Knowledge management was pioneered in the 1950, however, it’s become a common concept in organizations that thrive on data, and these days, every company — no matter what it produces — is a data company.
What is knowledge management?
Knowledge management is the practice of making sure important information is available to an organization, specifically it’s about getting the right information to the right individual exactly when it’s needed. This is a form of sales enablement, because getting the right information to reps when they need it makes their jobs easier.
For example, knowledge management puts marketing copy, product information, customer information, buyer personas, and other information in a searchable database that’s available to salespeople and everyone who has contact with the customer.
Why use knowledge management in sales?
Knowledge management, or knowledge enablement, allows your sales team to improve its performance in several key ways:
- Find information quickly: There is nothing worse than not being able to find a file you need when you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone. It’s even worse if you’re a representative in the middle of a customer interaction. Customers value their experience with reps highly, and according to SalesForce, expect reps to act as trusted advisors who know their product well. Part of being an expert is getting relevant information quickly and easily when communicating with buyers. According to LinkedIn, sales reps who reach out with irrelevant information put off buyers; 68% of customers say they’re unlikely to work with a salesperson who contacts them with information that doesn’t apply to their needs. Knowledge management strategies and tools help keep relevant information at sales reps’ fingertips.
- Get departments on the same page: Customers expect everyone in your company to have the same information; they don’t want to have to tell their story or give their personal information to everyone they speak to in sales, customer service, or at the help desk. According to Salesforce, 83% of customers say they're more loyal to companies that provide consistency across departments. This expectation leaves little room for siloed information. Knowledge management breaks down the walls between departments and makes sure everyone is on the same page.
- Keep marketing and sales aligned: Sales and marketing have the same goals, and should be working together closely, yet often the two departments are misaligned. One oft-quoted statistic states that sales uses less than half of the content generated by marketing. Various reasons are cited for this, but chief among them is that the buyers don’t need the information generated by marketing. A knowledge management system can put all that content in one place, allowing sales to see and comment on the content, and work with marketing to generate the content reps need to make sales.
- Keep information in the organization: What happens in your organization when a key employee leaves? Does all their institutional knowledge leave with them? Knowledge management can help you document what they know so that your team will still have their information when that co-worker has left for their next job.
- Capture insights from customers: Nearly every customer interaction yields new insights and information about your products or service, but how often are those insights noted down? Even if your team is capturing that data, are they able to easily share that information with the rest of the team? Knowledge management tools make it easy for reps to store, tag and share those notes with everyone in the organization so that valuable insights aren’t forgotten.
Customers expect your sales team to act more like consultants than traditional salespeople. They should know the customer, know the customer’s problems, and know everything about the solution they’re selling. It’s a lot for a salesperson to remember, especially for new reps. By using knowledge management tools, like Ombud’s content library, your team can make sure that information is easily available and searchable for all reps.
Interested in learning more? Find out how Ombud can help you build a central database of your organization’s most important information. Request a demo here.