Information and knowledge is easy to lose in the day-to-day shuffle during standard business operations. Sometimes your top sales performers even take important information with them when they leave.
This can leave the rest of your sales team feeling lost as they struggle to search for knowledge or information, which slows down productivity and efficiency.
Knowledge management is the best way to minimize administrative tasks, such as finding, editing, and managing sales content.
Let's dive into the basics of knowledge management, why you need a knowledge management system, and some helpful tips for capturing and managing sales knowledge.
What Is Sales Knowledge Management?
Knowledge management (KM) describes the activities, solutions, and knowledge that are documented, retained, stored, and shared across a sales department or organization.
Essentially, sales knowledge management is the process of keeping sales knowledge in a central place where it can be easily found and distributed.
The storage place for sales knowledge management is typically called a knowledge management solution or system. Some well-known KM solutions include:
- Content management systems
- Knowledge base systems
- Artificial intelligence tools
- Data warehousing
- Electronic document management systems
- Decision support systems
Sales knowledge management has a host of benefits for your sales and marketing teams to take advantage of.
Why You Need Knowledge Management Systems for Sales
Here are some of the benefits of using a knowledge management system (KMS) for your sales department:
They Provide Customized Training.
Knowledge base systems track things like:
- The most frequently accessed content.
- The most frequently asked questions from customers and salespeople.
- The types of activities performed by salespeople that receive the best results.
This helps provide customized training for each salesperson because sales managers can gain insights into what they still need to learn. For example, they can see at a high level what their team has plenty of information on and what areas need more educational content.
They can then create trainings that center around the data they analyze from the KMS. This often results in a much more effective training strategy.
They Make Collaborating Simple.
Marketing and sales need to work together to positively impact your bottom line. A KMS is a good way to do this.
Marketing creates the content and provides their insight into common customer questions and pain points. Sales accesses that content and passes along the knowledge to prospects.
Content that can’t be found or distributed easily serves no purpose for sales. A KMS that holds all of your content makes the collaboration between marketing and sales possible.
They Help Get Your Team Members on the Same Page.
Ever had salespeople who seemed like they were on two different planets? Aligning your team for consistency and efficiency is essential to their success and the customers’ satisfaction.
After all, you don’t want your prospects being told conflicting things by your team members.
A central content repository alleviates that problem. Everyone on your team should know where to go to access important information that helps them to close sales.
KMSs make it easy for salespeople to stay up to date on processes, content, and offers. It also allows them to use the stored notes and documents as a reference so they can answer prospect questions without guessing, needing to call them back at a later time, or putting them on hold.
They Increase Your Team’s Productivity.
Searching for knowledge takes time. Your salespeople likely have more important matters to attend to, rather than searching for answers in lengthy handbooks, Google Docs, or on the web.
They Encourage a Culture of Knowledge Sharing.
Good knowledge management systems allow you to share information seamlessly across departments. This makes it easy for team leaders to encourage brainstorming, innovation, and solving common problems using collective experience and wisdom.
They Can Reduce Training Time and Cost.
Training a new employee is time consuming and can pull your top performers away from their daily activities. Having a KMS in place gives you an immediate resource for your new trainees to review and learn.
Many KMSs allow you to compile resources for specific situations. This way, you can have a section dedicated to new employees so you can ensure they are engaging with the most relevant content and information related to their positions and your company.
You can also add in pre-recorded training videos for them to watch, in most cases.
They Act as Safe and Reliable Storage Spaces for Important Files.
Your important information should be protected, which means they need to be placed somewhere with security so hackers or human error don’t cost you.
KMS systems have protection for your documents and important collateral so your secret company information is safe.
They Make Studying Data to Gain Insights Easy.
Saving past reports to a KMS helps you see the historical proof of your campaigns and efforts. Most often, your data comes from several different platforms, and to find out the relationship between two or more reports requires extra digging and research.
Properly labeled reports in a KMS help you to analyze data in one place so you can clearly see what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong.
How to Capture and Manage Sales Knowledge
Here are seven ways you can successfully capture and manage sales knowledge for your organization.
1. Find the Right Software.
Using tools that are designed to help you build a knowledge management system can help you to save time and resources building your own.
Some of the best tools and software you can choose from include:
- Shelf: This system uses advanced AI to document high amounts of data and to retrieve documents quickly. You also get access to analytics and reporting to ensure all of your collateral is organized well.
- Slab: This tool is used for long-term knowledge management. It allows users to create their own wiki system that displays your data in creative ways.
- Evernote: This knowledge management system makes it easy for you to organize and find all of your sales materials.
- Rstudio: Rstudio is an engaging and organized KMS that invites collaboration and knowledge sharing. On this platform, you can post and answer questions for people in your organization.
2. Label Content.
Your knowledge management system needs tags, titles, and descriptions for every digital asset. Filtering capabilities in your KMS helps users to get a more accurate search, which makes it easy for your sales team members to find exactly what they are looking for.
3. Record Everything.
Sharing knowledge is a good starting point, but it’s not enough. You need to record it. Record training sessions, emails, webinars, and other important sales related activities.
This way you can develop them and share them with the whole team and new team members.
One workshop or training is not enough for most people to retain information. Recording your knowledge sharing allows sales reps and team members to refer to it later.
4. Document Your Sales Process.
Document your sales process in its entirety. Telling your sales team members what they should be doing each step of the way likely won’t stick to their memories.
Write it down and include important details that you don’t want them to miss. This way, if they ever feel lost or unsure about what they are supposed to do during a sale, they can refer to this piece of collateral.
5. Make Sure Distributed Sales Knowledge Is Trackable.
You will probably have to use a tool that provides you with a trackable URL for your sales content and collateral. With a trackable URL, you can see who your collateral has been sent to and if they’ve opened it.
This can help you see which pieces of content are used most often and which ones aren’t. You can also see which team members are taking advantage of the sales knowledge most often.
6. Identify Gaps in Knowledge.
Check your CRM reports to see which areas your sales team struggles with the most. Check the search history in your own knowledge base to see the information they are looking for but not finding.
Create sales knowledge content that bridges these gaps.
7. Create and Distribute Sales Battlecards.
Sales battlecards are snackable reference cards that measure up your business to your competition. It allows sales reps to easily answer questions and overcome objections that may be raised by prospects.
Create battlecards using a template for a variety of categories, and add them to your central content repository for easy access.
Your reps will be able to use these cards on phone calls or during meetings to quickly address concerns.
Start assessing your sales process to see where your sales team struggles, so you can identify the knowledge content they need access to.
Knowledge management solutions can be easily implemented into your sales process so you can start reaping the benefits right away. Keep your knowledge central so you can ensure that your sales team is not spending their time on unnecessary administrative tasks.