How to Use Content in the Sales Process [Assignment Selling]
by Eliza Spain on Mar 28, 2023
Content marketing has been a buzzword in the marketing industry for a while now.
The strategy involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
But what about using content in the sales process?
That's where Assignment Selling comes in.
Assignment selling is a powerful approach to sales that utilizes content to guide prospects through the buying journey. By leveraging content, businesses can provide valuable insights, build trust, and create a sense of urgency that can increase sales and revenue.
We will explore the key steps in using content in the sales process and provide actionable tips to help you master the art of assignment selling.
Understanding the Concept and Process of Assignment Selling
What exactly is assignment selling?
We’re glad you asked.
The idea behind assignment selling is to create a series of steps that the customer must follow, each designed to move them closer to the sale.
This is where you’ll give the buyer the “assignment” of reading or watching educational content, which helps you learn a lot about them.
You will see what information is important to them and what is not by tracking what they’ve watched and read, allowing you to identify who is and who is not a good fit much faster and provide them with the content they need around your offerings.
By using content to answer 80% of objections and questions that buyers typically have when considering purchasing your products or services, you can effectively eliminate the need for a sales appointment that is focused around educating the buyer.
This approach saves time and resources for both the buyer and the seller.
With a well-crafted content strategy addressing common buyer concerns, you can provide valuable information to potential customers anytime and anywhere.
This empowers buyers to make informed decisions about your offerings without the pressure of a sales pitch.
By leveraging your content in this way, you can establish trust with your audience and ultimately improve your chances of making a sale.
Now that we have established what assignment selling is; let’s dive deeper into the key components of a successful assignment selling strategy and explore some best practices to help you get started.
We'll discuss the following:
- The benefits of assignment selling
- Steps to implementing assignment selling in your organization
- Tools that can be used for effective content
- Advice and next steps for getting started
The Advantages of Assignment Selling
Assignment selling offers a range of benefits for businesses looking to improve their sales process.
One of the main benefits is that it helps to build trust with potential customers.
By providing valuable content at each step of the buying journey, you demonstrate your expertise and willingness to help customers make the best decision for their needs.
This builds trust and establishes your credibility as a trusted advisor.
So, what can assignment selling do for your business?
Assignment selling can lead to the following:
- Better informed leads: Because leads are being shown exactly what content to consume for their needs, assignment selling allows them to be better educated about your business, service, and offerings.
- More effective sales conversations: Since leads are better informed, sales conversations can focus on the prospects' specific needs and issues. There's little need to go over general background information, as that was covered by content shared earlier.
- Faster sales process: Less time spent on educating means the sales process can move along more quickly. In other words, deals can close faster—while leads that aren't a good fit can be disqualified sooner.
Meanwhile, for the buyer, assignment selling means:
- They're empowered to do more research on their own: Modern buyers want to be in control of their own journey. They want to research products and solutions independently without going through a salesperson. Assignment selling helps enable that.
- They can qualify or disqualify themselves: When you share educational content, buyers are better equipped to determine if yours is the solution they truly need. When you create and share high-quality, honest content about what it's like working with you, they can decide on their own if you'll accomplish what they need.
- Less wasted time in sales meetings: When people can self-qualify or disqualify, you'll both waste less time in sales meetings that go nowhere. This can also ensure their time is better spent on questions and solutions specific to their needs when they reach out to sales.
Now that we have explored the benefits of assignment selling, let's dive into the key steps in implementing this powerful approach to sales and marketing.
Where to Implement Assignment Selling in Your Sales Process
By working with your leadership, sales, and marketing teams to develop a script for each stage of the sales process using assignment selling, you are educating your customers by giving them as much value as possible.
Not sure where to start?
Here are the 3 stages of implementing assignment selling:
1. Pre-sales appointment
Before the initial sales appointment, it’s important to eliminate as many potential questions as possible. This is where the power of content comes in. By creating educational content that addresses common concerns and questions, you can eliminate up to 80% of the questions that you know your prospects will have. This approach not only helps to establish credibility and trust, but also streamlines the sales process and enables you to focus on the most crucial issues during the sales appointment.
2. Post-sales appointment
The follow-up conversation after the pre-sales appointment is an excellent opportunity to dive deeper into buyer concerns and answer any remaining questions. During this stage, it's essential to address any issues that arose during the pre-sales appointment and ensure that the buyer feels comfortable moving forward. By taking the time to address buyer questions and concerns, you can establish a positive relationship and increase the chances of a successful sale.
3. Post-sales process
Even after the sale is complete, it's crucial to look for further moments to educate. This could include providing additional resources or offering follow-up support to ensure that the buyer is fully satisfied with their purchase. By continuing to educate and support the buyer, you can establish a long-term relationship that may lead to future business and referrals. In addition, by continuously looking for opportunities to improve the buyer experience, you can refine your strategy.
The goal is to give as much value as possible in educating your customers.
From a marketing standpoint, you should ensure you have created and produced all of the content before going through the script-building process.
Choosing the Right Format: Video and Written Content in Assignment Selling
It's strongly advisable to incorporate a mix of video and written content in your strategy.
Videos are powerful tools that can significantly impact your audience.
If you're just starting out and only have written content, don't worry. It's important to start with what you have and work towards incorporating video content.
The good news is that video content doesn't have to be overly professional and it doesn't necessarily have to be produced in advance.
Your sales team has the ability to produce uncomplicated and successful videos using their laptop or webcam. This approach can make the content more authentic and relatable to your audience.
So, don't hesitate to experiment with video and written content to find what works best for your business.
Take a look at these powerful video marketing tools that can help businesses create and share engaging video content:
- HubSpot Video offers a comprehensive video marketing platform that enables businesses to host, manage, and track their video content.
- Vidyard is a video platform that provides businesses with the tools to create, host, and share videos while also providing advanced analytics and integrations with marketing automation tools.
- Wistia is a video hosting platform offering in-depth video analytics, customizable video players, and lead generation tools.
- Loom is a video messaging tool that makes it easy for businesses to create and share short video messages with their team or customers.
Each of these tools offers unique features and benefits, making them a great addition to any business’s video marketing strategy.
Also, remember, through this process, be sure you're creating unbiased content to assure the prospect that they are working with an organization with their best interest in mind.
Steps for Effective Assignment Selling
Now that we have covered the basics of assignment selling, let's explore steps to help you start your journey.
- Understand the types of content you need, whether that be video, written, or a combination of both.
- Start with sales; be sure to have content ready for the sales team beforehand. Salespeople will see the value in having another tool in their toolbox once the content is produced.
- Be sure to involve sales in content creation from the beginning. When creating the content, you can use them as a resource for understanding what common questions customers are asking.
- Content should be based on addressing customers' fears, objections, and questions.
- Align marketing and sales and make sure salespeople see the value in content. If sales aren't using the content or don't see a need for that content, you may need to evaluate the content and see if it needs to be created in the first place.
- At least one person from marketing should be a part of every sales meeting. This allows them to hear all about the questions and concerns that prospects have during those meetings. This is especially effective for closing calls.
- At least one person from sales should be part of every internal marketing team meeting. They should understand the messaging you are using, the campaign that you're focused on, and the content you are creating. This allows them to validate that the content you're creating addresses a problem.
Taking these steps will help you ensure alignment is in place, and it also helps ensure the subject matter experts (mostly members of the sales team) know that it is their responsibility to help produce content.
Subject matter experts are in-house team members who have significant expertise and knowledge in their particular field or subject area. They can be interviewed by the content manager in order to produce high-quality in-depth content.
Once you have implemented the effective steps for assignment selling, it is important to measure the effectiveness of your strategy using the right tools.
Let’s take a look at how.
Measuring Effectiveness and the Tools You Can Use
To ensure the success of your assignment selling strategy, it’s essential to measure its effectiveness.
Tools like HubSpot and the use of a content repository sheet (like the image shown below) are great ways to provide valuable insights into your sales process, helping you optimize your strategy and achieve your goals.
HubSpot offers tools that can help you streamline your assignment selling efforts and measure your success. Analytics tools that allow you to track your assignment selling performance, such as the number of prospects you've contacted, the engagement level of your materials, and the conversion rates of your assignments.
Another tool that can be utilized for this purpose is a content repository: a centralized platform that houses all of your marketing materials, such as emails, presentations, case studies, and white papers.
By storing all of your content in one place, you can easily access and share materials with members of the sales team.
Utilizing these tools and continuously measuring your progress, you can optimize your assignment selling strategy.
In conclusion, using content in the sales process through assignment selling is a highly effective way to sell your products or services.
By identifying the pain points of your target audience, developing content that educates and informs, building trust, and guiding potential customers through the sales process, you can create a more effective and personalized approach to selling.
Remember, the goal is not to push your products onto potential customers but to provide value and help them solve their problems.
Doing so will make you more likely to establish long-term relationships with your customers and drive sales.
Are you interested in more information on why you should consider sales and marketing training and coaching for your business? Check out this article on why you should invest in sales and marketing training and learn how to do assignment selling effectively.
Or schedule some time to talk with an advisor today!
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