You probably know or can put your hands on metrics for a lot of aspects of your sales organization. For instance, you know how much your salespeople need to sell in order to meet your revenue goals.
You may know the average lifetime value of a new customer, the average performance of each salesperson, and the percent likelihood that a sale will close based on a variety of factors.
But do you know how much your organizational knowledge is worth?
If you don’t know the answer to that, the odds are high that it’s more than you think–and you’re probably throwing it away faster than you realize.
Here are four ways you’re throwing away organizational knowledge, how to estimate its value, and how to stop doing it.
Do you have one or more salespeople who outperform their peers consistently and by a long shot? What is the annual gap between those top performers and your average performer?
That number is the annual value of the knowledge locked inside each one’s head.
Despite what many people think, selling isn’t magic. It’s a combination of art and science, an alchemy of process and methodology and skills and enablement, coaching, and teamwork that combine to induce quality prospects to become quality customers.
The people who are excelling at this alchemy aren’t just flashing charismatic smiles and waving a magic wand. They’re doing things differently than your average performers. If you know what those things are, you can help your average performers close the gap–and make more money.
Every sales project has the potential to yield valuable information about what works and what doesn’t in specific sales conditions. You could be capturing that information and using it to improve future performance for everyone on your team, but it’s a rare organization that does this consistently or well.
How many more sales would you win if every time you lost a sale you learned everything there was to learn from it–and so did everyone on your team, including those who weren’t even working on that sale? That’s the value of this lost knowledge.
Many organizations do perform regular win/loss analysis, but very few get as much out of it as they could. Is your analysis systematic? Does it evaluate every stage, milestone, and step of the process? And, most importantly, are you able to take what you learn from each analysis and use it to improve your overall process, methodology, and the skills of their team on an ongoing basis? If not, then you have yet to unlock the full treasure box that is available to you.
If they’re regularly coaching your team (and they should be), your managers have a lot of information (and hopefully insights) into what is working for your best salespeople, as well as what’s not working for your lagging performers.
They may be using this information to help the salespeople who directly report to them, but is that information being shared among them? Is it being utilized consistently to ensure every salesperson gets the benefit of this higher-level view in a way that they can apply in their day to day jobs?
The value of this knowledge is almost impossible to pin down, but easy to imagine. If every sales team in your organization had the benefit of an analytic understanding of what would improve their performance the most, wouldn’t everyone improve faster and sell more?
This fourth point follows from the previous three: Every time a member of your sales team leaves your organization, you lose not only them but also every scrap of knowledge they acquired while working for you that you didn’t capture before they left.
It’s impossible to quantify this loss because you simply don’t know what they know, but you can be assured that it’s a big part of the cost of turnover.
The good news is that the key to retaining and using all this valuable, juicy organizational knowledge is the same as the key to improving sales performance in other ways:
A customer-aligned, milestone-based sales process with a well-aligned strategy, methodology, and enablement, all within the salesperson’s daily workflow.
In other words, first, define what salespeople should be doing, with whom, and when. Guide them through your process within their CRM, so that they never wonder what they should be doing next. Make it easy, beautiful, intuitive, and valuable to them so that they actually use it and record the information you need as a team.
Link it to powerful analytics that allows you to easily gain insights into what’s working and what’s not based on actual conditions within your organization and your market.
Use those insights to update your strategy, process, methodology, skills training, and enablement structure. Coach to the process and the correct skills and approaches.
Do these things, and instead of sending organizational knowledge out the door at the end of the day, you’ll be retaining it and using it to power up your entire sales force.
Want to know more? Keep your eyes open for my upcoming book, Stop Killing Deals. In it, I’ll reveal the one bad assumption that always leads to lost organizational knowledge and the many ways that this bad assumption kills deals in your organization.
Finally, you won’t be surprised to hear that I believe Membrain is the ideal tool for retaining organizational knowledge and making it actionable. Contact us for a demonstration.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn