The classic challenge says Bob Apollo, is that many of the revenues came from a small number of salespeople, so we capture the best salespeople that worked in an effective way in targeting, qualifying and advancing their sales opportunities. Bob captures and embodies what works in a process that every sales member could follow hence narrowing the performance gap in this organisation.
Bob talks about the value gap and what would happen if an organisation continued the current path and what it could achieve if it decided to pursue the opportunities set out. Discussing the cost and consequences of not changing, is presenting the value gap. Many salespeople put inordinate stress on the benefits of buying a solution, said Bob. However, the message is more powerful when contrasting the current situation and the significant challenges, with where they want to get to. It is critical in creating the need to change because, if the current situation is insufficiently uncomfortable many people will choose to continue with the current situation.
Think of this as a buying process and not a sales process, said Bob. The buying journey starts long before the salesperson recognises it as a qualified opportunity, and it continues long after the customer places an order. It only comes to a temporary close when the customer realises that they have achieved the value they set out to when they embarked on this buying mission.
In SAAS, unless you deliver the values you had promised the chances of getting a renewal are dramatically reduced.
There is a distinction between leadership and management. When it comes to any initiative that priorities the customer Bob agrees the leadership (CEO) must lead the initiative. However, he states, the CEO might be a visionary and strategist wanting to see the metrics, but they do not necessarily have the mindset to follow through on the detail. Then it is the C-Suite that drives the detail.
Customer Success has become a common department in renewable revenue and has developed a broad range of applications, said Bob. He warns that regardless of where customer success sits, in marketing, in sales, or in operations. The problem with an exclusively operational customer success strategy is you can often miss the strategic nuances of the strategic direction and decision; customer success has really got to operate in a joined-up way.
Bob does not think the role of the salesperson is going away in fact the expectation is even higher. Neil Rackham author of Spin Selling talks about the polarisation of buyers and sellers. If it is a complex sale unfamiliar to the buyer there is a willingness to engage with a salesperson only if the buyer believes the interaction will result in genuine and relevant learning.
Bob recalled talking to a potential client and everyone appeared to be a clone of white men in their fifties with years of selling experience. The attitude may be “I have been successful, and I see no need to change!” Ultimately this is an unhealthy environment, said Bob.
Bob said he thinks of diversity as the diversity of thinking and the willingness to be open to new ideas. Stating we must recruit people more for the aptitude and attitude than for their experience. It is helpful if your sales team reflect the profile of the customer buying groups and organisations, but he says it does not substitute attitude and aptitude.
Bob Apollo’s hero is Bobby Kennedy, assassinated over 50 years ago, he was a person that absolutely believed in bridging the gap between young and old, race, gender, religion and always sort the best in people and today climate we are sorely missing politician and business leaders who share that belief.
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Bob is the founder and driving force behind Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B value selling experts. Following a successful career that spanned start-ups, scale-ups and corporates, Bob now works with ambitious growth-orientated organisations to create scalable sales environments.
Get your guide to Value Selling here