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The Outcome-Centric Selling Blog

When your customers DO want to speak to a sales person

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 31-Oct-2018

There’s been a great deal of comment – often from people and organisations who frankly should know better – about how today’s B2B customer doesn’t want to engage with a sales person until late in their consideration.

That comment is based on studies and statistics that appear to show that the average potential customer is variously 57%, 60% or more than 70% through their decision-making journey before they see value in a sales conversation.

But no customer is “average”. And those simplified statistics and headlines – supported by naïve and often self-serving interpretations from people and organisations attempting to peddle a particular point of view – hide a much more nuanced reality.

When you dig into the facts behind the facts, a much more complex reality emerges...

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McKinsey: It’s time to treat our sales people like customers

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 14-Jun-2017

As a recent McKinsey article points out, as much as half of a company’s value creation rests with its sales force. Their findings confirm what many other researchers have also found - that the sales experience is a top factor when it comes to buying decisions.

But there’s a perhaps unexpected twist: McKinsey’s study also shows that top performing sales organisations pay as much attention to the rep experience as they do the customer experience: in other words, they treat their sales people like customers…

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McKinsey on applying analytics to make the most of your sales resources

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 30-Jun-2016

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Homayoun Hatami and Holger Hürtgen of McKinsey about the ground-breaking thinking contained in the extensively revised second edition of “Sales Growth - Five Proven Strategies From the World’s Sales Leaders”.

Featuring an introduction from Marc Benioff of Salesforce, the book offers a fascinating roadmap to revenue growth for companies of all sizes. Regular readers will know that I have a particular interest in how analytics can drive sales performance improvement - and the book offers an impressive range of tangible examples of the practical application of analytics in the modern sales organisation.

In fact, there are too many examples to cover in one article, so for what I hope will be a series of related blogs on the subject, I want to start by focusing on the role of analytics can play in making the most of our existing sales resources...

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McKinsey, HBR: How much support do your sales people need?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 31-May-2016

There is some fascinating research just published in the Harvard Business Review by a group of McKinsey consultants. They sought an evidence-based approach to optimising the balance between front line sales people and sales support roles - and their conclusions may surprise you.

It’s an important question because having the appropriate level and type of back office support is critical to maximising the productivity and effectiveness of your quota-carrying sales people. But - unfortunately - it’s a balancing act that many organisations seem to struggle to get right…

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McKinsey help to illuminate changes in b2b buying behaviour

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 19-Feb-2015

A recent article in the McKinsey quarterly has highlighted a phenomenon that many of us have observed: B2B purchasing decisions are tracing increasingly complex journeys - and these changes are challenging the long-standing behaviours of many B2B sales organisations.

It’s becoming increasingly unhelpful (and massively unproductive) to represent sales pipelines in terms of simple traditional linear sales process that sales people are required to follow - because your customers don’t behave that way.

McKinsey’s research identified that B2B customers regularly use an average of six different ways of interacting with vendors to get the information they need - and showed that two-thirds come away frustrated by inconsistent experiences.

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McKinsey: why most B2B marketing messages fail to move the customer

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 28-Oct-2013

Recent research by McKinsey has revealed a dramatic divergence between the brand messages used by B2B companies and the characteristics that their customers actually value the most. The results make compelling reading for any B2B organisation that is committed to stand out from the crowd.

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McKinsey: What can business learn from the software industry?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 12-Feb-2013

McKinsey QuarterlyIn a recent article (“Competing in a digital world”) on the McKinsey website, authors Sarrazin and Sikes identify 4 lessons that they believe business in general could and should learn from the software industry. It’s an interesting perspective, and indicative of the pervasive role that software is playing in value creation across a growing range of businesses and industries.

As they point out, software underpins nearly every function in industry. It’s no longer the preserve of the data centre. And it’s leading to entirely new offerings, options and delivery models, facilitating collaboration and driving innovation - and changing the face of competition.

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Exclusive McKinsey Interview: Finding the Mountaintops in Your Markets

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 19-Jul-2012

Homayoun Hatami of McKinsey is one of the co-authors of the widely acclaimed “Sales Growth - Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders”. I shared some of the key findings from the book in one of my latest blog articles - and recently enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with Homayoun and learn more about his experience of using micro-segmentation to uncover market hotspots.

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McKinsey: 5 winning strategies of the world’s top sales organisations

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 12-Jun-2012

Pär Edin and his colleagues at McKinsey believe they have identified the five winning strategies that distinguish the world’s leading sales organisations from their also-ran competitors. Pär presented their findings at the excellent recent Sales and Marketing 2.0 conference in London - and showed that we all have the potential to emulate the success of these top performers.

sales2point0The team at McKinsey evaluated the results of over 700 sales projects and identified the companies that consistently delivered industry-leading sales performance - companies that grew their revenues an average of 48% faster and their EDITDA 80% faster than their peer groups over a 5-year period.

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Forrester: Prospects only rate 7% of sales calls as worthy of follow-up

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 23-Nov-2011

According to recent Forrester research quoted by Tim Riesterer in his excellent “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, prospect senior executives rate only 7% of the sales calls they take part in as being worthy of a follow up. You can explain some of the remaining calls away as being down to a mismatch between what the prospect needs and what the vendor had to offer. But I believe that most of the shortfall reflects a continuing problem with the quality of the average sales conversation...

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