"What the heck is a self-professed content nerd doing talking to me about my company's 2020 sales strategy?"
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That's a totally fair question, and I see where you're coming from. However, I want to take you back in time to IMPACT Live 2019 — which is now Digital Sales & Marketing World, by the way — to my talk, during which I said:
See, even though you're in sales and I'm a content marketer, we're not all that different. In fact, our goal is the same — we want to make money for our company.💰
I think sometimes all of us — marketing, sales, and even leadership — forget that. Yes, we have different functions, roles, and responsibilities that can, on occasion, feel at odds. But, at the end of the day, we're on the same team, trying to accomplish the same goal.
So, that's why I'm here today having this conversation with you.
As IMPACT's content director, I'm not successful unless I'm empowering our sales team to close more deals faster with more qualified leads. (Every content manager should go into work every day with this mindset.) I even spent six months on the sales team as their dedicated content strategist, so I could truly understand what the modern sales team needs to be successful.
More than that, though, the demands of today's digital buyer require us (sales, marketing, and leadership) to go into 2020 hand in hand, if we want to achieve (or exceed) our revenue goals.
But what does that mean for your 2020 sales strategy? What should be included to make sure you're hitting your targets and fully aligned with the rest of your organization?
1. Integrate using personalized, 1-to-1 video in your sales process
Also, the results we've seen with our sales team at IMPACT and with our clients speak for themselves.
When you use video for prospecting, prospects are more likely to engage.
When you use video for introductions and confirming sales appointment calls, prospects are less likely to stand you up and feel more connection with you and your brand.
When you use video to send personalized recaps and walkthroughs of discovery conversations, you further that connection and stand out from other competitors they may be talking to.
When you use video to introduce and follow up on proposals, you reduce friction, create more of a dialogue, and significantly increase the likelihood that a deal will close.
And when you use video to hand-off a new client from sales to service, you create a great experience for them and decrease those pesky "lost in translation" issues that so often happen when sales leaves the picture.
So, video for sales is a must for your 2020 strategy.
2. Make the time to be involved in marketing's content brainstorming and creation process
"Liz, here's the deal. While I would love for our sales team to be more involved in what's marketing doing, we can't. We simply don't have the time. We need to stay focused on high-value tasks that are directly tied to closing deals, period."
I hear you. I really do.
And you're not wrong. You should be focused on high-value tasks that lead directly to you and your team closing more deals.
Rather, the flaw in your logic is thinking that sales being involved in brainstorming content ideas and helping to create that content isn't a high-value, revenue-generating task.
For example, your marketing team will never be able to create inbound marketing content that keeps your sales pipeline fat and happy with educated, qualified leads if you aren't telling them what questions you're getting from prospects every single day. And sales is also the best team to answer a good number of those questions through content.
Yale Appliance is a great example of this, as their commitment as a company —especially sales! — to creating content has resulted in millions of dollars in revenue and unimaginable growth:
Create more time for sales to sell more, be at home more, and relax more.
Attract more educated, more qualified prospects who are more likely to close a deal with your company.
Never say ever again, "Man, what the heck is marketing thinking with this content they're publishing? It's all completely useless."
Doesn't that sound dreamy?
3. Next, put assignment selling at the forefront of your sales process
If you haven't read They Ask, You Answer, you probably haven't heard the term "assignment selling" before. That's totally OK.
Assignment selling is:
The process of intentionally using information.
…which you have created via text, video, or audio.
…that is educational about your products and/or services.
...with the purpose of resolving the major concerns and questions of the prospect, so they are dramatically more prepared for a sales appointment — or multiple sales appointments.
Or, more simply, assignment selling is how you put your content to work so it starts making more money for you and your sales team immediately.
In practice, assignment selling is basically the act of your sales reps giving prospects homework (in the form of content) that they need to watch, read, or listen to before a particular sales appointment.
Assuming you're involved in the content brainstorming and creation process (#2 in this article), that content will answer the most baseline questions about your products and services that all prospects have. Which means you can make the focus of your sales call more targeted and tailored to the personalized needs of your prospect, instead of answering all of the usual FAQs.
That means you start providing value and differentiating yourself from the competition faster, because you're having those high-value conversations earlier in the sales process.
But when I pushed all of the little things to the side, I realized that the three things I listed above are the most mission-critical, "if you do nothing else" sales strategy points I want you to think about and adopt going into 2020.
If you don't integrate video into your sales process in 2020, you're going to leave money on the table.
If you remain on the sidelines of your content strategy, you're going to leave money on the table and widen the divide between sales and marketing.
If you don't then implement assignment selling, you're going to leave money on the table, because you're not allowing your content to do its job — closing more deals faster.
That's the bottom line, folks. Now, are you ready to take your sales strategy to the next level in 2020?