Today’s post is by Mark Hammer (@markmhammer), chief operating officer at Bloomfire. He has over two decades of product, management, and strategy experience at software, education, and energy companies. He has held senior management roles at SmartBear Software, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, CompassLearning, Green Mountain Energy Company, and Sagebrush Corporation, among others.
Your sales leaders and sales A-players are asked the same questions, over and over. This isn’t just a waste of time. If your sales reps lack the information – and the ability even to access critical information – it impacts every aspect of the sales process. This experience indicates that informational silos in your organization are blocking knowledge living in the heads of your tenured sales reps from flowing freely across the organization. This lack of collaboration may be costing you hours, or even days, of productivity each week.
Signs of informational silos reveal themselves in the functionality of your sales team. Your sales representatives require information produced and held within all departments at the drop of a hat. Sales representatives are often the first impression prospects have of your organization, and you want that impression to be as positive as possible.
If your sales team experiences the following productivity-killing symptoms, you are most likely suffering from informational silos.
Too Much Time Spent on Repetitive Questions
Sales reps spend an average of 20 percent of their time searching for company information – often from the people who keep that information in their heads. That’s a lot of time spent not talking to prospects. So why is it that reps spend so much time looking for information that already exists?
Informational silos not only exist between departments; they exist between members of the same team. In this case, sales reps’ questions are answered verbally or via email – methods of communication that prevent others from learning the answer or even knowing the question. Although multiple members of your team are likely experiencing the same confusion, the only way for them to solve the problem is to ask…again.
A knowledge sharing solution with a Q&A feature means that, once a question is answered, that information is accessible to every member of the team. Then, the time spent asking and answering repetitive questions can be spent training sales reps, making calls, and closing deals.
The Wrong Content Gets Created
You probably have a set of commonly asked questions from your prospects. But what happens when commonly asked questions never leave the sales team to reach the departments responsible for producing the content reps need to close the deal – like marketing? You never close the loop.
By improving the flow of information across departments, the teams responsible for creating content can ensure the content that is produced is what sales reps really need.
Reps Aren’t Keeping Up with Product Releases
This symptom is a direct result of a lack of internal communication across departments. When sales reps are disconnected from the rest of the organization, the result is outdated or limited product knowledge, a lack of resources necessary to answer the questions of customers and prospects, and an inability to access the information they need, when they need it.
By implementing knowledge sharing software that fosters ongoing formal collaboration between sales and CS, marketing, IT, and development, teams within your organization can work to empower each other with the information they need.
Putting It All Together
Recognizing that your team experiences these symptoms and that they negatively impact your performance is the first step to breaking down silos and opening communication within your organization. With the right tools, your sales team will overcome silos, improve collaboration, and increase productivity in no time.