In modern companies, there are so many focusing on short-term successes (are we hitting our goals for this month? For this quarter?) that embarking on a more slowly moving initiative may require a leap of faith.
At IMPACT, we preach the Philosophy They ask, you answer , developed by his partner Marcus Sheridan when his pool business was shut down during the Great Recession.
With a bleak future on the horizon, Marcus began to openly and honestly answer all the questions he asked. he had never heard. These responses were posted on his company website, and over time began to attract thousands of visitors to his site.
Today, IMPACT helps companies to do the same: answering customer questions to become an educational resource for their industry. But, as everyone knows, trust doesn't happen overnight.
We share real results of clients showing how farthey came, but they are often a year or two of hard work:
But what about a shorter timeline?
For businesses that are serio If one generally considers embarking on a journey They ask, you answer, there may be some trepidation around this central concern: So when will do I start to see results?
Eric Dunn , a digital sales and marketing coach at IMPACT, has worked with many companies that have actively pursued They Ask, You Answer, and it can offer a vantage point from which you can track progress.
So how quickly can you start seeing results from They ask, you respond? This will not happen overnight, but it can happen quite quickly , if you are willing to do it all.
What does it mean to start with They Ask, You Answer?
In an abstract sense, the journey They ask, you answer begins in the mind of a business owner. According to Eric Dunn, "They ask, you answer begins with a change in mindset, a desire to want to grow up, get better, or do something different.
In many cases, an executive can overhear Marcus speaking at a conference. Or, they can grab a copy of Book They ask, you answer . Even if a business owner is excited about Marcus' message, they may not know exactly where to start. "They know they want to take ownership of their digital sales and marketing, they just don't know how to start.t ”, according to Eric.
They ask, you answer is a philosophy that requires a strategy.
Without a strategic structure in place, one of two things will happen: a business will never really move forward, not knowing exactly where to start or who should take. the initiative. Or two, a single business leader will attempt to go from 0 to 60, accelerating without a clear plan, only to meet resistance and confusion among colleagues, leading to frustration and abandonment.
To find success in They Ask, You Answer, you have to build consensus.
Company wide membership
They ask, you answer works best when the management, marketing and sales of the company are all agree with the initiative.
Eric had a client where only one of the three partners had read They Ask, You Answer and planned to launch it. Thes two other business leaders were unaware of his plans.
In other situations, companies view They Ask, You Answer as a marketing initiative that does not affect sales or other parts of the business.
Here is the truth. They Ask, You Answer is a sales and marketing initiative that flourishes in a state of enterprise-wide consensus. If you found the bug, make sure May other stakeholders in your organization share your vision . Without this shared vision, the initiative will not progress smoothly.
🔎Related reading: How to run a book club They ask, you answer
Getting boots in the field
Your business will need a writer.
One of the fundamental principles of They Ask, You Answer is to take charge of the content production process in-house. To do this, companies must hire a manager of content who can write blog posts, interview subject matter experts, and work with the sales team to turn questions into content.
Hiring a content manager can happen in as little as two weeks. We recommend a maintenance process that involves mock tasks and other requirements, so it may take longer.
Eric has "seen companies that have no longer created a deion job indicating that someone accepts the offer and starts within two weeks.
Once this person is in place, Marcus suggestsask him to start writing immediately:
Soon after your content manager, you should consider hiring a videographer. Producing video content is just as crucial, and creating a "video culture" will put your team at ease in front of the camera.
Once you've gotten the buy-in and hired your content producers, you've reached day one of your journey They Ask, You Answer. Here's what to expect in the coming months.
🔎Associated resource: Deion of the post of content manager for all sectors (ready to use)
They ask, you answer 90 days: best case
At 90 days, look to where you are!
Eric describes the un of his clients who are 90 days away from his trip. Their organic web traffic exploded: "They doubled their keyword growth in each category, and some tripled. " According to Eric, "their commitment to writing and posting quality content, at least three articles per week, is starting to really pay off.
What's been key, Eric says, wasn't just having a content manager on staff, but also in collaboration with IMPACT content coaches on search engine optimization and posting 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 a lignment
The other big changewithin 90 days will be in communication in your sales process. While content managers strategize what is happening on the website, sales managers plan how to use that content with prospects.
Sales managers need to map the buying process, from the first point of contact to the final sale.
According to Eric, your business should aim for "a standardized process that includes these educational content elements at every point of contact with prospects, which will help shorten the sales cycle.
This using "assignment selling" allows your sales team to anticipate every question a prospect will ask - and answer them with content. Not only does this leave fewer questions for the buyer, but it also builds trust with your business.
🔎Associated resource: 5 concrete examples of assignment selling in action
They ask you 180 day response: a better scenario
At six months, your trip “They ask, you answer "should really gain momentum. As Eric says, " the snowball is built, and you are about to start rolling down the mountain.
Succeed They Ask, You Response businesses build a culture of content creation by consistently posting optimized content that both attracts traffic and shortens the sales cycle.
At this point your sales team and your marketing team should work closely together. (Ideally they have combined into one recome .) All stakeholders understand exactly what is written and when, and how it can be used in the sales process once published.
Underpinning all This Momentum are quarterly strategic meetings to plan for the coming months and to ensure that optimization has been performed correctly.
Additionally, your business should be able to use HubSpot at this point. This tool gives you insight into how visitors engage with your content, which can help inform pivotal points and future strategy. IMPACT HubSpot trainers can also help.
At 180 Days, the principles They Ask, You Answer should sound a bit like second nature, and your business culture will have adapted to accommodate this new mindset.
A common shortcut that Eric seesit with clients is a reluctance to hire a content manager. Trying, instead, to have someone already on your team to manage your content production will not be successful. Content management is a full-time job, and if you add it as "one last thing" to someone's list of responsibilities, it won't be done right.
Another common shortcut to avoid is not taking the time to align your sales and marketing teams. While no one is a fan of superfluous meetings, you do need these teams to have common planning time if you want them to work together seamlessly.
Set an hour - maybe half an hour a week, an hour every two weeks, or short daily meetings - that allows for this alignment. Just as trust doesn't just happen overnight, neither are relationships. Put time in the calendarlaugh at everyone to make alignment a reality.
The story of Marcus Sheridan saving his pool business by answering customer questions - and thus creating the They Ask philosophy , you answer - has taken on almost mythical proportions at IMPACT. As with any myth, it is best to dispel any “happily ever after” ending.
They ask, you answer didn't save Marcus' business overnight, and it sure wasn't easy. But today, River Pools has grown into one of the leading domestic manufacturers of swimming pools, and the company is renowned for its high organic traffic.
As you begin your journey They ask, you respond, remember this is a commitment to a new approachhe sales and marketing. With membership and with the right people in the right positions, you can progress quickly - provided you are engaged and empower your team.
In three months you will be on the right track. In six months, these processes will become normal and you will have real momentum. From there, the results can be amazing. Keep moving towards this goal!