When was the last time you tried something new for the first time?
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For many of us looking to fill our monotonous days stuck in quarantine over the past few months, new hobbies have been popping up all over the place.
Just Google “new hobbies to try in quarantine” and you’ll get a bevy of responses, with lists ranging from “6 new hobbies to try” all the way up to “100 things to do in quarantine.”
Parade Magazine takes it one step further by offering up a list of “125 hobbies to pick up during quarantine”. 125 hobbies is a bit aggressive, but it just goes to show you that people have been starving for new things to try while stuck in the confines of their homes.
Starting something new is never easy. Don’t believe me? Ask the millions of people who have joined the trend of baking bread from home. Do you think their first attempts with at-home sourdough came out looking like something in the window of a French bakery? Not a chance. The truth is, they probably burned the first few loaves, set off their smoke alarms, and are still finding traces of flour around their kitchen.
Doing something for the first time takes patience, commitment, a willingness to learn, fail, and find ways to get better. Simply put, you’ve got to embrace the messy.
It’s no different when getting started with a new digital sales and marketing strategy for your organization. The principles of They Ask, You Answer are going to be new for most, if not everyone in your sales, marketing, and leadership teams. Some of them might have experience with writing content, creating videos, or a combination of the two, but the philosophy of “thinking like a teacher” is going to be a new concept.
Just ask one of the millions of new at-home bread bakers how messy learning something new can be, literally. Introducing a new concept to your team takes time for understanding, participation, and an overall belief that “this can and will work.”
As a digital sales and marketing coach here at IMPACT, I know this philosophy of “answering your customer’s questions” on the surface, appears to be simple. So who wouldn’t see the value and want to jump on board this exciting new opportunity to drive revenue through content?
The reality is, no matter how simple the idea, there will always be roadblocks and blindspots during implementation. Coaches like myself are here to guide you and your team around those roadblocks, identify the blindspots, and move your team forward as you adopt this new idea.
Embracing the vision of They Ask, You Answer
So how do we get people to catch the vision and jump on board? Marcus Sheridan, author of They Ask, You Answer ,often says, “You can be a profit to the world, but no one will listen to you in your hometown.” Meaning it’s hard for you, or someone on your team, to convince your internal staff that a new culture is imperative to the growth of the company.
Maybe you’ve read They Ask, You Answer and hopefully shared the book with your team. Some of them will join in your excitement, but what about the others who don’t take the time to learn about “this thing called inbound marketing” you’ve been talking about? You might start asking yourself the following questions to gauge your team’s buy-in: Will they listen? Will they see the value? Will they participate?
When organizations like yours are looking to become the trusted leader in their space, working with a digital sales and marketing coach is the most efficient way to organize the messiness that ultimately comes with a new initiative.
Your Mastery team at IMPACT — your account manager, your coach, your trainers — will guide you and your team through these proven principles and strategies, sharing their knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned along the way.
How long does it take to implement a content marketing strategy?
No matter what initiative you’re trying to implement into your organization, buy-in and cultural acceptance does not happen overnight. The same is true for content marketing success.
Here’s a breakdown of the five stages we have identified for your digital sales and marketing success, along with an estimated time-frame for when your company can expect to see desired outcomes:
Months 1 - 3: Publish content and get the sales team engaged and implementing assignment selling
Months 2 - 5: Searchers and search engines realize your content exists
Months 3 - 6: You start to generate leads from organic traffic
Months 4 - 12: You start generating sales and revenue
Months 12 - 24: The snowball rolls downhill
We ultimately want your organization to reach the snowball goal, which typically happens around the 12-month mark of your engagement with IMPACT, depending on the speed you're moving. But before we can release your snowball down the hill, we have to work our way up the other side of the mountain — and that takes commitment to doing content marketing the right way.
The reason we require at least a 12-month engagement with your digital sales and marketing coach is because our coaches are dedicated to getting your team the outcomes you desire by doing content marketing the “right way.”
Rolling that snowball up the hill is going to be much more difficult if we don’t first establish three mission-critical objectives, starting us out on the right track:
You’re writing and producing, at minimum, two to three new pieces of content each week.
Your company is bought in and fully participating in the content process, including sales, marketing, leadership, and subject matter experts.
We will focus our attention on doing things right and coaching your team through these three objectives.
Writing quality, unbiased content takes time
Do you have someone on staff right now whose sole responsibility is to create content for your organization? If so, fantastic! We’ll work with this content manager to educate and train them on the principles of They Ask, You Answer.
If not, who will be taking on this new commitment to managing, writing, and overseeing educational content, with both articles and videos?
Our coaches will educate your team on how to develop this internal process, while guiding you through the hiring and onboarding process of a content manager and videographer if they are currently not on staff.
Some people will catch the vision and be ready and willing to participate from the jump, while other stragglers will be resistant to change.
You can probably envision who those resistors will be already. It might be someone from sales who is used to doing things their way, or a subject matter expert who avoids being on camera at all costs.
Just as you’re getting ramped up to start writing content, you might have a senior leader who is hesitant to to be honest and transparent about things like pricing and problems. We’ll need to tackle these concerns head on and help them see the value to being the trusted voice in your industry’s space.
This process requires engagement from your full team, with consistent participation and ongoing conversations to not just develop, but also maintain buy-in and support.
Keeping the content marketing conversation fresh
Another reason why we recommend working with a digital sales and marketing coach for at least 12 months is to make sure the initiative does not feel like a flash in the pan. The last thing we want to happen is for the sales team to see They Ask, You Answer as “that thing we did three months ago.”
If our goal is to establish a culture of obsessing over the questions and problems from your prospects and customers, we should keep the conversation fresh with regular check-ins, to-dos, and constant action items. This means regular internal meetings with your sales and marketing teams to continuously create content ideas, along with ongoing educational opportunities through IMPACT articles, videos, and online training courses in IMPACT+.
Developing mastery takes true commitment
In order to truly drive revenue through digital sales and marketing, They Ask, You Answer needs to stick. It can’t be done in silos, with the marketing department doing all the work while neglecting to engage with sales, leadership, and subject matter expert teams.
Working with your Mastery coach at IMPACT will help preserve the stickiness of your content marketing initiative.
Coaches will work with you and your team to
Establish a strong process for writing quality content
Organize bespoke training to suit your team's needs
Create and maintain company buy-in
Keep an open and ongoing dialogue with your team about the willingness to participate
Establish quarterly priorities that keep your team moving forward.
Once these crucial elements are established, companies can start moving the needle towards content marketing success and begin seeing desired outcomes.
Remember what English author and historian Thomas Fuller once said: “All things are difficult before they are easy.”
Just like taking on a new hobby during quarantine, digital sales and marketing success takes a lot of time and commitment from your organization.
With a coach to guide you through your journey, you will get through it with a strong understanding of how to truly take ownership of your digital sales and marketing success.