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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value

The 3 Critical B2B Sales Pipeline Metrics

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 21-Oct-2015

How healthy is your sales pipeline right now? And what steps are you taking to progressively improve its fitness? Just as your own doctor might measure your body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure before putting you on a personal fitness regime, a pipeline doctor would want to understand your qualified pipeline value, average sales velocity and average sales win rate - and how these factors had changed over time - before coming up with their diagnosis. Here’s why these three measures are so important…

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The problem with assigning fixed percentages to pipeline stages

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 2-Jul-2015

On average, fewer than 50% of forecasted opportunities close at the predicted value and time - and the figure is usually far worse in early stage companies without an established track record of successfully closing business.

Its no wonder that revenue forecast accuracy is a huge frustration for CEOs and a frequent source of tension with both their Board of Directors and their sales leadership. After all, how hard can it be to work out when an opportunity a sales person been pursuing for months is going to close?

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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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The essential keys to proactive sales pipeline management

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 22-Jul-2014

Talk to almost any CEO of a technology-based, B2B-focused business and you’re likely to hear concerns about the size of their sales pipeline, the accuracy of their sales forecasts and their ability to grow market share.

Bigger isn’t always better…

But the obvious conclusion – “we need to grow our pipeline” – isn’t always the right answer. Far too many sales pipelines are clogged with inadequately qualified opportunities that are going nowhere slowly.

These poorly qualified opportunities serve to confuse, to obfuscate the true value of the pipeline, and to divert scarce sales and marketing resources from identifying, engaging qualifying and winning more of the right sort of prospects.

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The science of sales forecasting: combining fact and judgement

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 12-Jun-2014

The failure to accurately forecast sales revenues has critically compromised the careers of many promising CEOs, Sales VPs and Sales Managers. Getting it wrong - and particularly getting it wrong consistently - sheds jobs and shreds reputations.

Despite all the obvious dangers, the average organisation continues to struggle. A series of annual studies by CSO Insights and others confirms that average sales forecast accuracy at a deal-by-deal level remains little better than flipping a coin.

And yet a significant minority of organisations are managing to achieve much higher levels of accuracy at every level - from the individual sales person through to the company-wide number. What are they doing better? What are they doing differently?

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3 Critical Sales Pipeline Metrics

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 8-May-2014

Doctor_TrimmedHow healthy is your sales pipeline right now? And what steps are you taking to progressively improve its fitness? Just as your own doctor might measure your body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure before putting you on a personal fitness regime, a pipeline doctor would want to understand your qualified pipeline value, average sales velocity and average sales win rate - and how these factors had changed over time - before coming up with their diagnosis. Here’s why these three measures are so important…

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Why the Cost of Inaction is so important in B2B Sales

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 17-Dec-2013

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.

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How many Zombies are lurking in your sales pipeline?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 21-Nov-2013

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.

Suspended animation

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B2B Sales: Forecasting must be a blend of fact and judgement

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 8-Aug-2013

Virtually every company I speak to wishes they could do a more accurate job of forecasting sales revenues. The issue is often particularly challenging for B2B-focused companies with lengthy, complex sales process.

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B2B Sales: how to stop your pipeline becoming a sewer

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 18-Jul-2013

There’s a huge difference between a healthy sales pipeline and a rotten one. It’s long been a hobby horse of mine, and something I’ve regularly written about. But I don’t think I’ve ever managed to articulate the problem quite as well as my friend Dave Brock in his recent article “Pipeline Stench”.

Dave paints a graphic (and splendidly olfactory) picture of the difference between a healthy and a rotten sales pipeline. I strongly recommend that you read his article. I won’t attempt to paraphrase the full article (and I doubt that I could do it justice anyway). But I would like to build on Dave’s thinking, and offer a few additional remedies that could help stop pipelines turning into stagnant, smelly sewers.

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