Episode #195 – Bob Apollo

Develop Self-Awareness as the Foundation of Productivity

Bob Apollo


Bob Apollo

Bob Apollo is the founder of the UK-based sales effectiveness consultancy Inflexion-Point. Bob is a founding contributor to the International Journal of Sales Transformation, a fellow of the Association of Professional Sales and a member of the Sales Experts Channel. Bob has a particular focus on building scalable sales organizations in complex B2B sales environments.

Do you possess an adequate level of self-awareness? Can you accurately pinpoint where you are weak or could use improvement? Today’s guest on the podcast, Bob Apollo, believes that you must be self-aware to grow and improve—and become more productive. Listen to this episode for an in-depth analysis of productivity and what can help set you apart in the sales world.

Bob founded Inflexion-Point—a UK-based B2B sales effectiveness consultant group—15 years ago and has a strong global footprint. He is an advocate for creating customer-value throughout every transaction. As an expert in the industry, we are fortunate to have him share that expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

Listen as @BobApollo shares about his strong belief in #SelfAwareness and why he believes every salesperson must embrace it as a foundation to #productivity. Check out this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales Click To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Bob’s definition of productivity
  • [1:44] Why aren’t salespeople productive?
  • [2:45] Develop a level of self-awareness
  • [4:10] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [5:22] Lobby for a more effective CRM
  • [8:05] Top 3 Productivity dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [17:20] A productivity challenge Bob has faced

Developing self-awareness as a foundation for productivity

There are a couple of personality attributes and characteristics that are important to productivity, but Bob points out that cultivating self-awareness is up there at the top. You need to be aware of what you’re doing and the impact and effectiveness of your actions. Without self-awareness, you won’t know what to change and improve.

It is the building block to effectiveness. Once you’re self-aware you can pinpoint your struggles and your weak points and develop a strategy to improve them. You can learn what works and what doesn’t. Self-aware salespeople are more likely to learn from others and grasp new concepts.

You must learn to develop #SelfAwareness—it is THE foundation to build on to improve your #productivity. Learn more by listening to this episode of @SalesReinvented with @BobApollo! #SalesReinvented #Sales #ProductivityTipsClick To Tweet


The right CRM can make a world of difference

Bob points out what many salespeople feel: the user experience and ROI of a CRM can be pretty disappointing. The vast majority of conventional CRM solutions are built around an administrative metaphor and record activities after the event. They offer no real sense of guiding the salesperson.

There are many plugins available that try and rectify some of the issues but very few CRM’s that have adjusted. Bob recommends that if you feel your CRM isn’t delivering value, lobby for something better. There are options out there that may be better for you and your sales team—don’t be afraid to push your company for something better.

The ability to learn is a key indicator of success

Bob believes that one of the best things you can do to improve yourself is to model your behavior after the most successful salesperson in your company. You must be willing to share your successes and failures with the team. The more successful your team is, the more profitable your business can be. Embrace the idea of collective learning.

But you must also embrace taking responsibility for your personal development. Don’t wait for your company to train you or blame them for your lack of knowledge. You alone are the master of your own destiny, so you must plan accordingly. One way you can do that is by setting up a professional development plan so you remain relevant and successful.

Some tips and strategies to increase productivity

Bob gave us some tips that are too valuable not to share:

  • Plan ahead: Don’t start any conversation or meeting without knowing what you want out of it.
  • Be open to fresh ideas: What brought you success in the past won’t necessarily repeat.
  • Focus your energy on value-creating activities: the more value you bring to the client the more likely they’ll be to move forward with your solution. It is a give-get process.
  • Be strategic with unexpected RFPs: Learn to discern if you’re “column fodder”—as Bob put it—and if you have a chance to actually compete for the bid. Don’t waste your time if you’re the rabbit.
  • Don’t prescribe before you’ve diagnosed: Really take the time to listen to your client’s needs and pain points—and do not fall into autopilot and start pitching before the time is right.

Listen to the whole episode as we talk about eliminating sources of error, the greatest productivity challenge Bob has faced, and take a deep-dive into productivity.

@BobApollo shares some effective tips and strategies to increase #productivity in this episode of @SalesReinvented. Don’t miss it! #SalesReinvented #Sales #ProductivityTips #Productivity #PersonalGrowthClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bob Apollo

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

More About Bob Apollo

What was the last book you read?
I have quite an eclectic taste, I’m more of a parallel reader than a serial reader – keeping multiple books on the go at any time. Recently, I’ve enjoyed reading or re-reading: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, Gap Selling by Keenan, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, RFK: His Words for our Times by Edwin Guthman and Richard Allen

Who / What inspires you?
Generally I take my inspiration from people who help me to see things from a fresh perspective. In the sales arena, I’m motivated by people who recognise that mastering selling is inherently complex, acknowledge that there are no silver bullets or magic formulas and draw from practical, pragmatic experience. I also find working with my clients very inspirational – many of my ideas stem from their experiences. I’m particularly fascinated by how to build lastingly scalable sales organizations

Are there any aspects of your own productivity skills that you are working on improving at the moment?
I acknowledge that I have a problem with being fascinated and often distracted by new ideas and by opportunities to continually refine my thinking. I’ve learned that I need to focus on completing the task in hand before starting something new.

Hobbies, Interests?
Keeping fit, ancient and modern history, paleontology, walking the dog and admiring how quickly my first grandson is growing up

How can our listeners contact with you?
Via my website at www.inflexion-point.com, Via email at bob(at)inflexion-point.com, On twitter @bobapollo, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobapollo/