An Introduction to Outcome-Centric Selling


This is why (some) B2B customers are still buying in the current climate...

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 13-May-2020

There’s no doubt that the vast majority - if not all - of discretionary, could-put-it-off until later B2B purchases are being deferred in the current climate.

If your prospects don’t feel they have to take action, they won’t, and no amount of bluster or misguided sales heroics will change that.

Risk mitigation is the primary driver, and if they believe that the costs, risks and consequences of simply sticking with the status quo are manageable or insignificant, that’s exactly what they will do, and they will hold onto their cash until the upturn comes. And who could blame them?

But despite all of this, B2B customers are still making discretionary purchases. Some (the ultimate cash conservers) are in total investment lockdown mode. But others see opportunity and are investing to make themselves stronger in both the short and the long term.

But their investment parameters have changed...

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Sales Enablement - a case of promise unfulfilled?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Fri 1-May-2020

As far as the state of sales enablement is concerned, I think it's fair to say (and I hope that sales enablement professionals won't mind me saying this) that many observers feel that it's largely been a case of promise unfulfilled.

So I hope you'll enjoy hearing what Scott Santucci, Skip Miller, Steve Crepeau and I had to say on the subject as we got together for a recent "Inside Sales Enablement" podcast to explore what the function now needs to do if it is to achieve its full potential...

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10 Reasons Why Coaching Remote Sales Teams Today is Non-Negotiable

Posted by Kevin Beales - Guest Contributor on Wed 29-Apr-2020

This article is republished with permission from an article that first appeared on the Refract website.

With the world around us changing in every regard during this madness, making the switch to remote has brought varying levels of challenge to implement, but much of the impact of completely remote teams is still around the corner. And we’ll face some pretty big consequences without taking action.

I'm delighted that Kevin Beales, CEO and Founder of Refract, the leading sales conversation intelligence platform, has agreed to let us share his recent and very timely thoughts on the subject. Kevin has identified 10 reasons why coaching your remote sales team starting today is non-negotiable, and it would be hard to disagree with any of them.

Take it away, Kevin...

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Reprioritising your target accounts

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 27-Apr-2020

Having a clearly defined and actively worked new business target account list is a key strategy for anyone who is responsible for proactively developing their own territory (or who has BDR resources focused on their behalf).

Generally, having a small actively worked new business target list is better than a large one that rarely receives the necessary attention. But in today’s climate, it’s important to understand which of your long-term targets has short-term potential.

Your short-term potential is likely to come from your ability to address their short-term important priorities in a way that can deliver provably superior outcomes compared to any other credible option that might be available to them.

That’s why B2B salespeople need to systematically reassess and reprioritise their existing target account lists in a way that allows them to focus their energies where they can make the biggest impact. Here’s how...

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Keeping your sales pipeline flowing

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 22-Apr-2020

I recently took part in a webinar with Paul Everett of The Marketing Practice - one of the UK’s most respected B2B marketing agencies, and with a growing international footprint.

We decided to address one of today’s most pressing questions: how can B2B sales organisations keep their pipelines flowing in today’s challenging economic environment?

I know that it’s a subject that has been close to the top of the thoughts of many B2B CEOs and sales leaders, and the first thing to say is that there are no miracle cures.

There are, however, a handful of best practices and perspectives that in any times, and in these times in particular, can help to focus our attention onto the best way to maintain sales momentum...

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Establishing Value in Challenging Times

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 2-Apr-2020

There’s no doubt that our customers and our own sales organisations are facing challenging - many would suggest unprecedented - times. Many purchases that would have seemed routine or inevitable are being deferred or cancelled.

Many discretionary projects are being kicked into the long grass. If (as Gartner’s recent research has suggested) our customer’s confidence in their ability to make decisions was already a problem, it is surely even more of a challenge now.

The immediate crisis will inevitably pass at some hopefully not-too-distant point in the future.

But I suspect that it will leave a number of permanent changes in its wake. The increasing acceptance of remote as opposed to face-to-face selling is an obvious one, reinforced by the fact that the green agenda will continue to increase in importance long after covid-19 is brought under control.

But I also hope and believe that another outcome will be that salespeople and the sales organisations they represent will become much more adept at establishing their value in terms that are meaningful to their customers.

In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that now is the perfect time to equip our salespeople with the skills they are going to need to establish distinctive value in every future customer interaction, whatever the medium of communication.

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STOP Killing Deals! (book review)

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 31-Mar-2020

Companies around the world are collectively spending billions of dollars/pounds/euros each year on sales training and technology, yet all the evidence is that sales effectiveness keeps declining, year after year after year. Why?

I believe it’s because far too many sales organisations are operating on deadly untested assumptions that deny the essential human nature of their sales teams and their buyers.

I wanted to draw your attention to an insightful new book by my good friend George Brontén, CEO of Membrain, and award-winning blogger. In Stop Killing Deals, George peels away the limiting beliefs that plague most sales organisations and offers practical remedies for achieving sustainable, scalable world-class sales performance.

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Do your customers have a ‘survive’ or a ‘come back stronger’ mindset?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 30-Mar-2020

There probably isn’t a single industry or organisation that isn’t being affected in some way by covid-19. A few sectors - healthcare and food retail amongst them - are seeing increasing demands for their services and increasing stress on their ability to deliver. Others are seeing an often-precipitous decline in demand.

Many of the latter industries and organisations are now restricting their purchasing - particularly when it comes to discretionary as opposed to inevitable purchases - to those things that are essential to their immediate mission and objectives.

Many are urgently reviewing their current cost bases in order to identify expenditure that now appears to be a “nice to have”, rather than critical to their current mission. Regrettably, many have already reacted by laying off staff - and despite the intervention of governments around the world, there will inevitably more to come.

Some - typically the better funded organisations with a clear future vision, or the ones whose underlying business is relatively unaffected by the current situation - are determined to prepare themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that will undoubtedly emerge once the current crisis subsides, as it will inevitably do.

So - what about the impact and implications on B2B-focused sales organisations?

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Why Closing Gambits Don’t Work on Large Sales

Posted by James Muir on Wed 25-Mar-2020

James Muir is the best-selling author of "The Perfect Close" - a book that leverages the latest science to show why applying the old counter-productive closing tactics are holding salespeople back. I'm delighted that James has agreed that I can republish the following article as a guest post.

James explains why the traditional crude closing techniques taught in conventional sales training, far from improving our chances of winning a deal, are actually counter-productive in complex high-value B2B sales...

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'Why do we have to spend this money now?'

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 23-Mar-2020

Even before the current crisis, many opportunities that had been confidently forecast by salespeople were failing to close. This was and still is particularly true of strategic decisions that need to be approved by a group of stakeholders rather than signed-off by a single individual.

The number of people involved in these decision-making groups has risen sharply over the past few years. When the Challenger Customer was first published in 2015, the underlying research concluded that the average decision group size was 5.4. Their latest research reckons this has now risen to between 10-11 actively involved stakeholders.

Think about that for a moment: even before the impact of covid-19, it only took one key member of the decision group to ask “why do we have to spend this money now” (or “why do we have to make this change now?”) for the decision to be potentially delayed or put on hold.

Anyone like to hazard a guess as to how often that question is being asked nowadays?

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