They Ask, You Answer is often hailed as a “revolutionary approach to content marketing,” “an effective inbound marketing strategy to attract new leads,” or a “straightforward guide to fixing your current marketing strategy.”
So, it is no wonder that marketing folks often get excited when they hear about They Ask, You Answer, while salespeople usually are skeptical. Who can blame them? More often than not, sales has been burned by or even negatively impacted by new marketing strategies. They simply don’t trust marketing to create anything of value for them, so they operate in complete isolation.
So, why should this one be any different? Great question.
In this article, you will learn that They Ask, You Answer is a business philosophy that will, when embraced fully, transform your entire organization on the quest to become the Voice of Trust in your space. Then, we will explore the ten most impactful benefits for sales teams, namely:
Top 10 Ways Sales Benefits From They Ask, You Answer
Is They Ask, You Answer A Content Marketing Strategy Or A Sales-Led Business Initiative?
Marcus Sheridan, the author of the book They Ask, You Answer, describes this approach as a “business philosophy which, when embraced fully, will make you the most trusted voice within your industry.” While it has a significant marketing component to it, it primarily transforms your business by aligning your marketing and sales teams behind a common goal (your customer) and turns your marketing into a sales enablement machine.
Here is why this is important: Today’s buyers have completed 80% of their decision-making process by the time you become aware of them. In other words, by the time they want to speak to a salesperson, request a quote, or ask to visit a sample house, they have already researched everything there is to know. They are just confirming a few last facts or want to get specific pricing. Therefore, marketing needs to enable that journey that sales
10 Top Benefits Of They Ask, You Answer For Sales Teams
To succeed with They Ask, You Answer, the sales and marketing teams must collaborate. They'll meet, run brainstorming sessions, and check in on the content marketing produced. Sometimes, this is done in what we call a revenue team. I promise this is a minimal time commitment and totally worth everyone's time. Here's why.
1. Your buyers already trust your brand before they meet with you.
Buyers want to research as much as they can on their own before contacting a salesperson. Now, there are two types of websites: those that "will give you a taste of what we have to offer" (yup, that's an actual quote from a CMO of a company that has such a website) and those that will educate their buyers with honest, transparent, and unbiased content to create and nurture trust.
When you do They Ask, You Answer, your marketing department will create a website that follows the latter approach. This means that, by the time a buyer comes to you, they most likely have read dozens of website pages already, and they trust your brand. Not only will they be much more knowledgeable, but you will know exactly which website pages, articles, videos, etc. they have interacted with.
Imagine how different that first sales conversation will be!
2. You will understand your buyer’s problems, concerns, worries, and needs better than ever before.
They Ask, You Answer was aptly named because of the philosophy’s obsession with understanding what our buyers are thinking about, what they are searching for, and what drives them. Organizations that implement They Ask, You Answer successfully make it a company-wide initiative.
Rather than siloed departments, everyone in your organization will work towards the same goal. This kind of transformation results in marketers, salespeople, customer service reps, management, and every other customer-facing department working together.
A customer obsession requires a more comprehensive understanding of our buyer’s problems, concerns, worries, and needs than ever before. You will not only have detailed customer insights at your fingertips but also constantly strive to learn more and understand deeper.
In addition, by utilizing advanced sales and marketing automation and analytics platforms such as HubSpot, sales teams are empowered to gain insights into the specific website pages, articles, and videos that prospects engage with before initiating contact with a sales representative.
3. You will have clear, concise, and targeted sales messaging.
One of the big pain points for any sales team is the struggle to be able to clearly and concisely articulate what problems their company, products, or services are solving. We often lead with an us-focused approach, highlighting our features and benefits. But rarely does this resonate with buyers.
Because organizations embracing They Ask, You Answer become obsessed with answering their buyers’ questions and therefore understand their buyers much better, they articulate their value proposition in crystal clear, concise, and targeted sales messaging that resonates with the buyers because it is based around their problems, not your company’s attributes.
4. You will have a documented, standardized, yet flexible sales process.
As part of your They Ask, You Answer journey, you will sit down together as a revenue team (sales, marketing, and management) to clearly define your Ideal Company Profile (ICP) and buyer persona before mapping out your buyers' customer journey.
By understanding your buyers' needs, concerns, and problems, you can create a sales process that is tailored to their unique requirements. The resulting sales process will be standardized and documented, yet flexible enough to adapt to the specific needs of each buyer. This makes onboarding new salespeople easier but also keeps customer experience consistent and sales messaging on target.
5. You will learn how to communicate effectively.
As part of their They Ask, You Answer training, your sales teams will receive formal communication coaching, during which they will learn how to:
- Handle objections without flinching,
- Get ahead of problems before they are brought up by the buyer (awkward),
- Start and end a sales meeting with authority,
- Remain in control of the conversation at any point in time,
- Become genuinely curious about your buyers,
- Lead with questions to uncover the root causes of issues, not just symptoms,
- Raise the stakes around a solution approach,
- Determine what questions to ask and when to ask them,
- And much more.
In addition to learning how to communicate effectively, your team will adopt a mentality of continuous learning and improvement to continue to sharpen their sales communication skills. This will be done in the form of roleplays, call reviews, and watch parties.
6. You will become a trusted advisor.
Because your buyers will know about and already trust your brand, they will look to you as a trusted advisor who will help guide them through the process. As a trusted advisor, you can offer valuable insights, industry expertise, and strategic guidance that go beyond simply selling a product or service. You also create a sense of partnership and collaboration with your buyers.
They see you as a valuable resource who can help them navigate the complex decision-making process. This level of trust and partnership fosters long-term relationships and customer loyalty. By being an authoritative educator, you provide valuable information and empower your buyers to make informed decisions.
Furthermore, being a trusted advisor allows you to build credibility and differentiate yourself from competitors. Your buyers will appreciate the personalized attention and guidance you provide, which sets you apart as a trusted partner in their journey. This level of trust and credibility can lead to increased referrals and recommendations, further expanding your customer base.
7. You will be able to quickly weed out tire kickers and focus more on good-fit buyers.
How many tire kickers do you get per week? The percentage might vary depending on your industry, but regardless of the exact number, we can all agree that they are taking valuable time from your salespeople.
By publishing educational content to answer any questions potential buyers might have (including pricing), bad-fit leads will self-select themselves out of the buying process. For example, if you are selling a high-end modular kit passive house and you thoroughly explain the cost and pricing, potential buyers are able to decide if this is within their budget.
8. You will have a library of written and video content across the entire sales process.
As your organization implements They Ask, You Answer, your marketing team will work closely with you and other subject matter experts within your company to create every blog article, video, website page, and other content piece with one objective in mind: provide what is helpful to the buyer to move through the sales process. In other words, marketing materials suddenly become relevant and invaluable to sales.
- Big 5 articles
- Selling 7 videos
9. Your sales process accelerates as you use assignment selling.
The vast majority of buyers your sales team speaks to will ask the same questions almost at the same time. In fact, the sales teams I trained report that about 80% of the questions are the same for every buyer.
Assignment selling is a tried-and-true process in which you use educational content proactively in the sales process to answer the most common questions (80%) just before they are brought up. As the guide/trusted advisor, you will "assign" the content to your buyers. This can be a buyer's guide, helpful videos, articles, ebooks, whitepapers, and/or case studies.
This way, you free up time in the actual calls to tackle their unique questions by proactively answering the common questions. You also get ahead of common objections, fears, and worries, and create trust.
10. You positively stand out during prospecting.
Cold prospecting is hard. Very hard, in fact. I absolutely despise it because it has a very icky feeling about it. One way I have found to help with that is to use assignment prospecting.
Rather than sending the same cold pitch email and hope something sticks, you focus on the problem this specific person might be experiencing ("most of the [specific buyer persona] I speak to, tell me they have one of these three problems [list very specific problems]") and then you offer a helpful resource, not a pitch or a solution.
It also helps to add a 1:1 video directly to them to increase engagement and response rates as they now connect an actual person to the email.
How Do You Get Started?
They Ask, You Answer is so successful because it transforms your entire business. It isn't just a new marketing strategy or sales tactic you can quickly implement. Aligning your entire company to this philosophy is a lot of work.
I encourage you to create a free IMPACT+ account and take the following courses to educate yourself further:
- Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today's Modern Buyer
- Assignment Selling: Content Is Your Greatest Sales Tool
These courses will equip you with the specific knowledge and insights you need to instantly increase your close rates by embracing the principles of They Ask, You Answer.
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