Sales conversations can go one of two ways...
The first scenario: Your team is prepared to handle any questions, concerns, and objections prospects have. They have everything they need at their fingertips, and are extremely self reliant.
The second scenario: Your team gets caught fumbling around, searching for the right answers, and ultimately ends up losing the prospect’s trust. Answers aren’t accessible, or aren’t accurate anymore. Your prospect goes to a competitor.
You’d prefer the first scenario to happen, right? Of course you would. It’s a no brainer. But that kind of preparedness doesn’t just happen after a short time of training. It comes with years of experience on the job. And when your reps don’t have those years of experience, all you can do is arm them with the best possible resources you can, and give them a system to follow.
Providing knowledge for your sales team isn’t a one-and-done thing, it’s an ongoing process. When your business grows you’ll update your offerings, new pieces of content are created, and tons of conversations take place along the way. Both internally, and externally.
According to Hubspot: “95% of buyers chose a solution provider that Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process, and 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor.”
But how can you expect knowledge experts to keep every piece of content accurate?
You have to deploy a system that proactively does it for them.
They certainly can’t be held responsible for remembering to update content every time it changes, and they can’t possibly stay on top of what content needs to be verified at all times. Your entire team is busy with higher level activities, and the individuals responsible for verifying content need a consistent workflow. It’s no surprise that sometimes updating and verifying content slip through the cracks, especially when it’s not conveniently incorporated into how they already do their job.
Sales acceleration is essentially exactly what it sounds like. It’s the act of speeding up your sales cycle. Personally, I think Ken Krogue hit the nail on the head while explaining sales acceleration in his article for Forbes:
“Sales Acceleration is the conveyor belt that keeps the assembly line moving…It’s the power tools, the specialists, the knowledge workers, and the robotics...It’s about speed...It’s about execution.”
But when your reps are lacking the knowledge they need to close deals, there’s a slim chance that they will move past their first conversation with a prospect. Especially since nearly 57% of B2B prospects and customers feel that their sales teams are not prepared for the first meeting. Ouch.
What that means for your sales team is that a lack of updated information leads to longer sales cycles. For example, while on a call with a prospect your rep is unable to answer a question about how you compare to a competitor’s newly released feature since your competitive battle cards aren’t up-to-date. As a result, your rep is forced to follow-up with an answer via email, resulting in more back and forth as your rep gathers information they need for prospects. And we all know, the longer your deals are, the less likely they will be to close.
Unpreparedness and time wasted determining whether information is accurate lead to lost customers and revenue.
Assign knowledge to the experts on your team (or a group of them) when it is first created
It’s extremely important to establish who is responsible for what piece of content, and instills a sense of ownership. If they don’t know it’s their job to keep a document updated, how can you expect them to do it
Incorporate “push” tactics to proactively remind them to verify content is still accurate
When to to be reminding them about updating content is determined by the nature of the knowledge being captured. If your company releases new versions of their products quarterly, then knowledge about that product should be reviewed quarterly as well, so set up the push tactic around these important moments. The “I forgot” excuse gets eliminated with properly set up push tactics.
Allow them to update content in their workflow
This entire process of creating ownership, and implementing proactive notifications about when content goes stale, has to be easy to fit into. Your knowledge experts already have a workflow, and it’s your responsibility to integrate your new system into it. Not the other way around.
Your solution should become the single source of truth for your organization. A way for your experts to keep the living breathing system full of oxygen.