Imagine this scenario. You meet someone involved in sales management. Their current gripe does indeed appear to render them unusually grumpy.
They instituted a kind of wiki. The idea was that the sales people in the field would create and add to the collective knowledge of the team by sharing selling best-practices incorporating assorted competitor, objection, reference and closing nuggets.
Yet, after a promising start, especially given the couple of salespeople that enthusiastically contributed, momentum vanished. Mystifyingly, the tool, and idea, flounder.
Incentives were conjured, satisfyingly outside the normal reward expectations. Pushing and nudging was undertaken by management. Yet nothing changed.
What are you to do?
If you too are familiar with this kind of story, then the main lesson is indisputable. When connection to or position within the everyday workload is neither obvious nor explicit, participatory initiatives are doomed.
Furthermore, if as a manager you can’t get your charges properly filling in their crm, then why would you expect them to post effectively to a wiki?
So, the million-dollar question is, ‘how do you glue sales knowledge management inside the daily fabric of a salesperson’s routine?’
Upon answering this, fortunes will be made – for vendors and users alike.
I’ll quickly point here to a trio of findings I’ve deduced from my decade-long experience of promoting success in this field.
Technology alone is not the answer. Significant investment must be made in utilising support staff and manual analysis to collect, collate and push through vital intel to where it may be (often urgently) required (without, critically, rewarding ‘disengaged’ salespeople).
Current systems prevent rather than enable. The most common excuse I’ve heard (by some distance) as to why knowledge nuggets are neither shared nor sought, is that management demand that so much time is devoted to filling in crm. Clearly, the gap between reality and spin here can be cavernous. Nevertheless, make daily reporting simpler, more effective and seemingly less dictatorial, and a knowledge management opportunity can arise.
Only promote specific endeavours. The vast majority of projects are so desperate to capture anything, that they try to harness everything. Success is always more assured if just one particular topic of knowledge is lasered in on at a time, built upon at a later stage.