Customers don’t want it unless it is in context to their situation. Sales professionals don’t want to spend their time learning volumes of information they are never going to use. Vendor representatives and Sales Managers don’t want to build the training materials or dedicate time to conducting the training, and no one wants to pay for it, citing cost or the money wasted when a trained sales professional leaves the company.
So how could we make the transfer of product knowledge better for everyone involved?
What if we changed the way we train new sales professionals? Teaching them about the industries and customers our products serve. Teaching them the most common issues our products and services fix and teaching them the specific questions to ask to uncover prospect problems and questions to ask that point to a feature or competitive advantage for our product.
We could teach some product basics, but no hard core product knowledge.
What if we built product knowledge into an application accessibly via laptop, the web, or mobile phone that had all the data aligned by questions we train on and sorted/searchable by keyword, question, problem, solution, specific question, industry or application?
Pay once for building the application and maybe for loading updates, instead of paying to load every new sales professional and subsequently reload every sales persons head with knowledge with every model transition and new product rollout.
The sales professional still learns the product information but learns it dynamically, as he is asked for it. Learning this way also lets him/her associate the question, the context and the answer together in a meaningful way that completes the leap from raw product to actionable customer benefiting knowledge aiding in sales efforts.
This would certainly put an end to the problem of having a sales professional full of product information with either no training or ability to ask good questions and make the product knowledge useful.
This could shorten the onboarding/ramp up time for a new sales professional.
Would it work?
The smoke test would be if the sale tool was able to find, gather and serve up information quickly enough, and in a meaningful way while the sales professional sat across from the prospect.
Give me your thoughts? Does this exist somewhere? How does your company load product information into your head? Is it effective?
Image courtesy of liq.wa.gov