempted to spend time and money on. Nothing matters more than setting the scene for a series of effective sales conversations.

But here’s the problem: far too many marketers seem to believe the job is done when their message has been delivered to the target audience, or a “lead” has been generated - but at that point the real heavy lifting has only just begun…

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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales, Sales Conversation

Why 100*1% is infinitely more valuable than 1*100%

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 19-Nov-2014

The numerically gifted amongst you might be scratching your heads at this point. At face value, one hundred times one percent adds up to exactly the same as one times one hundred percent. And from a purely mathematical perspective, of course, you’re right…

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Topics: B2B Sales, Sales + Marketing Alignment, Sales Management

First line sales managers: at the heart of B2B sales success

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 18-Nov-2014

I know many CEOs believe that hiring the best sales people is the recipe for sales success, and of course, they are partly right. But there is a critical missing piece to that puzzle - and it’s not just about giving your new hires the right sort of product training…

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Topics: B2B Sales, Sales Enablement

Sales conversation plans should be skeletons, not cages

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 11-Nov-2014

You’ve probably observed a huge difference in conversational fluency between your most and least successful sales performers, and wished that you could bridge the gap between the best and the rest. If you haven’t, I can only conclude that you’ve either worked a miracle with your sales force, or you simply haven’t listened to enough sales conversations recently.

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Topics: Sales Enablement, Skills Development, Sales Conversation

Sales and Marketing alignment - necessary but not sufficient

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 30-Oct-2014

Most CEOs would like to see their sales and marketing teams working more effectively together. Many have “improving sales and marketing alignment” on their must-do list. But they are likely to be disappointed by the results - unless they focus on the real problem…

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Topics: B2B Buying Process, Sales + Marketing Alignment

The 3 critical dimensions of sales coaching

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 23-Oct-2014

Having observed a number of B2B sales organisations over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that sales training is over-rated, and sales coaching is under-appreciated. In fact, I believe that their ability to coach their sales people is the critical skill of frontline sales managers.

Sales training and sales coaching are clearly linked. We’ve all read the statistics that prove that without on-going reinforcement through day-to-day coaching, most sales training is a wasted investment - forgotten or ignored within a just few weeks.

But capable coaches go far beyond simply reinforcing their organisation’s chosen sales methodology - they develop the sales people under their care in a rich variety of different ways that enable them to realise their potential.

Sales coaching contributes to the performance of the individual and the organisation in at least 3 different levels: at the team level, at the individual level and at the opportunity level - and no sales coaching programme can be called complete until and unless it addresses all three aspects.

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Topics: Sales Enablement, B2B Buying Process, Sales Management

B2B sales: How to close 42% more business

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 15-Oct-2014

According to the smart folks at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), companies that have taken the time to adopt and implement a consistent and effective sales process close on average 42% more business than organisations that don't.

It’s the sort of percentage that makes the difference between success or failure, between keeping your job or losing it, and between beating your quota or being beaten by it.

But having a process doesn’t mean turning sales people into automatons - far from it. In fact, there’s abundant evidence that having a sound process actually frees up sales people to be creative.

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Topics: B2B Buying Process

The 5 levels of lead qualification

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 9-Oct-2014

Sirius Decisions recently published some very interesting research into the subject of when marketing-generated “leads” are regarded as being “sales ready”. The results surprised me, and I suspect that they might surprise you, as well...

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Topics: B2B Sales, Revenue Management

B2B marketing: claiming you’re better isn’t always the best strategy

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 7-Oct-2014

Technology-based businesses, with a few notable exceptions, have an unfortunate and self-limiting habit of selling on specification - and of believing that positioning their product or service as faster, cheaper or better is the key to making customers want to buy.

Whilst there are visible examples of that strategy working in rapid replacement cycle consumer markets like smartphones, there are three obvious problems with that line of thinking in high-value considered-purchase business-to-business situations.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Unique Value Position

 

 

 

 

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