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The Outcome-Centric Selling Blog

The key issues for B2B sales leaders in 2021

Posted by Bob Apollo on Fri 26-Feb-2021

I was very pleased to be invited by the International Journal of Sales Transformation to contribute an article to their latest edition. The publication is a consistently valuable read for any sales professional, and I urge you to subscribe (I've included a link to their website at the bottom of this piece).

I chose to write about some of the key issues I see facing B2B sales leaders in 2021. I hope you find my observations both relevant and helpful... 

2020 proved to be a challenging year for many B2B sales organisations. Certain sectors powered ahead - for example, anything associated with e-commerce or digital transformation - but many other industries suffered significant declines in demand.

2021 will inevitably bring further challenges. Whilst the emergence of effective vaccines offers some hope for recovery, it would be unwise to assume that these will amount to a magic bullet, or that many sectors will enjoy a rapid return to pre-Covid “normality”.

One thing is certain - the future of B2B selling is not what it used to be. This poses both a threat and an opportunity: those that emerge as winners will need to demonstrate speed, agility and adaptability at both the individual and organisational level.

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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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Why are so many CRM implementations still failing?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Wed 24-Jul-2019

According to many market analysts, the market for CRM solutions shows no signs of slowing down. It’s increasingly rare to find established sales organisations of any significant size without some form of CRM solution.

And yet when I talk to many sales leaders about the current state of their CRM implementation, the most consistent impression is one of promise unfulfilled.

They frequently acknowledge that key success metrics around data quality, sales team adoption and impact on revenue still have a great deal of room for improvement.

Of all the possible influences on success, enthusiastic sales force adoption is probably the most critical. So why is it so hard to persuade sales people of CRM’s potential to improve their own personal performance?

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Video: 3 Key Sales Questions Every CEO Should be Able to Answer

Posted by Bob Apollo on Thu 27-Jun-2019

George Brontén of Membrain is one of the smartest people I know when it comes to the latest trends affecting complex B2B sales. His team have developed a next-generation approach to CRM that tackles the challenges and constraints that are causing more than 50% of B2B sales people to miss their quota targets.

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Is this the most counterproductive sales metric?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 5-Jun-2018

If we’re driven by data and interested in statistics, there are a wide range of sales metrics we can choose to monitor. Assuming that we have collected the data in the first place, we can measure win rates, sales cycle velocity, changes in deal value or close date and all manner of other indicators.

If our data is good enough and we know how to interpret it, and if we are able to slice and dice it (and I realise that these are big “ifs”) then we can come to some powerful and illuminating conclusions about how and where we can most effectively improve sales performance and revenue reliability.

But I have in mind a metric that’s rather easier to measure - even with the least sophisticated CRM system or spreadsheet - and yet is capable of driving desperately dysfunctional behaviours if it is not used in an intelligent fashion. Can you guess what it is?

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Situational awareness - a critical factor in B2B sales

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 30-Jan-2018

As regular readers will know, I’ve been a long-standing advocate of establishing repeatable sales processes, but please bear with me while I take what might appear to be a contradictory position: In today’s typical complex B2B sales environments, there is no such thing as a universal “one best way” of handling every sales opportunity.

There is simply too much variation from one opportunity to the next in both our prospect’s particular circumstances and in the specific competitive environment for a fixed and unyielding formula to work every time. The same is true of sales methodologies: there is no one universally applicable “best” sales methodology.

Every one of the commercially available sales methodologies has both areas of strength and potential “blind spots”. Each is in practice more suited to certain sales environments and situations than others. There is no such thing as a universally efficacious sales methodology, even within a single sales organisation.

Given this, what are sales leaders to do: give in to anarchy, and let every sales person work it out for themselves? Abandon attempts to establish replicable processes and methodologies? There is (as you are probably hoping) an effective alternative approach…

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Why we chose to partner with Membrain

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 5-Jun-2017

Inflexion-Point has just announced a partnership with Membrain to incorporate our Value Selling System® methodology into their groundbreaking sales effectiveness platform for complex B2B sales.

We’re delighted to build on what has been a long-standing relationship, and I thought it might be worth highlighting some of the key motivations behind this important initiative.

Any sales leader responsible for a team of B2B-focused sales people that are selling into a complex B2B buying environment is facing a set of challenges that simply don’t exist in more transactional sales situations. You may recognise some or all of the following issues...

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