If you run a business of any size and you lose the key person who was the only one in your organization that held detailed knowledge and skills that was vitally important to you, then you may have huge problems ahead.
That might sound dramatic, but the reality is that every year, thousands of highly experienced employees simply retire, taking their knowledge and secrets with them. Many others leave unexpectedly leaving little opportunity to obtain and transfer knowledge within the business.
It doesn’t have to be that way of course. Preventative steps can be taken.
This knowledge drain can affect any area of business, although certain process led functions such as production if there are clearly documented processes, may be less vulnerable. However, in some companies, where there are specialist roles, particularly in sales and marketing, very often there are no clearly defined practices or written down procedures.
If we focus for a moment on the three areas of sales, marketing, and knowledge management. the link between sales and marketing has long been established. In some companies, the functions are tied together as ‘Sales and Marketing Departments’. Also, job titles such as ‘Sales and Marketing Manager’ are common. The odd one out of the three to many people is perhaps ‘knowledge management’.
It is less common to see Knowledge Management (KM) Departments or specialist job roles for knowledge management professionals. However, within larger organizations, KM is a very important function which looks to manage the huge amounts of information held within a business. A close relative of KM is knowledge transfer, which is how to share the knowledge to those who need it within the business.
A sales related example of knowledge management and knowledge transfer could be where a company has had a high performing representative for many years, who whilst being super successful, is in terms of visibility, somewhat off the radar, or at least off the CRM. Eventually, that salesperson is going to leave and when they do, it may take some time to recover.
One method which has been proven to both prevent both the loss of knowledge and also the successful transfer of knowledge to both new and experienced salespeople is by developing sales playbooks, which capture and share best practice so that everyone in the sales team can be successful.
Sales playbooks can vary from one-page PDF documents to in-depth and highly interactive digital collaborations. They can make it easier for your salespeople to sell, and also, easier for your customers to buy.
For more information on how you can prevent knowledge loss and up-skill your sales team please contact Adrian Hargreaves.