Ever since reading a couple of days ago about ‘sales knowledge management’ being a key issue for sales team leaders (the foot of this post), I’ve noted a couple of entertaining happenings about the drive to get best-practices spread across sales teams.
At one label-printing outfit, they’re so used to sales guys not selling new stuff all that quickly, that they introduced a team full of marketers to constantly spread the word. They called this their “Plus” team. It all sounded like a step in the right direction, until I delved deeper, and the concept was indistinguishable from any normal marketing department remit, so yet again it was an example of a well-intentioned sales initiative that got hijacked by marketing ambitions….
And then there is a huge European paper and packaging distributor that have split their sales team up into three sectors. One is aimed at automotive needs. They’ve a whole bunch of new products that again, are new to the sales people and they decided to employ one euro-wide specialist to disseminate the valuable learnings as they occur. The thing is though, that he’s being seen as nothing more than a ‘busy fool’, with precious little to show for twelve months of expensive efforts….
So, two different approaches, neither delivering. Two immediate pitfalls present themselves; firstly, there’s a lack of mandating the sales people to engage with the acquired best-practice, and secondly, the way the intel is spread is one-to-one, in isolation, rather than becoming part of the fabric of the sales person routine.