You’re a member of a sales team, and the prospective customer you’ve been talking to has a question about your product.
It’s a question you don’t get often, and you know someone in your organization has this information, but you aren’t sure who. You check your email, the FAQs on your company’s website, and ask around, but you’re not getting the information you need, and you want to get back to the customer quickly.
Sound familiar? The delay could have been avoided if your organization was using a knowledge enablement tool.
What is knowledge enablement?
Knowledge enablement, also called knowledge management, is a discipline that began in academia. Over the last few decades, however, the concept has since spread to organizations of all kinds.
At its core, knowledge management is the practice of making sure important information is available to an organization. According to researchers in the field, it is “the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization.” A key piece of knowledge management is getting the right information to the right individual when it’s needed. It’s also about being able to find and tap institutional knowledge, and sharing that knowledge.
Knowledge enablement is also a form of sales enablement, in that it makes it easier for your sales team to know the information they need in order to do their job better.
What are the types of knowledge?
Knowledge management classifies knowledge into three groups:
- Explicit: Explicit knowledge is the sort of knowledge that most often gets written down, like product information or statistics. You can find this information in files, emails, or spreadsheets.
- Implicit: Implicit knowledge gained through doing activities. It can be thought of as the application of explicit knowledge. You may read about something and then do it, gaining implicit knowledge.
- Tacit: Tacit information is more intuitive, and is usually learned through experience. For example, a senior sales rep intuitively knows when to ask for the sale.
All three types of knowledge are important to an organization, but the easiest to codify and share is explicit knowledge.
How can knowledge enablement help your sales team?
Knowledge sharing is always a good thing, and the ability to do so strengthens your sales team in many ways. Knowledge management can keep institutional knowledge from leaving the team when people move to new jobs, help answer questions quickly, and provide information to customers.
Below are just a few use cases for knowledge enablement within your sales team.
- Breaking down silos: You know that one department that hangs onto internal information? That’s a data silo. Silos happen when every department is operating as its own little world; one person or department has knowledge that no one else shares. If someone else needs that information, they need to find the person who controls it and ask for it. A knowledge enablement strategy and a central knowledge database can break down those silos, making information available to everyone.
- Getting new reps up to speed quickly: We all wish new sales representatives could hit the ground running, but that’s rarely the case. According to research, it takes the average salesperson three months before they ramp up to hitting their revenue targets, and in some sectors, it can take as long as six months before reps get up to speed. Knowledge management can help with onboarding new reps by making sure they have all the knowledge they need at their fingertips whenever they need it.
- Automated knowledge: FAQs are great, but sometimes clients need information they can’t find online. What if your knowledge base was integrated with a bot or another platform that automatically delivered answers when your customers asked for them? By automating your knowledge management, you can deliver information to your clients right when they need it without taking reps away from work.
Interested in learning more? Find out how Ombud can help you compile a central library of all of your organization’s most important sales knowledge. Request your demo here.