What’s the use of capturing tribal sales knowledge if no-one can find it to use it and how do you know what to look for if you don’t know the question to ask?

These are good questions and they were asked of me last week by a sales VP at a fast-growing Silion Valley startup.

His problem is that new hire salespeople find their technology difficult to position. He added that there are many new hires in the sales team as a result of a recent “series-B” funding event and that they get quite a few technical questions that they have difficulty answering”. We have invested in product training and in building a great sales Portal, however the questions are often situational in the sales process:

  • What do I do when this happens?
  • How should I handle this configuration issue?
  • Where can I find out about this use-case, who knows about this?

This results in salespeople reverting to SME’s for answers as default behavior, without taking enough time to find answers for themselves.

I explained that part of the problem is behavioral, salespeople will take the path of least resistance. If it’s quicker to pick up the phone or jump on Yammer and ask a question than looking in a portal for an answer, they will.

The other problem is that knowledge management systems applied to capture sales tribal knowledge have been hit and miss. It has to be effortless for anyone to capture knowledge and index it, and it has to be dead-simple to find and use it, or knowledge management systems will not get used.

Creating an environment where people want to share what they know and proactively capturing it is a management challenge in itself.

I have been consulting to WittyParrot and using their new content organization and delivery platform for one year now and recently created a 1-minute video to illustrate how easy it is to capture and share tribal knowledge.