The Inflexion-Point Blog: VALUE SELLING STRATEGIES

Opportunity Coaching for Fun and Profit

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 19-Jun-2018

My latest contribution has just been published in the June 2018 edition of the always-excellent International Journal of Sales Transformation. You'll find a limited-period free subscription offer at the bottom of this reprint - I strongly recommend that you take advantage!

I used the opportunity to focus attention on an area that has become a particular interest of mine: using coaching techniques to help our sales people develop significantly more effective opportunity strategies.

I’ve observed organisations that do a particularly effective job of opportunity coaching, viewed others at the opposite end of the scale that appear to ignore the topic altogether, and seen and experienced most points in between.

There seem to be a handful of consistent success factors...

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The many dimensions of diversity in B2B sales

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 15-Mar-2018

If - as many scale-ups are - you are on a mission to challenge the status quo and get your prospective customers to think differently about their critical business issues, you would be wise to ensure that you are accommodating diverse perspectives and experiences within your own organisation.

I’m not talking about the conventional demographic dimensions of diversity - of age, sex, race, religion or the like - but about encouraging diversity in the way your teams think about the issues, challenges and opportunities that your organisation is facing both now and in the future.

The world in which we are competing is changing far too fast for organisations to embrace a Taylorist “One Best Way” approach that assumes that rigid thinking or standardised processes are capable of delivering anything close to an optimal outcome.

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We need to collectively develop sales competencies!

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 4-Jan-2018

I’m not sure that what you might describe as the “traditional” approach to sales skills development - sending sales people on an occasional formal sales training course based on one of the many off-the-shelf methodologies - has 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 competencies require continuous honing and development. Simply repeating what worked a few short years (or even months) ago no longer guarantees future success. This has a number of significant implications.

First, skills development programmes themselves have had to become more agile - evolving to more of an on-demand, self-paced, customised-to-the-individual approach. There’s still an important role for team-based training, but bringing sales people together in a room once a year (or less) isn’t going to satisfy these new needs.

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Filling the Value Vacuum

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 23-May-2017

The precise proportions vary a little depending on what researcher you listen to, but the general conclusion is remarkably consistent: the majority of meetings with sales people 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 that conclude that customers value business expertise four times more highly than product knowledge but that the average sales person is four times more comfortable discussing product details than having a business issue focused conversation.

Given this imbalance, perhaps it’s no wonder that it has become so difficult to persuade a prospect to accept an initial phone call or a meeting, or to get them to agree to advance beyond the initial stages of a sales interaction. They simply don’t see the value in spending any more of their precious time...

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