Knowledge, Expertise, and Sales Velocity – the Role of Sales 2.0 (Part I)

Talking about “Sales 2.0” brings strange reactions from people. “If we don’t get some of this Sales 2.0 stuff embedded in our sales org quickly, we’re not going to be able to keep up with those (insert expletive of your choice) buyers who seem to know more than we do about our stuff,” ranks equally with “Sales never changes — it’s all about the relationships you develop.” Such varied opinions are valuable and cause some real debate. Even with this spectrum of opinions, however, there are two facts that are not debated.

  1. Things are changing rapidly.
  2. It’s not getting any easier to sell.

Reading today’s commentators, you could be forgiven for thinking that making your sales number is going to be really hard this year. So, why does your boss think you can possibly make your number? Well the fact is that whether (s)he thinks you can or not, and whether you’re a bag-carrying rep, or sales leader of a global sales team, that’s why you’re getting paid the big bucks. It’s your job to figure out how to react against this ‘interesting’ landscape…and your commission depends on it.

Naturally, there is no simple, easy solution. That said, if you take the time to understand Knowledge, expertise, organizational velocity, and work rate , you can truly impact your sales effectiveness —  what I call your sales velocity.

Knowledge relates to what you know about:

  1. Your customer
  2. Their business problem
  3. How your product can be applied to solve that problem (which requires product knowledge)
  4. Your competitive differentiation (which implies knowledge about your competitors)

Skill pertains to how efficiently you can apply this knowledge to your sales efforts.

Organizational velocity concerns the level at which your company can disseminate knowledge, enhance (selling and other) expertise and respond to needs of the sales team, and work rate – well, that’s up to you.

Sales 2.0 can help with Knowledge, Expertise and Velocity.

Knowledge: Would it help to have anywhere, anytime access to the accumulated knowledge of everyone in your company as it pertains to the specific sales challenge your facing…just when you need it? Collaboration engines, knowledge management frameworks, company sales portals, blogs, are now being used by leading organizations to provide just-in-time, just-enough information to sales (and other functions).

Collaboration — one of the core elements or Sales 2.0 — is a powerful catalyst for knowledge dissemination. (To get a greater understanding of collaboration in general, read Wikinomics, look at a great new micro-lender Kiva [and if you’re so inclined, support their efforts], visit Witness – a human rights portal, [full disclosure: Altify supports Witness]).

In the next part of this series, we’ll go into expertise, and how sales professionals can acquire real, sustained expertise in their field.

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