The individual contributors on your team are your in-the-field experts who know the ins and outs of their work. Inside their heads, there’s an incredible (and often untapped) wealth of knowledge just waiting to be mined and shared.
So it might seem obvious to say that your individual contributors are the primary users of your knowledge sharing strategy. And it might seem like their role in this strategy is obvious, too: of course, they’re the ones who do the bulk of your sharing and learning.
We know hoarding knowledge hurts teams. Whether it’s a “knowledge-is-power” attitude or a lack of time, keeping knowledge bottled up costs real dollars and cents.
We know teams that collaborate both within and without see better results. About 95 percent of high-performing sales teams reported collaborating to pursue large deals. Of the remaining participants, that number was more like 57 percent. That’s a big difference.
So rather than talking about the functional details about how individual contributors can share their knowledge, we’re going to focus on how you can put your reps at the centre of your knowledge sharing strategy.
What’s in it for them?
Why should reps want to share in the first place? No surprises here – they stand to gain a lot. But your strategy needs to be built around those gains so it tangibly and measurably makes their jobs easier.
Keep these benefits front-and-centre:
- Sharing knowledge helps reps get more done during a busy day. Chances are, they already spend a huge chunk of time looking for information (or creating content themselves). Think of the time they’d save if they knew where to find their answers, every time.
- It also helps reps solve difficult problems. Either someone else has come across the same obstacle before and can lend some sage advice, or they can tap into new perspectives that’ll help them approach hurdles with a new, creative approach.
- The availability of knowledge directly impacts sales performance. Everyone has quotas to fill, whether they’re individual or team-wide. Pooling resources helps everyone better engage prospects and close more sales.
What knowledge do they need?
Firehosing your team with anything and everything won’t get you very far. The kind and quality of information you share should line up with their on-the-job goals. The good news: chances are, this knowledge is already floating around in the content you’ve created. You just need to harvest it.
So what do reps actually need?
- Facts: Reps need to understand the products and services they sell, the people they’re selling to, what the competition’s doing, your processes, common objections, where you fall behind and come out ahead – basically, the integral pieces of your sales puzzle.
- Skills: They also need to know how to put that puzzle together. How should they approach prospecting? How do they build rapport? How should they listen and communicate? These are the things that make a salesperson a salesperson.
- Experience: Think of this as facts and skills in practice. What happened when someone tried that new sales approach? How did a prospect react to that customer story? Knowing what happened in the past helps predict – and improve – what’s yet to come.
What systems will help?
Reps are too busy to juggle 11 different windows on their desktop (if they’re even at their computer) or struggle with poorly-built apps on their mobile devices. That’s why a rep-focused knowledge management strategy focuses on access as much as content.
Whatever solution or platform you adopt, it should:
- Be there for them, anywhere and anytime. Whether they’re dropping in on-site to pitch your product, overcoming objections while eating lunch or simply focused at their desk, providing a solution with seamless desktop-to-mobile access means they can find answers regardless of where they are or what they’re doing.
- Focus on finding. Here’s the dream: reps find the information they’re looking for on their first search. That’s why a strong search (and an understanding of SEO) needs to be a top consideration when weighing options.
- Play nice with other apps. Integration is the name of the game – between your CRM, your prospecting tools, your playbooks and more, reps should have access to all the information they need through one place.
Teamwork makes the dream work
You won’t be able to report on the glowing success of your knowledge sharing plans without the help of your employees. That’s why they need to be at the centre of your strategy. Not only do they get the support they need, but they also help you reach your goals together and secure continued support from the top. It all starts here.