Become A Sales Assassin with Assignment Selling
Closing sales can be difficult. Timing your request perfectly, following up and applying the correct amount of pressure without coming off as too pushy are all hard skills to master. Even best-in-class businesses globally only close 30% of qualified leads (while average businesses close 20%). South African salespeople specifically, have been ranked at the top of conversion rates globally with an average of 21.5%.
In many cases, salespeople are wasting their time with leads that are not ready, able, or truly interested in converting (also known as unqualified leads). Appropriately, a 2020 survey found that 46% of B2B sales reps listed “lead quality” as one of their top challenges. The process of qualifying these leads is often time-consuming. When these leads are of poor quality, this exercise also siphons precious time away from high quality leads that become less and less likely to convert the longer they are neglected.
A new and innovative sales strategy known as “Assignment Selling” reduces the time required for prospecting and increases sales conversions by making use of your existing content creation and digital marketing.
What is Assignment Selling?
Assignment selling is a sales technique whereby educational content (often sourced from digital marketing efforts and blogs) about your products and services is used to address concerns and answer common questions from prospects to assist in qualifying them and preparing them for the sales process.
Where did Assignment Selling Come From?
The concept has been around in sales for some time but was first properly documented in Marcus Sheridan’s digital marketing and sales book, “They Ask, You Answer”. The concept of assignment selling came to Marcus during his sales and digital marketing activities for his pool company. Due to writing a plethora of good quality content, his site was receiving large amounts of traffic and was generating a reasonable number of leads, but his sales conversion rate remained low. When he analysed his metrics, he noticed that individuals who had viewed very few of his website pages had a sales conversion rate of around 25% where those that had viewed an average of 30 pages on his website had a conversion rate of 80%.
This supported his observation that prospects who were ignorant of the process and costs involved in purchasing a pool were less likely to be converted into sales than prospects who had done their own research into these aspects before the sales call.
How to Implement Assignment Selling
In order to make use of this great sales technique, you will first and foremost need content. More specifically, you will need the right content that will educate your prospects. To do this follow these steps:
- Make a list of your products and services – make it as detailed as possible and remember to include all features, costs, descriptions, uses and requirements.
- Request that your sales team creates a list of commonly asked questions that they receive from prospects often.
- Combine the previous 2 points to create educational articles that assist the prospects in understanding your products/services, the sales process and ultimately assist them to make an informed purchasing decision.
- Ensure that your content is educational rather than promotional. In order for assignment selling to be successful, your content needs to be helpful, relevant, and honest. If you push certain products/services based on their price (and your profit) rather than their merits, prospects will easily pick up on this. Not only will it drive them away, but this will make you appear dishonest and unethical.
- Create a repository of information that is available not only to your prospects online, but to your sales team. Make this repository easy to navigate and preferably have a search or filter function so your salespeople can call up information in a matter of seconds.
- Insist that your prospects educate themselves. If they refuse, don’t be afraid to lose some of the prospects. This is another way of qualifying your leads as prospects who don’t want to educate themselves are likely not willing or ready to convert to a sale and will likely have dropped out of the sales funnel at a later point anyway. Recent data by Hubspot showed that 60% of prospects want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, after they’ve researched the options and come up with a short list. Assignment sales puts them into this stage or helps to eliminate them as a prospect if they are not ready to be in this stage yet. You will see a drop in leads but an increase in sales conversion which is exactly what you want.
If you have trouble creating educational, relevant content for your prospects and salespeople, contact us to discuss your needs. We can assist with the creation of a full content creation strategy and its successful implementation. Black Snow specialises in content that is not only framed to interest and educate the reader but to assist your website to rank highly on Google using up-to-date SEO principles.
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