Art & Science

of complex sales

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Bob Apollo, Inflexion-Point
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Bob Apollo, Inflexion-Point

CEO at Inflexion-Point, the UK-based B2B sales and marketing performance improvement specialists. Inflexion-Point helps B2B organisations to design and implement highly effective customer acquisition systems based on a combination of the winning habits of their top sales performers and the latest industry best practices.

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Critical to B2B sales success - stakeholder assessments

One of the most common reasons why apparently promising B2B sales opportunities get derailed - often at a late stage in our sales cycle - is that we have failed to identify all the key stakeholders or to understand how to get them all to support our approach.

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ad-hoc projects: another nail in the coffin of BANT

It surprises and shocks me how many sales organisations still regard BANT as a practical way of qualifying sales opportunities. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it dates back to the steam-driven days prior to the emergence of the Internet, SaaS and modern buying behaviours and stands for Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe.

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If you really want to shorten your sales cycle, slow down!

If the conversations I’ve been having with sales leaders recently are anything to go by, our sales pipelines are full of opportunities that start off looking like they are going to end up in a quick sale, but then get stuck somewhere in the middle (or towards the end) of the process.

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The sales methodology that outperforms all others

Every established sales methodology attracts its own fan base. Some are fans of SPIN®, others Challenger®, Miller-Heiman, Sandler, Solution Selling® and so on – the list goes on for ages. I’m particularly but not exclusively attracted to "value selling" myself.

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The keys to engaging our stakeholders

Our prospective customers are far more likely to want to engage with us if they believe that they are likely to learn something valuable from us. Most sales methodologies stress the importance of asking intelligent questions at the appropriate time and with the relevant context.

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The illusion of the expert buyer

One of the most dangerous mistakes we can make as sales people is believing that our customer – and particularly the sponsor we have been working with – knows how to buy.

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Sales pipeline management: let’s stop confusing progress with probability

Sales forecasting is hard. For proof, you need look no further than the 2018 CSO Insights Sales Performance study, which reported that on average a little over 46% of all forecasted sales deals actually resulted in a win (never mind the timing).

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Is this the most counterproductive sales metric?

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.

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3 fundamental goals of sales leadership

The art and science of sales leadership is clearly complicated, but the fundamental goals of sales leadership - at least from my observations of complex B2B sales environments - seem to be remarkably consistent: