The term “integrated marketing” has been with us for many years. I’ve written about it in the classic sense and about how it’s evolved in the digital age as I believe integration is the key to consistency, momentum and systems thinking – all good things.
While integration is a concept that is often applied broadly to a companies’ strategic approach, I believe it can and should be applied specifically to the more individual process of sales and selling.
On the organizational level sales and marketing must be fully integrated and the individual salesperson must become adept at using an “integrated selling” approach.
While terms like integrated marketing and integrated selling are often so abused they come to have mixed or confused meaning, the real power of this view is that it allows you to focus on making the sales experience a personalized extension of the marketing experience in a way that benefits the customer – and that’s what is so lacking in the traditional marketing and sales funnel world.
Today the term “social selling” is all the rage, but simply bolting on more tools or looking at social media as some new extension or tactic is as misguided in sales as it was several years ago in marketing. (I can picture the social selling experts lining up as I write this.) It’s all just fodder for creating the best possible customer integrated experience.
Below are five key ingredients to an integrated selling approach
Define ideal leads
Today salespeople must get very good at defining and attracting leads that are ideal or perfectly suited to receive the value of the products and services that offer. This is not a market or even a segment, this is a prospect with the right characteristics, behavior and needs and this may differ from salesperson to salesperson.
Focus on insights
If a salesperson waits to be invited to solve a problem they are essentially going to be asked to bid some work. An integrated approach calls for getting involved in a prospect’s world long before they have identified and quantified their problem. In this approach you’re job is to demonstrate your value rather than sell.
Guide the journey
Sales and marketing today is less about demand creation and conversion and more about organizing buyer behavior – buyers embark on journeys today that have no straight path or funnel. In order to guide a journey like that you have to be prepared to focus on creating awareness, educating and building trust over selling.
You’ve heard it a million time – content is king – but the king has been overfed and is bloated. An integrated selling approach looks for ways to filter, aggregate and personalize content to the level of the individual client or prospect. An individual salesperson may see blogging as a way to build authority but simply extracting and sharing golden nuggets from the companies’ blog, research and white papers is an equally powerful way to use content in sales.
Always be connecting
I know salespeople have been taught, measured and compensated for their ability to close, but superstar salespeople seem to close more business without the focus on selling at all. The master sales skill has always been one of connecting – connecting networks, stakeholders, opportunities, referrals and influence. The toolset available for mining and making connections gets better with each passing day.
Yes, the act of selling has changed dramatically because the act of buying has changed dramatically and business owners, marketers and salespeople alike must adapt their approach accordingly.
My friend Mark Schaefer author of Social Media Explained kindly pointed out in a review of my book Duct Tape Selling that I had indeed written one of the first books on integrated selling. So, if this post resonated – you might have a look – Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar goes on sale May 15th