5 Real-Life Sales Scenarios Where You Need Assignment Selling (w/ Templates)

0

For many, assignment selling is a game-changing solution to one of the biggest sales peeves: answering the same customer questions again and again. 

Not only is it monotonous, but it eats up valuable time for both sales rep and buyer. 

That’s why it’s valuable to use assignment selling — that is assign content to your prospects ahead of a sales call — to set yourself up for more productive conversations with better-fit prospects.

Putting content to work for sales

The more educated the prospect, the faster the sales process, and the higher the close rate.

With this in mind, salespeople ask (or assign) prospective clients to read or view specific materials so that they can be prepared for a deeper sales conversation once they actually connect.

At IMPACT, we’re able to do this by leveraging our trove of content to educate our prospects and build trust with them. Assignments may include watching videos, reading articles or website pages, or even taking an assessment. 

But how do you actually do assignment selling? What does “assigning” actually look like? And when should you do it? 

Below, we’ll share five common scenarios where assignment selling can be used and explain how our sales team typically handles them:

  1. Qualifying a lead for fit and commitment
  2. Ensuring prospects are educated
  3. When a prospect doesn’t complete the assignment
  4. Aligning a new client’s team
  5. Assignment selling when sponsoring or exhibiting at an event

Scenario 1: Qualifying a lead for fit and commitment

If you’re anything like IMPACT, there are likely several ways for a visitor to convert into a lead on your website.

This could be filling out a contact form, downloading an offer, or even booking time directly with your sales team.

In the last instance at IMPACT, the next step is a 30-minute conversation to understand two things:

  • How do our service offerings match with the prospect’s needs?
  • How close are they to making a purchasing decision?

However, rather than jumping right into it, we’d use assignment selling prior to our first call to qualify the lead for fit and commitment. 

What does this look like in practice?

Below is an example of an email template we’ll use to prepare prospects for our first call together:

Hi [prospect name],

I’m looking forward to connecting with you. To be sure we use our time effectively, here are a few resources that will help you become more familiar with our agency and our approach so you can determine if we’re the right fit for your organization.

Please take the time to review these before our call.

Here is a link to my calendar. Please book a time that is convenient for you.

Before you even talk, you need to make sure you and your prospect share the same values.

At IMPACT, for instance, our process is unique, and in our email we make it clear we want our prospects to know as much as possible about this before we meet.

A prospect reading the first article may have some concerns bubble up based on how we work with clients. This might lead them to cancel our meeting, but that’s a good thing!

The most precious commodity for businesses and consumers alike is time.

Your sales team’s time is better spent speaking with qualified prospects instead of unqualified ones and your buyer’s time is best spent with vendors that will actually fit their needs or budget. 

However, should you and a prospect align, you can be sure future conversations will be more meaningful.

Notice that we also hold the prospect accountable to committing to the next stage of the sales process by having them book the meeting. A commitment here ensures follow-through later in the sales process.

Scenario 2: Educating prospects

After your first call, you can use assignment selling again.

Before a second call at IMPACT, we send resources that speak directly to the prospect’s situation, which we learned more about in our first call.

This way, if one prospect’s needs are mostly related to website redesign, while another prospect’s needs center around HubSpot workflows, they will each require different content to move them forward.

assignment-selling-examples2

Note, you might notice a theme here: You can use assignment selling to take advantage of the space between conversations, keeping prospects active and engaged.

This is not only a continual test of their commitment, but it allows them to self-educate along the way.

What does this look like in practice?

By this point, you’ve already established fit and need, using the information from your initial call.

Using that insight, you can use a template like the one below to send more need-specific focused content. In this case, it’s HubSpot training:

Hi [prospect name],

It was great speaking with you today!

As promised, below are a few specific resources that will be important for you to read prior to our next conversation.

  • These case studies represent the success other businesses like yours have achieved with IMPACT.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Here, assignment selling helps us to address high-level questions we hear in every call before they’re even asked. With these out of the way, each subsequent call with a prospect can be more efficient and productive.

Scenario 3: The prospect hasn’t completed the ‘assignment’

As you might imagine, there are times when a prospect doesn’t complete the required “assignments” from your sales team. 

When this happens, you have two options:

  • You can choose to move forward with the next sales conversation in hopes that the process will go forward as planned.
  • You can postpone the next sales conversation until the prospect can confirm they’ve completed the assignment.

The first option probably sounds like the natural path a sales rep would take, while the other sounds incredibly counterintuitive to closing more sales.

Saying to a prospect “it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to move forward,” might sound absurd — and to organizations with an inefficient sales process, it is.

However, in almost every instance, we’ve discovered that choosing to postpone maximizes a sales rep’s time and leads to more won opportunities.

What does this look like in practice?

The following is an actual email exchange between a prospect and myself regarding their “assignment” before a call:

Hi [prospect name],

Confirming our 2:45pm EST call today.

This is a reminder to make sure you take the time to review the resources below before we speak. If not, it may make sense to reschedule. I want to ensure we make the best use of our time together.

If you haven’t had time to peruse the above material, here is my calendar to book another time.

Keep me posted!

Prospect’s response:

Hi,

I haven’t even started yet… Very sorry about that! I will reach out once I read through the articles.

[prospect name]

One of the main purposes of assignment selling is to help sales reps spend time with the most qualified, committed, and engaged prospects — the ones most likely to become clients.

If a prospect hasn’t completed the assignment selling homework or taken the time to understand who you are, the conversation stays at a very elementary level. This isn’t the best use of anyone’s time.

By pushing back the call and allowing the prospect to do much thinking, you save both parties an hour’s worth of unproductive conversation.

assignment-selling-3

(It’s also worth noting that the prospect mentioned above did voluntarily book a new time to speak with us after completing the assignments.)

One might think that pushing the meeting would frustrate the prospect, but on the contrary, we’ve come to find that prospects appreciate the dedication.

Scenario 4: Onboarding a client team

Over the years, we’ve found the use cases of assignment selling have extended beyond just the sales process and into the new client onboarding process.

If you’re an agency or you’ve ever worked with one, you’ll know that there’s a lot that needs to be communicated as the relationship gets started. This can include expectations around what’s being done, strategic direction, or outcomes.

For that reason, we use assignment selling as a tool during our onboarding process to align clients, especially teams.

What does this look like in practice?

Below is an example email used to support one of our client’s CEOs in creating internal team alignment around our services within their organization. In it, we help set the stage for the rest of our relationship using both written and video content:

Hi [client name(s)],

Great meeting with you all today! Please watch the 3-minute video recap of our meeting and, if necessary, share with the rest of your team.

Below the video, you’ll see some homework with corresponding links and resources that are referenced in the video.

[INSERT VIDEO RECAP]

Homework:

We’ve got a couple of weeks until we meet again which should be ample time to complete the above homework. Remember that by completing the above, you’ll dramatically improve your internal team’s alignment AND have much more productive conversations with your IMPACT team.

Thanks — and as always, let me know if you have any questions.

Talk soon!

An email like this gives clients a shared doctrine and understanding that can be distributed beyond your point of influence to the rest of the organization, without risk of losing the impact of the original message.

Scenario 5: Event exhibition or sponsorship follow-up

Like many businesses, IMPACT generates new customers from event sponsorships. 

Here’s a simplified version of our typical workflow on the exhibition floor:

  1. A prospect comes to our booth.
  2. They ask us a series of “So what do you do?” questions.
  3. We ask them a series of “needs assessment” questions.
  4. If we’re aligned, we set up a sales appointment via our calendar links right away.
  5. The prospect walks away and we move on to the next conversation.

We saw an opportunity to leverage assignment selling to improve the quality and effectiveness of those post-event follow-up conversations.

What does this look like in practice?

To do this, we inserted a couple of actions between steps four and five above.

Instead of allowing the prospect to leave the booth and hoping that they’d remember they’d be having a conversation with us in a week or so, we’d ask them to do something in the meantime.

Below is an email template we’d then send a few days later in advance of the follow-up sales conversation as a check-in to confirm that they didn’t forget about the meeting or reading.

Hi [prospect name],

Everyone at IMPACT enjoyed meeting you at [event name]!

I recorded a quick 1 minute video for you below.

[insert video]

As you know, we have a meeting scheduled on [meeting date] to continue to talk about They Ask, You Answer and how you can get started with it at [prospect company].

You also received a copy of the book. During our meeting, we’ll discuss how They Ask, You Answer relates to your organization, so please come prepared. If you’re not able to get through the reading, please let me know now so we can find a better time to connect.

Otherwise, I’d encourage anyone else in your organization (especially in leadership, marketing ,or sales) who shares your mindset of becoming the most trusted voice in your industry to also attend our meeting.

Here are a few additional resources to get your team members up to speed quickly:

Kind regards,

In this instance, assignment selling helped us turn an event conversation into a real,  effective sales appointment.

Without it, we risk allowing our sales efforts at the event being wasted on no-shows or prospects who aren’t ready for the buying process.

If we go back to what the sales objective really is, it’s about booking the most qualified sales appointments, not the greatest number.

Assignment selling in action

Assignment selling, when done right, is a crucial tool in educating prospects and strengthening the sales process.

If you can educate our prospects about your company, your track record, and our offering, you can move more quickly through the sales process, knowing certain questions were already effectively answered by content.

In turn, your sales process will be shorter, your leads will be more qualified, and your sales reps will be more productive.

What’s more, your prospects will be able to see how committed you are to your central tenets, and this dedication builds trust and demonstrates transparency.

So, don’t wait! At every stage of the process, have content specifically designed to assist your sales reps. If they find there’s something they need that doesn’t exist, ask your marketing team to produce it. 

For us, assignment selling is a vital part of what we do, benefiting our team members and our prospects as they move along the path to becoming clients. It can be for your team as well.

To get started, check out our free course, “Assignment Selling: Content Is Your Greatest Sales Tool.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *