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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value

What’s the one thing VCs love even more than growth?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 27-Jan-2015

Of course, every VC wants to see their portfolio companies grow. But as Scott Maxwell of OpenView Venture Partners points out in a persuasive recent blog (link below), companies that deliver predictable revenue are regarded as even more valuable.

Now, if you’re still at the pre-revenue stage, your revenue projections have no way of being validated - although they will have hopefully been based on something more substantial than what a prominent investor once colourfully described to me as “rectal research” ;-)

But as soon as your organisation has reached that all important post-startup growth stage and before you start looking for that next wave of expansion capital, you had better start managing by the numbers…

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How to make the second half of your sales year better than the first

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 1-Jul-2014

We've reached the halfway point in the sales year, and this is a particularly good time to take stock. Early indications are that a number of sales organisations have some room for improvement, and that as many as 60-70% are currently behind plan.

For many, the shortfall is recoverable and there’s still time to catch up - but probably not if they simply carry on what they have been doing since January. And even if you’re currently ahead of plan, business as usual probably can’t be guaranteed to keep you there.

That’s why a mid-year review of your customer acquisition process ought to be top of your task list for July - and the sooner the better…

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Gartner: "Boost your sales win rates by 50% via win-loss analysis"

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 20-May-2014

Most sales organisations claim to conduct some form of win-loss analysis. But according to a recent Gartner investigation, no more than a third conduct them with the proper degree of rigour. And guess what? The minority that do see up to a 50% improvement in sales win rates.

The findings are published in Gartner’s latest report “Tech Go-to-Market: Three Ways Marketers Can Use Data From Win/Loss Analysis to Increase Win Rates and Revenues”. The findings make for compelling reading…

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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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3 out of 4 companies are taking the wrong approach to sales coaching

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 15-May-2013

As you can imagine, I get to speak to a fair number of B2B-focused CEOs and sales leaders - and I can’t recall any of them ever disagreeing with the principle that effective sales coaching is an absolutely critical skill for first-line sales management.

But the latest research from CSO insights suggest that 3 out of 4 companies are taking the wrong approach to sales coaching - an approach that is clearly holding back both individual rep performance and overall revenue achievement.

Three approaches to coaching

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Connecting the Marketing Message with the Sales Conversation

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 13-May-2013

I recently recorded an on-demand webinar with BrightTALK on the increasingly important need to connect your marketing messages with the conversations your sales people are having with prospects and customers in the field.

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B2B sales: it’s your prospect’s proposal that matters, not yours!

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 12-Mar-2013

In most complex B2B sales environments, a proposal plays a significant part in the decision making process. But it’s not your proposal that really matters - it’s the internal proposal that the project’s sponsor submits for the approval of their colleagues.

That’s the really important proposal. Assuming that you are the recommended option, it’s confirmation that your sponsor has selected you, believes the business case is sound, and is willing to submit the formal case for change to the internal approval process.

Doing the selling internally

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Should B2B marketing be employing more scientists than artists?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 21-Feb-2013

That’s the question implied by one of IDC’s recently published “Top 10 predictions for 2013”. Driven by a number of profound changes in both the business and marketing environments, they project that from 2013 onwards, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds.

IDC logo 200They point out that the fastest growing job categories in marketing today include campaign management, marketing operations, intelligence/research, sales enablement, social media and marketing IT. Many of these categories hardly existed less than a decade or less ago.

Analytics and automation

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The real reason sales people struggle to close opportunities

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 30-Jan-2013

Alec Baldwin has got a lot to answer for. And, no, I’m not talking about his appearance in “Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat”. I am, of course referring to his role as Blake, the alpha dog motivational salesman in the film “Glengarry Glen Ross”.

By the way, you can blame the IMDb website for the “alpha dog motivational salesperson” tag. It’s a laughable description. But it’s somewhat relevant, because the role he plays in that film is, by the standards of effective salesmanagership, completely barking.

Blake’s Seven becomes 3

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How to turn every sales person into a top story-teller

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 23-Jan-2013

What sets top sales people apart? What is it that they do better than the rest? There are, of course, a number of factors, but one that we frequently observe is that top sellers are great story-tellers. They put their points across not by pitching their products, but by sharing relevant, situation-specific anecdotes and stories that their prospects can relate to.

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