Sales KnowledgeEnabling Sales Channels for Competitive Advantage                           Carl Binder                 Bin...
Carl BinderBinder Riha Associates   © 2001
Overview               n   Background               n   The Problem               n   Elements of a Solution              ...
My Backgroundn   Research at Harvard (1973-1982)    – Behavioral Fluency and Performance Engineeringn   Consulting to Fort...
A Performance-based Approach to     Sales Knowledge Management      Our objective has been to improve sales and      servi...
How Performance Produces Business Results  Behavior           Behavior         Job Outputs            Business Influences ...
The Six Boxes™          Controllable Behavior Influences E N V   Expectations          Tools      Consequences I R        ...
A Focus on Fluent Performance           Fluency (True Mastery: accuracy + speed)         Ergonomics and Practice make the ...
Sales People as Knowledge Workers                     Industry IssuesMarketing Messages                    Company Vision ...
Information Overload Buries         Sales and Marketing Productivity         Self        Study               Video and Aud...
Some Astonishing Facts           A Huge Opportunity for Improvementn    In some leading software companies, sales professi...
What’s at Stake? Competitive Advantage  n Sales productivity - revenues per person  n Time to full quota for new sales peo...
And Before You Throw Technology atthe Problem.......ON-LINE systems can create an overload   bigger and faster than any pa...
Root Causes of the Problem    n   Lack of Organizational Alignment/Commitment    n   Features-driven not customer needs-dr...
Vision of a SolutionSales personnel access, navigate through, learn and practicefrom a comprehensive knowledge base, built...
What Knowledge is Required         for Sales Performance?n   What do sales people need to PRODUCE and DO?n   What knowledg...
Managing the Sales Knowledge Lifecycle                            Analyzing                             Analyzing         ...
Managing the Sales Knowledge Lifecycle                                                 • Identify gaps   • Link to perform...
Imagine if.......each day your newspaper were “creatively” formatted, labeled    and sequenced in a different way.        ...
Key Concept: Knowledge Architecture          Structuring Knowledge for PerformanceEstablish STANDARDS for….n    Language: ...
The Product Knowledge Architecture™    Standard Sales Topics - Table of Contents View1. Business and Performance Objective...
Categories of Standard Sales Language n   Topics/sub-topics (content classification - PKA outline) n   Market Segments (ag...
Sample Content Template (Segment 2)      Business Trends and Issues               Name of trend 1: Brief description      ...
Sample Format Template (Segment 4)     Customer Need   Product Solution   How it Works   Value Delivered     Customer Need...
A Marketing Knowledge Architecture                        Features and Benefits   Categories    of Needs            A “Mar...
A Sales Knowledge Architecture       Needs and Solutions (simple example) Categories                                      ...
Sample Template (Segment 5)                                       Competitive         How We Problem/Need      Our Solutio...
Typical Links / Cross-references                           Market                          Segments             Sales     ...
Why Address the Problem?             Productivity and Competitivenessn   10% – 50% more time to sell vs. searching for inf...
Benefits of aStandard Knowledge Architecture n   User productivity: more rapid access to and use     of knowledge based on...
Building Knowledge Architecture into            Technology  n   Use Standard Terminology      – document names, topics, an...
Building Knowledge Architecture           into Technology, cont’d  n   Provide Content Templates and Guidelines       – to...
Structured/Keyword Search is a Superior    Technology for Supporting PerformanceIn most situations, sales and service prof...
Scenario:   First call on the CFO of a software companySelect by:                        Use this content:    – Market    ...
Scenario: Need to write a proposal for prospect looking at a specific                       competitorSelect by:          ...
Scenario:          My competition is winning on technologySelect by:                        Use this content:    – Product...
Integrating Knowledge Management,       Training, and Coachingn   Build a knowledge architecture with a sequence    optimi...
Knowledge Architecture Streamlines              the Knowledge Lifecycle• Categories assigned to                   • Buildi...
Organizational Alignment         Success Requires Strategic Commitmentn   Focus agreement around sales performance require...
Practical Action Stepsn   Drive alignment around a Best Practices sales process.n   Draft a Table of Contents based on the...
“It’s the Architecture, Stupid!”  (Published Cost Estimates for an Enterprise Knowledge Portal)        KM Project Componen...
Summary   n   Conceive of a single sales knowledge system       and build alignment across functions.   n   Recognize flue...
How Binder Riha Associates Can Helpn    Customize the PKA for your contentn    Facilitate alignment among stakeholdersn   ...
Thank You!Binder Riha Associates   © 2001
Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?
Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?
Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?
Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?
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Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?

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Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage? By
Carl Binder at SVPMA Monthly Event March 2001

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Are you leveraging your sales channels for competitive advantage?

  1. 1. Sales KnowledgeEnabling Sales Channels for Competitive Advantage Carl Binder Binder Riha Associates www.Binder-Riha.com Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  2. 2. Carl BinderBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  3. 3. Overview n Background n The Problem n Elements of a Solution n Practical Recommendations n DiscussionBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  4. 4. My Backgroundn Research at Harvard (1973-1982) – Behavioral Fluency and Performance Engineeringn Consulting to Fortune 1000 and Fast Growth Companies – Precision Teaching & Management Systems, Inc. 1982-92 – Product Knowledge Systems, Inc. 1992-1998 – Binder Riha Associates 1998-n Focus on Sales and Marketing EffectivenessBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  5. 5. A Performance-based Approach to Sales Knowledge Management Our objective has been to improve sales and service performance, not merely to manage documents or content. Our methodology evolved as we discovered the structure of knowledge needed to support: - On-the-job reference - Application, and - Learning/Coaching.Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  6. 6. How Performance Produces Business Results Behavior Behavior Job Outputs Business Influences Results• Expectations • Asking • Proposals • Revenues• Feedback • Talking • Demos • Market share• Incentives • Deciding • Call Plans • Product volume• Process & • Writing • Letters • Profits Job design • Demonstrating • Decisions • ROI• Reference base • Analyzing • Configurations • etc.• Tools/Job Aids • Answering • Closed deals• Collateral • etc. • Satisfied• Training customers• Coaching • Reference accts.• Ergonomics • etc.• etc. Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  7. 7. The Six Boxes™ Controllable Behavior Influences E N V Expectations Tools Consequences I R & & & O Feedback Resources Incentives N M E N T E Skills Selection Motives M P & & & L Knowledge Assignment Preferences O y E E (Capacity) (Attitude)Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  8. 8. A Focus on Fluent Performance Fluency (True Mastery: accuracy + speed) Ergonomics and Practice make the difference! 100% accuracy (traditional "mastery") Beginners level (inaccurate and slow) Incompetence (no measurable performance) Fluent Access + Fluent Knowledge = Fluent Application Fluent Access + Fluent Knowledge = Fluent ApplicationBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  9. 9. Sales People as Knowledge Workers Industry IssuesMarketing Messages Company Vision and Strategy Technology Trends Fulfillment Process Competitive Information & Strategy Product Solutions Potential Customer NeedsTechnical Background Business Trends Responses to Objections Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  10. 10. Information Overload Buries Sales and Marketing Productivity Self Study Video and Audio CollateralCourse Materials Multiplied by how many business Help! units, products, authors? Classroom Training Overheads Slide Sets On-line Resources How To Do It Manuals and job aids Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  11. 11. Some Astonishing Facts A Huge Opportunity for Improvementn In some leading software companies, sales professionals report spending 50% or more of their time searching for needed information.n Sales personnel may make 20 or more telephone calls or emails before obtaining a needed bit of information.n Product managers may spend 30% or more of their time answering questions, the answers to which they have previously provided in writing or in presentations. Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  12. 12. What’s at Stake? Competitive Advantage n Sales productivity - revenues per person n Time to full quota for new sales people n Time to market penetration for new products n Responsiveness to changing market conditions n Sales support cost and productivity Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  13. 13. And Before You Throw Technology atthe Problem.......ON-LINE systems can create an overload bigger and faster than any paper-based approach! Knowledge repositories are becoming dumping-grounds. ? Faster search engines are NOT the answer!Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  14. 14. Root Causes of the Problem n Lack of Organizational Alignment/Commitment n Features-driven not customer needs-driven n Too much, too little, or the wrong information n Information is difficult to access n “Exposure methods” of learning n Insufficient practice to ensure fluencyBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  15. 15. Vision of a SolutionSales personnel access, navigate through, learn and practicefrom a comprehensive knowledge base, built to support salesperformance, containing the tools and information needed forall aspects of selling, with a consistent content architecture,standard labels, and formats for easy application.Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  16. 16. What Knowledge is Required for Sales Performance?n What do sales people need to PRODUCE and DO?n What knowledge must they be able to ACCESS?n What knowledge must be FLUENT?Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  17. 17. Managing the Sales Knowledge Lifecycle Analyzing Analyzing Requirements Requirements Updating Updating Gathering Gathering && & & Maintaining Maintaining Creating Creating Accessing Organizing Organizing Accessing & && & Applying Filing Filing Applying Learning Learning Coaching Coaching Teaching Teaching Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  18. 18. Managing the Sales Knowledge Lifecycle • Identify gaps • Link to performance • Eliminate redundancies Analyzing Analyzing • Identify level of detail • Design & chunk documents Requirements Requirements • Ensure completeness Updating Updating Gathering Gathering && & • Name documents & Maintaining Maintaining • Sort and tag docs Creating Creating • Structure views• Identify content revisions• Customize for audiences Accessing Organizing Organizing Accessing &• Structure input from& field & & Filing• Obtain data to revise Applying Filing Applying • Identify learning needs • Support field learning Learning Learning • Integrate with training • Familiar UI Coaching Coaching • Select not search Teaching Teaching • Support performance Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  19. 19. Imagine if.......each day your newspaper were “creatively” formatted, labeled and sequenced in a different way. ???This is exactly how most sales and This is exactly how most sales andmarketing organizations provide marketing organizations provideinformation to their sales people! information to their sales people! Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  20. 20. Key Concept: Knowledge Architecture Structuring Knowledge for PerformanceEstablish STANDARDS for….n Language: topics, document naming, keywordsn Default Sequences: for support learning and accessn Links / Cross-references: to support likely need-to-known Formats and templates: support application, authoring, and maintenance A performance-driven, audience-friendly framework for A performance-driven, audience-friendly framework for labeling and organizing tools and knowledge. labeling and organizing tools and knowledge. Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  21. 21. The Product Knowledge Architecture™ Standard Sales Topics - Table of Contents View1. Business and Performance Objectives2. Market Context and Company (Strategic) Response3. Potential Customer Problems/Needs/Opportunities4. Products and Services as Solutions5. Competitive Information and Strategy6. Sales Process, Strategy, Tactics, and Tools7. Customer Materials8. Fulfillment and Implementation9. Post-sale Support and Problem-solving Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  22. 22. Categories of Standard Sales Language n Topics/sub-topics (content classification - PKA outline) n Market Segments (agreed upon segmentation) n Decision-makers n Products (point product or family) n Competitors n Document Types (proposal, reference, presentation, etc.) n Stage in the Sales Cycle (...if this is helpful)Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  23. 23. Sample Content Template (Segment 2) Business Trends and Issues Name of trend 1: Brief description Relevant Data Implications for Customer Name of trend 2: Brief description Relevant Data Implications for Customer Technology Trends and Issues Name of trend 1: Brief description Relevant Data Implications for Customer Etc…. What Sales People Need to Know about Market Trends What Sales People Need to Know about Market TrendsBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  24. 24. Sample Format Template (Segment 4) Customer Need Product Solution How it Works Value Delivered Customer Need Product Solution How it Works Value DeliveredSales People Need to Know the Logic of Your Value PropositionsSales People Need to Know the Logic of Your Value PropositionsBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  25. 25. A Marketing Knowledge Architecture Features and Benefits Categories of Needs A “Marketing” Architecture B C D Potential problems or needs Features Advantages/ Benefits Unique Strengths & “Sound bytes” * * * * * Proof Points ............... Evidence ................ Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  26. 26. A Sales Knowledge Architecture Needs and Solutions (simple example) Categories Service Business of Needs Financial Technical & Relationship Support Potential problems or needs FeaturesAdvantages/ Benefits Unique Strengths &“Sound bytes” * * * * *Proof Points ............... Evidence ................Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  27. 27. Sample Template (Segment 5) Competitive How We Problem/Need Our Solution Solution Compete ...organized Our capability – Competitor’s Sales by categories product / service capability - tactics for of customers’ features strengths and winning needs weaknessesSoftware Example Protect Stress integrity investments in Data Import Tool Only reads native of retrospective legacy data files data Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  28. 28. Typical Links / Cross-references Market Segments Sales Decision Strategy Makers Customer Probing Needs Questions Product Customer Information Materials Competitive InformationBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  29. 29. Why Address the Problem? Productivity and Competitivenessn 10% – 50% more time to sell vs. searching for informationn 30% – 40% less time to full market penetration from launchn 20% – 40% fewer documents to be produced and readn 20% – 50% less time for tactical sales supportn More confident calling on senior decision-makersn More consistent execution of strategy and tacticsn Increased cross-selling and leveraged product breadth = Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  30. 30. Benefits of aStandard Knowledge Architecture n User productivity: more rapid access to and use of knowledge based on performer needs and familiarity n Knowledge Creator/Manager productivity: reduced time to create documents plus greater consistency n Learning/Training productivity: ease of integrating reference with training/learning/coaching n Communication efficiency: leveraging a standard language for consistency and clarityBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  31. 31. Building Knowledge Architecture into Technology n Use Standard Terminology – document names, topics, and sub-topics (menus, views) – keywords for tagging and selecting content n Embed Default Sequences – menus and tables of contents – views of document sets (not merely alphabetical) – supporting new hire and launch training that leverage the knowledge baseBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  32. 32. Building Knowledge Architecture into Technology, cont’d n Provide Content Templates and Guidelines – topics and layouts for documents and screens – author support guidelines and tools – structured input from the field (e.g., email forms) n Implement Standard Links – HTML, tables, XML, etc. – performance support links with CRMBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  33. 33. Structured/Keyword Search is a Superior Technology for Supporting PerformanceIn most situations, sales and service professionals In most situations, sales and service professionalsshould be able to select fixed vocabulary to access should be able to select fixed vocabulary to accessinformation, not guess at terms for full text or meta- information, not guess at terms for full text or meta-data search. data search. We should not force them to be researchers.” We should not force them to be researchers.” Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  34. 34. Scenario: First call on the CFO of a software companySelect by: Use this content: – Market – Market Trends & Issues – Decision-maker – Needs by Decision-maker – Probing questions – Needs/Solutions Tables – Sales Tactics – Collateral – Success storiesBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  35. 35. Scenario: Need to write a proposal for prospect looking at a specific competitorSelect by: Use this content: – Market – Proposal template – Product – Sales tactics – Decision-Maker – Market background – Competitor – Needs/Solutions tables – Document Type – Needs/Solutions/Competitor tables – Product Summaries – Reference AccountsBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  36. 36. Scenario: My competition is winning on technologySelect by: Use this content: – Product – Strengths/Weaknesses of – Market Competitor – Competitor – Competitive summary tables – Responding to objections – Reference accounts – Sales tacticsBinder Riha Associates © 2001
  37. 37. Integrating Knowledge Management, Training, and Coachingn Build a knowledge architecture with a sequence optimized for learning and random access reference.n Use online or low-tech Reference Based Learning, guiding learners through the reference base and providing practice where needed.n Link learning exercises to application of the knowledge base, and be sure users can use the knowledge system fluently.n Create ongoing coaching on the job, leveraging the same knowledge base used in initial learning.Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  38. 38. Knowledge Architecture Streamlines the Knowledge Lifecycle• Categories assigned to • Building Table of Contents (TOC) owners/authors/experts • Identifying sources and experts• Templates allow for rapid integration of Analyzing • Chunking and labeling input from field Analyzing content Requirements Requirements• Supports workflow to • Identifying gaps, manage update process avoiding redundancy Updating Updating Gathering Gathering• Topics allow easier cus- & & • Providing authoring tomization for audience & & templates/guidelines Maintaining Maintaining Creating Creating• Feedback and metrics drive continuous refinement • Tagging and filing Accessing Organizing Organizing documents Accessing &• Standard language and && & Filing • Using TOC to structure sequence supports Applying Applying Filing browsing views structured search and browsing Learning Learning &&• Topics and templates Teaching address specific on-the- Teaching job performance needs • TOC/browsing sequence supports just-in-time learning • TOC provides framework for new hire or launch training/coaching Binder Riha Associates © 2001 • Language standards influence “cognitive filing system” over time
  39. 39. Organizational Alignment Success Requires Strategic Commitmentn Focus agreement around sales performance requirements.n Identify best sales practices and required knowledge/tools.n Eliminate sales resource gaps and redundancies.n Find opportunities for cross-functional linkage and synergy.n Apply a standard knowledge architecture at the source.n Allocate resources (head count, budget) and leverage them to improve organization-wide performance. Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  40. 40. Practical Action Stepsn Drive alignment around a Best Practices sales process.n Draft a Table of Contents based on the PKA, and populate it with information & tools needed for sales.n Conduct a knowledge audit - content and experts.n Develop and apply a Customer Needs Model™.n Chunk and label documents into manageable size.n Establish standards (language, templates) over time.n Identify possible learning activities and tools.n Integrate sales knowledge management and learning/training over time.Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  41. 41. “It’s the Architecture, Stupid!” (Published Cost Estimates for an Enterprise Knowledge Portal) KM Project Component Software Service Build topic taxonomy N/A $500,000 Acquire search technology $300,000 $ 80,000 and build search site Create document N/A $150,000 standards and templates Automate document N/A $120,000 workflow processes Other costs $60,000 $300,000 Estimated Totals $360,000 $1,150,000 InfoWorld, 09/29/99Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  42. 42. Summary n Conceive of a single sales knowledge system and build alignment across functions. n Recognize fluency as a critical goal. n Implement knowledge architecture standards. n The documents themselves must change (size, labeling, format, etc.). n Requires sustained management support, dedicated head count. n Drive continuous process improvement with feedback and usage data.Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  43. 43. How Binder Riha Associates Can Helpn Customize the PKA for your contentn Facilitate alignment among stakeholdersn Develop and apply a Customer Needs Model™n Assist in technology selection and designn Develop document templates and guidelinesn Identify opportunities to improve sales performancen Complete specific documentation & training projectsn Apply Six Boxes™ implementation planningn Apply FluencyBuilding™ learning/coaching methods Binder Riha Associates © 2001
  44. 44. Thank You!Binder Riha Associates © 2001

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