Capture Institutional Knowledge on Video to Strengthen Your Sales Force
This article originally appeared on Forbes.
Between layoffs, the “Great Resignation,” and a generation of workers reaching retirement age, businesses risk losing a wealth of institutional knowledge. In the sales world, the customer insight and product knowledge that representatives possess offer valuable information sources to enhance sales enablement programs and prepare new reps for the job at hand.
Addressing the looming knowledge shortfall requires a proactive approach that bakes the preservation of knowledge into daily workflows.
2 Reasons Why You Need a Knowledge Bank
In the race to retain institutional knowledge, companies and their sales teams are up against two major forces: more experienced employees retiring and a more mobile workforce apt to switch jobs quickly.
1. The Retiring Workforce
Coming out of the pandemic, the United States is experiencing a worker shortage. About 2 million “missing workers” in that shortage can be attributed to older generations retiring earlier than expected. This affects not only worker availability but also the knowledge available to an organization’s employees. Retirees take 20, 30, or more years of experience with them. Their know-how, especially regarding product and customer insights, is incredibly difficult to duplicate.
Your veteran reps are deep sources of sales wisdom and, more than likely, your top performers. They understand the core of the problems you’re solving for your buyers and bring those insights to their calls and deals. It’s what makes them shine. Without a method to retain veteran reps’ knowledge and experience, newer hires must start from scratch. It takes longer for them to be productive and costs more overall in training, development, and support.
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2. Job Switching
Millions of people change jobs every year for many reasons. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that people change jobs 12 times from ages 18 to 52. But job switching is especially prevalent among the younger workforces. A considerable number of millennial and Gen-Z workers will likely leave roles this year. So, it’s imperative to get these younger workers up to speed and productive as soon as possible.
Fortunately, these generations are also eager to learn and want to engage with their employers. Deloitte’s most recent Global Gen-Z and Millennial survey found that these workers rank “learning and development opportunities” and “opportunities to progress/grow in my career” as top reasons for joining a company. Places that help their sales reps learn and grow can build loyalty while molding more effective salespeople.
Institutional knowledge is an asset leaders need in order to quickly upskill a more mobile workforce. Companies should leverage their best people now before they force a greener team to catch up.
How to Preserve Institutional Sales Knowledge
Facing the ticking clock of institutional knowledge loss can be paralyzing. How do you accurately and usefully capture your brightest stars’ knowledge and insight? Here are four strategies.
1. Gather the relevant knowledge in video format.
You can record institutional knowledge in many ways, and one of the most effective methods is short-form video. This format allows veterans to quickly share and even demonstrate best practices.
Start by covering these topics:
- High-performing rep talk tracks and best practices.
- Product knowledge and technical requirements.
- Customer win/loss stories, objection handling, common problems, and solutions.
- Evolving market demands and expectations.
- Changing compliance requirements.
As you gather this content, determine what may be missing by checking in with contributors, peers, and subject matter experts.
2. Preserve the knowledge-sharing videos in an accessible database.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary knowledge content, you need to categorize them and make them easy to find and use. Gathering videos in a central location and indexing them allows reps to search by topic and have just-in-time knowledge at their fingertips. There could be some startup costs involved in creating the repository, but it’s a more cost- and time-effective option than paying for training over and over again.
3. Encourage newer employees to engage with this content.
Incorporate the recorded video content into your new hire onboarding process. Videos of veteran representatives demonstrating best practices are a highly effective peer-to-peer training method. New employees can see and hear what “good” is and can replicate those practices as they begin selling.
Retention requires repeated exposure, however. So as newer reps get situated in their roles, encourage them to revisit this content regularly. They should quickly realize the value of engaging as they improve their metrics, such as closing more deals and more successfully handling objections.
4. Assess and refresh content regularly.
It’s important to remember that you won’t capture everything on your first pass, especially because insights adjust as markets change. Set a regular cadence for reviewing your asset database and keying in on knowledge gaps you can tap your veterans to fill. Listen to your newer sales reps as they conduct their calls. Where could they use more polish? You can then task your top performers with producing more videos tailored to those specific challenge points.
Companies can’t afford to lose their institutional knowledge. Fortunately, capturing it and putting it to work is an easy process. Short-form video, incorporated into both onboarding and daily practice, can help you upskill new reps to maximize their productivity while allowing your veteran reps to leave a lasting mark of success.
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