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How to Blend Inbound Marketing with Inbound Selling

As I’ve outlined in previous posts and in recent presentation, I believe the most potent approach to marketing and sales involves inbound marketing blended with inbound selling.

customer teams

photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via photopin cc

The challenge in implementing such an approach is that it requires an environment of intense cooperation between marketing and sales. As anyone in business can attest, this doesn’t always exist.

But if marketing and sales simply adopt parallel inbound approaches, without total harmony, they can actually further the internal working gap and muddle the ultimate message heard by the market.

What if you adopted an approach that took your organization in a direction that not only put sales and marketing on the same team, but also did so in a way that truly put the customer first?

What if in place of giving this idea lip service, you broke your marketing, sales, support and service teams into small units and compelled them to go to work on individual client segments or specific accounts as self managed action teams.

Build self led teams

One potential way to set up such an arrangement would be to assign team leaders and rotate each member through the role of leader every 60 or 90 days. This would put accountability and autonomy directly on every member of the team. The result would be a shared result owned by all with no ability to point fingers and pass blame.

If you were to facilitate this approach you might be quite amazed by the culture of collaboration that forms. Certainly, in your role of coach, you’ll need to guide these teams in the most productive ways, but this is how your create the kind of communication that leads to real innovation and you just might find that this changes your entire business model.

Bring sales into marketing meetings

The way to ease into such an arrangement is to start bringing your sales team members into marketing meetings to share what they are hearing out there on the street. You might even go as far as requesting that the marketing department develop some questions to begin posing to clients and prospects as a way to collect meaningful data on the client’s real world.

Take marketing into the field

The next logical step is to ask members of the marketing, service and support teams to participate in routine “ride alongs” with sales reps to make calls on clients and prospects with an eye on better understanding the world of sales while engaging in valuable conversations with actual clients.

The first step in getting sales and marketing on the same page is to inject a bit of empathy. When team members gain a better understanding of each others objectives and challenges they are often more prepared to look for collaborative solutions to customer challenges.

This step alone may turn up some more customer friendly processes and touchpoints, but to make these new learning pay off you need to create cross functional teams charged with blending inbound marketing and inbound selling.

Gather best practices

Once your teams start blending objectives and collaborating on behalf of prospects and customer it’s time to go to work finding and documenting the best practices and successful processes that these teams inevitably develop and using this approach to build a truly personalized customer oriented marketing and sales methodology.

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