Lack of Knowledge Sharing: One of the Biggest Challenges in Sales

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    How often in the course of a week do you answer the same question? If you work in a sales management position, the answer might be 10 or 15 times. This wasted time illustrates one of the biggest challenges in sales: a lack of centralized information.

    Salespeople tend to encounter a lot of the same questions and challenges from customers. But all too often, a salesperson will get the answer they need from someone else at the company and then go about their day without giving anyone else the benefit of the response. It’s a case of one-to-one communication, over and over.

    Obviously, this isn’t efficient. Research shows that the average sales rep spends 31 percent of their time searching for or creating content to address the needs of prospects and customers. Then there’s the time they spend traveling, doing other administrative tasks, helping with training, and completing performance reviews. In fact, the typical salesperson only spends a third of their day selling.

    With that statistic in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 65 percent of businesses in a SiriusDecisions survey said their sales representatives spend too much time on non-selling activities.

    Where Are Sales Reps Falling Short?

    The time that salespeople do spend selling is often unproductive, mostly because they don’t have the information necessary to be successful. When Forrester talked to executives about the time they spend with salespeople, they found a lot of frustration with the level of preparedness of sales reps.

    • 57 percent said that sales reps weren’t knowledgeable about their industry.
    • 70 percent said the reps weren’t prepared to answer the questions they asked.
    • 75 percent said the reps didn’t come in prepared with knowledge about their business.
    • 77 percent said the reps didn’t understand the issues they faced or how their company’s product could help.
    • 78 percent said the reps didn’t even have any case studies or examples they could share with them.

    Centralizing Knowledge to Overcome Challenges in Sales

    Making sure your sales representatives understand the product they’re selling isn’t enough.

    Mike Kunkle, Commercial Training & Development Leader with a Fortune 50 corporation, emphasizes, “You have to start by really understanding your customers, their issues, your buyer personas, the journeys they’re on, the impacts that they’re avoiding, the outcomes that they’re looking for, and what the best solution is […] for each of those parties or personas.”

    You can’t expect your sales team to achieve that on their own. You have to provide them the resources and knowledge they need to go into those meetings armed with a better understanding of your prospect and what your product can do for them specifically. And the best way to do that is to have one central place where salespeople can always find and use the right resources at the right time.

    A knowledge sharing platform is an efficient way to centralize knowledge for sales teams. Salespeople can use the platform to ask questions and share answers. Those questions and answers will continue to live on the platform so that other salespeople can find them, and so that senior people in the organization don’t end up getting asked the same things over and over again. Salespeople can even collaborate with other departments–for example, Marketing or Research & Development– to make sure that all the collateral and information they need about their company’s products can be found in one place.

    To learn more, check out our white paper, “How a Knowledge Management System Empowers Your Sales Team.” It explores the challenges in sales that employees commonly face, how a social knowledge network can help, and what to look for in a social knowledge network.

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