Digital Sales & Marketing
Digital Sales & Marketing
Close

Free digital sales and marketing courses

Immediately start seeing better digital sales and marketing results with dozens (and counting) of free online courses inside IMPACT+.

View all free coursesView all free courses

Digital Sales & Marketing World 2021

The premier, hybrid event for growth-focused business leaders, digital marketers, and sales pros. Virtual passes are free for IMPACT+ Pro members. In-person passes on sale soon.

Learn moreLearn more Watch past events on demandWatch past events on demand

Digital sales and marketing services

Discover the full array of IMPACT services, including inbound marketing training, web design, paid media management, and more.

Learn moreLearn more
They Ask, You Answer
They Ask, You Answer
Close

Free They Ask, You Answer course

Learn the principles of the They Ask, You Answer by taking our most popular course, taught by Marcus Sheridan himself.

Take the course nowTake the course now

Hire a coach

Turn your company into a high-performing digital organization with our flagship coaching program, Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery.

Learn moreLearn more

Case studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

View case studiesView case studies

They Ask, You Answer, the book

“One of the 11 Marketing Books every CMO should read.” — Forbes

Learn moreLearn more Buy the bookBuy the book
Virtual Selling
Virtual Selling
Close

Virtual Selling Mastery

Equip your sales team with proven methods to connect with today’s buyer, shorten the sales cycle, and close more deals, faster.

Learn moreLearn more

Virtual Selling Summit 2021

Your one-day virtual selling crash course! Today, sales reps are struggling to sell remotely. Learn how to close more deals in a virtual world.

Register NowRegister Now
Video
Video
Close

Free video sales and marketing strategy course

Zach Basner teaches you the fundamentals of making video for sales and marketing work inside your organization.

Take the course nowTake the course now

Video Sales and Marketing World 2021

Video Sales & Marketing World 2021 is in the works. In the meantime, enjoy the 2020 event on-demand - free for IMPACT+ Pro Members.

Watch past events on demandWatch past events on demand

The Visual Sale, the book

Learn how to use video to ignite sales, accelerate marketing, and grow your business in a virtual world in this book from Marcus Sheridan and Vidyard’s Tyler Lessard.

Learn moreLearn more Buy the bookBuy the book

Master video inside your organization

Video is a critical component of any high-performing digital sales and marketing program, and is a key part of Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery.

Learn moreLearn more
HubSpot
HubSpot
Close

Free HubSpot sales and marketing courses

Taught by Carina Duffy, IMPACT’s lead HubSpot trainer.

Marketing automation mastery (with HubSpot workflows)Marketing automation mastery (with HubSpot workflows) Inbound lead generation and conversion optimizationInbound lead generation and conversion optimization Getting started with sales technologyGetting started with sales technology

HubSpot Training Day

Following INBOUND 2020, IMPACT and HubSpot co-hosted a full-day of deep dive sessions to help HubSpot users get the most out of the new features fast! On-demand access is free for IMPACT+ Pro Members.

Watch on-demandWatch on-demand

HubSpot training and implementation

Maximize your investment in HubSpot's marketing, sales, or service platforms with guided training and implementation services.

Learn moreLearn more
Web Design
Web Design
Close

Website Optimization Summit

Learn how you may be unwittingly undermining the money-making potential of your website and how to fix it! Watch the opening keynote for free on-demand inside IMPACT+.

Watch on-demandWatch on-demand

Website design and strategy services

Get a beautiful, user-friendly HubSpot or Wordpress website that is easy to update, consistently generates leads and revenue, and grows with you.

Learn moreLearn more

What short-term wins can we expect with They Ask, You Answer?

If you go all-in with They Ask, You Answer, here's where you can expect to be in 90 days

What short-term wins can we expect with They Ask, You Answer? Blog Feature

John Becker

Revenue and Features Editor, Co-host of Content Lab, 15+ Years of Writing and Teaching Experience

September 17th, 2020 min read

In modern business, there’s so much focus on short term successes (are we meeting our goals for this month? For this quarter?) that undertaking an initiative that unfolds more slowly can require a leap of faith.

At IMPACT, we preach the They Ask, You Answer philosophy, developed by partner Marcus Sheridan when his pool business faced closure during the Great Recession.

With a bleak future on the horizon, Marcus began to openly and honestly answer any customer question he had ever heard. These answers were posted on his company website and, in time, began driving thousands of visitors to his site. 

Today, IMPACT helps businesses do the same: answering customer questions to become an educational resource for their industry. But, as anyone on business knows, building trust doesn't happen overnight.

We often share real-world results from clients that show how far they've come, but these often depict a year or two of hard work:

But what about a shorter timeline?

For businesses who are seriously considering embarking on a They Ask, You Answer journey, there can be some trepidation around that one central worry: So, when will I start seeing results?

Eric Dunn, a digital sales and marketing coach at IMPACT, has worked with numerous businesses that have aggressively pursued They Ask, You Answer, and he can offer a vantage point from which you can track progress.

So, how quickly can you start seeing results from They Ask, You Answer? It won’t happen overnight, but it can happen fairly quickly, if you’re willing to go all in. 

What does it mean to get started with They Ask, You Answer?

In an abstract sense, the They Ask, You Answer journey begins in the mind of a business leader. According to Eric Dunn, “They Ask, You Answer starts with a mindset shift, a desire to want to grow, get better, or do something different.” 

In many cases, an executive might hear Marcus speak at a conference. Or, they might pick up a copy of the They Ask, You Answer book. Even if a business leader is enthusiastic about Marcus’ message, they might not know exactly how to get started. “They know they want to take ownership of their digital sales and marketing, they’re just not sure how,” according to Eric. 

They Ask, You Answer is a philosophy that needs a strategy.

Without a strategic structure in place, one of two things will happen: One, a company will never really move forward, not knowing exactly how to begin or who should own the initiative. Or two, a single business leader will try to go from 0-60, speeding ahead without a clear plan, only to meet resistance and confusion in coworkers, leading to frustration and abandonment.

In order to find They Ask, You Answer success, you need to build consensus. 

Company-wide buy-in

They Ask, You Answer works best when the company leadership, marketing, and sales are all on board for the initiative. 

Eric had a client in which only one of the three partners had read They Ask, You Answer and planned to initiate it. The other two business leaders were unaware of his plans.

In other situations, companies view They Ask, You Answer as a marketing initiative that doesn’t affect sales or other parts of the company.

Here’s the truth. They Ask, You Answer is a sales and marketing initiative that flourishes in a state of business-wide consensus. If you’ve caught the bug, make sure that other stakeholders at your organization share your vision. Without this shared outlook, the initiative will not move forward smoothly. 

🔎Related reading: How to run a They Ask, You Answer book club

Getting boots on the ground

Your company will need a writer.

A core tenet of They Ask, You Answer is taking the process of content production in-house. In order to do this, companies should hire a content manager who can write blog articles, interview subject matter experts, and work with the sales team to turn questions into content. 

The hiring of a content manager can occur in as little as two weeks. We recommend an interview process that involves simulated tasks and other requirements, so it might take longer, though. 

Eric has “seen companies who have gone from creating a job description to having somebody accept the offer and starting within two weeks.”

Once that person is in place, Marcus suggests having them start writing immediately:

“Content managers should start producing written work in the first week. In fact, the best onboarding is interviewing staff and asking them questions about the products and services that you sell.”

Soon after your content manager, you should consider hiring a videographer. Producing video content is just as crucial, and creating a “culture of video” will get your team comfortable being on camera. 

Once you’ve gotten buy-in and hired your content producers, you’ve reached day one of your They Ask, You Answer journey. Here’s what to expect in the next few months.

🔎Related resource: Content manager job description for all industries (ready to use)

They Ask, You Answer at 90 days: a best-case scenario

At 90 days, look how far far you’ve come!

Organic traffic

Eric describes one of his clients that is 90 days into their journey. Their organic web traffic has exploded: “They’ve doubled their keyword growth in every category, and some have tripled.” In Eric’s words, “their commitment to writing and publishing quality content, at least three articles a week, is starting to really show results.”

What’s been key, says Eric, is not just having a content manager on staff, but also working with IMPACT content coaches on search engine optimization and publication cadence. 

As traffic increases, make sure you have processes in place to connect with visitors and capture leads that can be transferred to your sales team.

Sales and marketing alignment

The other significant change by 90 days will be in the communication in your sales process. While content managers strategize what goes on the website, sales leaders plan how to use that content with prospects. 

Sales leaders should map out the buying process, from the first touchpoint to the closed sale.  

According to Eric, your business should aim for “a standardized process that includes those educational pieces of content throughout every touchpoint with prospects, which will help shorten the sales cycle.”

This use of “assignment selling” allows your sales team to anticipate each question a prospect will ask — and answer it with a piece of content. Not only does this leave the buyer with fewer questions, but it also builds trust with your company. 

🔎Related resource: 5 real-life examples of assignment selling in action

They Ask, You Answer at 180 days: a best-case scenario

At six months, your They Ask, You Answer journey should really be gathering steam. As Eric puts it, “the snowball is built, and you’re just about ready to start rolling down the mountain.”

A culture of content creation

Successful They Ask, You Answer companies build a culture of content creation by consistently publishing optimized content that both draws traffic and shortens the sales cycle.

At this point, your sales team and marketing team should be working closely together. (Ideally, they have combined into a single revenue team.) All stakeholders understand exactly what is being written and when, and how it can be used in the sales process once it’s published. 

Strategic planning and detailed reporting

Underpinning all of this momentum are quarterly strategy meetings to plan for the upcoming months and to make sure optimization has been done properly.

What’s more, your business should be adept at using HubSpot at this point. This tool offers you insight into how visitors are interacting with your content, which can help to inform pivots and future strategy. IMPACT’s HubSpot trainers can help you with this, too.

At 180 days, the They Ask, You Answer principles should feel somewhat like second nature, and the culture of your business will have adapted to incorporate this new mindset. 

Shortcuts to avoid

A common shortcut Eric sees with clients is a hesitancy to hire a content manager. Trying, instead, to have someone already on your team handle your content production will not be successful. Content management is a full-time job, and if you add it as “one more thing” to somebody’s list of responsibilities, it won’t get done properly. 

Another common shortcut to avoid is not making the time to align your sales and marketing teams. While no one is a fan of superfluous meetings, you need these teams to have common planning time if you want them to be working seamlessly together. 

Set a time — perhaps half an hour a week, an hour every other week, or short daily huddles — that allows this alignment to happen. Just as trust is not created overnight, relationships aren’t either. Put the time in everyone’s calendar to make alignment a reality.

Getting started on your They Ask, You Answer journey

The story of Marcus Sheridan saving his pool business by answering customer questions — and thereby creating the They Ask, You Answer philosophy — has taken on nearly mythic proportions at IMPACT. As with any myth, it’s best to dispel any “happily ever after” endings. 

They Ask, You Answer did not save Marcus’ business overnight, and it certainly wasn’t easy. But today, River Pools has become a leading national manufacturer of pools, and the company is renowned for its high organic traffic. 

As you begin your They Ask, You Answer journey, remember that it is a commitment to a new approach to sales and marketing. With buy-in and with the right people in the right seats, you can progress quickly — as long as you commit and hold your team accountable.

In three months, you’ll be well on your way. By six months, these processes will become habitual and you’ll have true momentum. From there, the results can be amazing. Keep moving towards that goal!

(image credit: Seshu from connecticutheadshots.com)

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE