The future of integrated selling is now

duct tape selling

If you need a guide to selling in the digital age, it has arrived.

I received an advance copy of John Jantch’s new book Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar and this is a very important book. It’s not just about updating your CRM system or catching the “social” selling wave, this is an entirely new, integrated framework for the sales professional.

And it’s a little scary.

John does not pull any punches in this book. It’s direct, honest and even in your face about what it is going to take to sell successfully in a world where your biggest competitor might be inbound leads from Hubspot.

I was lucky enough to be able to interview the author about this important new book …

Mark Schaefer: John, I love the new book. It’s a bold manifesto for radical change in the sales mindset, techniques and leadership. And although this is a natural extension of the Duct Tape brand, there is nothing really simple in what you’re proposing, is there?

John Jantsch: Is anything about sales really simple? I guess it comes down to how you look at what your end game is. If the long view is the make a sale, then this might seem like a big commitment, but if you recognize that you’re building an asset, one that serves your clients and your organization, then you just might view this as an investment in your business or career.

Mark: You’re unequivocal in your position that a salesperson today must take a leadership role in content creation, social media engagement and even public speaking. As I think about the sales people and sales teams I grew up with, I would say 90 percent or more would actively resist these changes. Am I wrong?

john jantsch

John Jantsch

John: I’m hoping you’re off by a bit! There’s no question that a cultural shift in both the sales and marketing leadership must occur for this change to manifest in the best possible form, but there are signs that organizations and individual sales professionals are waking up to the power of this approach.

Obviously it is much harder for a salesperson who is measured solely on dials to take this longer term view, but as this change occurs so too will compensation models and sales metrics. Eventually this may lead to hiring that is based in some new skillsets.

Mark: You’re pretty bold in your claims that unless salespeople change dramatically and change now, they are at risk of being a commodity order taker in a world of inbound, content-related leads. One thing you don’t directly address in the book is the raw skillsets required for the new social seller. Would we better off hiring natural content creators and social media fanatics and then teaching them to sell?

John: The book’s final section addresses the role of the new sales coach or leader. Chapter 17, Rethink Hiring, addresses the need to think far outside the traditional sales closer model but stops short of suggesting that you hire journalists and social media fanatics. The answer is somewhere in between.

Flexibility, analytical thinking and a knack for service are the traits that just might define today’s salesperson.

Mark: I have been brought in to do a lot of social sales training. I certainly teach (and even preach) about the ideas you have here. And although the initial reception might be enthusiastic, I find change is difficult to sustain when the training is over. What steps should a leader take to actually sustain the recommendations in your book?

John: The first thing you have to realize is that this isn’t training – this is a mindset shift and that happens over time through consistent reinforcement and adoption at the highest level.

If this mindset shift is stuffed into the can of “social selling” it will simply perform as this week’s new tactic and lose its luster quickly. Integrated selling means fully integrated across the entire customer journey involving every element of marketing, sales, and service.

Mark: Writing a book is difficult work, especially one like this with so much original insight. How are you different after writing this book?

John: I think it’s hard to know for sure as it’s a gradual growth but I do certainly acknowledge that I have a renewed appreciation for the need to think, act, market and sell on a more personal level once again.

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  • Hello Mark,

    I think I understand Johns main point. It is, that sales pros are going to have to look different going forward, if they want to succeed in this new, more content and social oriented economy.

    What I wonder about is the economics of having sales people create content. Social engagement is a must. But content creation could prove costly, if not ineffective.

    Example, IBM has, say, 20,000 sales people. What would happen if each of those people were blogging, assuming you could teach them how to do so?

    For smaller companies this may make sense. But I can’t wrap my head around the costs and or effectiveness as companies get larger.

  • A valid concern. I worked on a social selling strategy with a Fortune 100 company. They used a combination of content generated by marketing communications, curated industry news (valid and useful) and their own original content (which was nurtured by trainers and editors). Very few salespeople actively blogged although the number grew over time.

  • Jason Jue

    Mark/John, you may mention this in the book, but can you comment on adoption of “integrated selling” and productivity results when training existing reps and when training brand new reps? How are you thinking about the importance of integrated selling by different types of selling. For example, many companies separate by customer size, product, customer journey (lead nurture, acquisition, retention) and method (chat, inside, and field).

  • Maybe it’s better to think in terms of a shift from hiring pure sales people, to hiring content marketers.

    So, this would result in a decrease in traditional sales head count, and an increase in inbound marketers.

    Traditional sales pros would then have to rethink their own skill set.

    This shift, to me, is an accurate reflection of the shift in how people buy, not in how people sell.

    Really just means you don’t need as many pure sales pros.

    Seem reasonable?

  • John addresses this point directly in the book.

  • Ya, I just bought the book. Doesn’t surprise me that he addresses this. He is first class.

  • AND, I want you to acknowledge that we just had a very pleasant and professional exchange of ideas!!!

    LOL…do it…now…or my feelings will be hurt.

  • Craig Lindberg

    I look forward to reading John’s book because the timing couldn’t be better given the evolutionary pressure on the sales team that is forcing a type of natural selection that follows a cataclysmic event but instead of a giant asteroid hitting Earth in this case it was the Great Recession. It came along just as a lot of the furry little content and inbound marketing animals were emerging. People like warm and furry and embrace them. People fear being stalked by large reptiles.
    I like to think John may be documenting a “dinosaur” die off and the emergence of a new species of salesperson.

  • Gary Schirr

    I look forward to reading this book!

    I think complacency has set in after the premature assurance that salespeople were dinosaurs during the “dot.bomb” era!

    People forget that there is a lag before technology wreacks havoc. For 15 years after firms spent heavily on IT economists were looking for productivity gains…then suddenly clerical staff and middle managers noticed it!

    Traditional salespeople will soon note the effect of social media!

  • John addresses this pretty completely in the second half of his book.

  • I think that is a good way to put it Craig! I think this is a seminal book for a new era.

  • I agree. The momentum is only building now for many companies.

  • Pingback: Has the “Saleozoic” Era Begun? Sales and Marketing Alignment Evolves | Lindberg B2B Marketing()

  • Vincent

    IBM has empowered its employees, not just sales people, to build their personal brand and grow their professional network by sharing content in and around the areas of promise of IBM’s social business initiatives. This not only build the employees brand but also the overall IBM brand and it also inspires and educates the IBM customer so that when they make a Social Business decision they think of IBM. See the following screen cast for a video overview.

    If IBM can do this anyone can do this. All you need to do is curate content that inspires and educates and then engage the people who respond in an authentic and relevant way.

    http://screencast.com/t/kEUSRu7am

    Cheers

    Jon

    Jon Ferrara
    CEO | Nimble – Social Relationships, Made Easy.
    @jon_ferrara | http://www.nimble.com

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  • lalitha

    Wow, thank you for sharing .

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