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One of the most frequent complaints we hear about content marketing is how long it takes to see results.

Assignment Selling is the act of using your websites existing content during the sales process to address major objections and questions your buyers have. The concept of Assignement Selling was an outgrowth of Marcus Sheridan’s development of his They Ask You Answer content creation framework (TAYA) more than a decade ago when he was running his swimming pool company River Pools and Spas.

Where Did Assignment Selling Come From?

Over the years Marcus’ own research and data has found that more content, the more pages a website viewer visits on your website the higher your closing ratio will be. Marcus found he had two different groups of visitors:

• The first group had only viewed a handful of pages on his website. They had a closing rate of around 25%.
• The second group had viewed an average of 30 pages of his website and had a closing rate of around 80%.

So we can start to conclude that the more educated and informed about your product and process the viewer is the better your chances are in closing a project deal with those customers.

Where Should Assignment Selling Be Deployed?

So what Marcus did and recommends today is that as soon as you have a client touch point, e.g. they have contacted you via phone, email, or filling out a form on your website you should start to assign homework to the contact both to find out how much they already know about your product and services and to drive them to find out more about your company its products and services too.

Using the correct email tools such as Hubspot and/or MailButler you can see number one, if your emails are opened, and two if they clicked on the links in the email where you assigned them homework. If they haven’t reviewed the content you might put you pursuit of them on hold until a later date and if they have reviewed the content you assigned you can start to better see where they are headed.

Assignment Selling can be implemented at various stages of the sales cycle or funnel; before the first sales call, after the first sales call, before a deal is signed, and even as an element of Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

The Plus Sides of Assignment Selling

This technique works for both you and in your potential client’s interests. For you and your company you are getting:

  • Better informed potential buyers.
  • A more effective and efficient sales process
  • A faster sales process timeline
  • And potentially bigger more robust project deals

What your lead, your potential buyer gets is:

  • A message that you care about their project.
  • A sense of more ownership over their potential project.
  • You aren’t wasting their time if there is a fit. They can qualify or disqualify themselves without having to tell you they are no longer interested which for many people is a real psychological obstacle.
  • No wasted time with pointless real-life sales meeting for sales that will never happen.

The Stages In The Assignment Selling Process

These are some of the suggest stage points to anticipate in your company’s sales journey, process or funnel for the application of Assignment Selling:

  • New Lead
  • Attempted to contact
  • Sales qualified
  • Scoping / auditing
  • Presented offering
  • Quoted
  • Lost
  • Customer
  • Potential future
  • Unserviceable

…and depending on both what stage the particular lead is at and what they know and what you have identified they want to or need to know your approaches should be customized for that particular lead.

In other words you need to:

  1. Create the content your buyers need
  2. Empower your sales team to use the content
  3. Make the content easy to access

In Conclusion:

Think of Content Selling as Teaching. You are helping your lead, a potential buyer understand or even discover their problem (and Pain Points) and understand the solutions you sell and how they can help them on their Hero’s Journey vanquishing/solving their problem (see: What Are The Principles in Donald Miller’s “StoryBrand” Framework).

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J. Jerrald Hayes
Primus Inter Pares at Paradigm Projects, Ltd.
I am an architectural woodworker and general contractor turned IT, Business and Project Management consultant, software developer wannabe senior division triathlete and ski racer, Yankee fan and founder of ParadigmProjects.com, 360 Difference Mac4Construction.com,iOS4Construction.com and now TheBuildingAndRemodelingWiki.com too.
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