Some things are best kept to yourself.

Your passwords. Your banking info. Your social insurance or social security number.

What’s decidedly not on that list? The tips and tricks your sales reps use to be more productive and effective sellers.

It’s no secret reps collect information that helps them generate leads and close sales. Lessons learned from experience, suggestions from other reps, advice they find online… it all gets added to their personal playbooks that live on their desktop or personal Google Drive.

But when reps hoard those playbooks to themselves, it prevents others from tapping into valuable insights that could boost their game, too.

The difference a little sharing makes

The most successful sales organizations are more likely to provide their teams with a repository for best practices, actively encourage knowledge transfer between new and established reps, tap into reps’ dark knowledge, and share user-generated (and experience-tested) content.

There’s good reason for that. Sharing helps teams:

  • Overcome learning curves. Reps have a massive amount of information floating around in their heads. New reps starting from scratch have a lot to catch up on. By tapping into those shared playbooks, new hires can hit the ground running with the knowledge from seasoned reps at their side.
  • Hone their skills. No two reps are created equal; but connect someone who’s learning a skill with knowledge from a peer who’s mastered the art, and you can level the playing field for everybody.
  • Try new ideas. How are different reps dealing with the same problems? Flipping through others’ playbooks can help reps find successful tactics to try for themselves – or inspire entirely new methods of overcoming a challenge.
  • Align reps and managers. Ask a rep to name their biggest time-waster and you’ll get one answer. Ask a manager the same question, and you might hear something very different. When reps lay their cards on the table, managers get deep insight into what’s actually happening with their reps.

The best part about sharing those playbooks? All the information is pre-vetted by reps on your team, who understand your product, your business, your clients, and your processes.

Stop hoarding and start sharing

It turns out reps are hungry for tried-and-tested tricks and tips, too. The vast majority of reps – 91% to be exact – say that trading advice with their peers is an integral part of their success, according to a study from Allegro.

So how can you feed those hungry reps? To get the most benefit out of your reps’ playbooks, you’ll need a two-pronged approach to sharing.

First, encourage reps to show their cards in the first place by creating a culture of sharing. That’ll look different for every team, but you might want to try a few popular strategies:

  • Make it a success metric. We already track things like quotas and calls. Why not track sharing alongside your more traditional goals?
  • Introduce a little competition. Tap into that competitive nature and award points or rewards for those who share above and beyond.
  • Talk about it. Whether you take 5-10 minutes during an already-scheduled meeting to discuss wins and challenges or compare notes in a break-out session, get dialogue going – and keep a record of it in a central place for later.
  • Recognize it. If someone is doing a great job of sharing their knowledge with the team, give their efforts some much-deserved attention and praise.
  • Lead by example. Once reps see their managers sharing tips, they’ll feel more inclined to share their own.

Then, give reps a platform that makes sharing – and finding – information from those playbooks fast and easy.

The tools you choose should make that information available to everyone on the team. But you should also consider factors like access, so reps can seamlessly get the information they need whether they’re sitting at their desk or about to walk into a sales meeting, and searchability, so reps can quickly surface what’s relevant to them when they need it the most.

Selling is a team sport. Gone are the days of the lone-wolf salesperson, or the manager-to-rep food chain of knowledge. A successful team now requires successful collaboration between peers, and that means opening the lines of communication and enabling your reps to share best practices with each other.

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