In Business Performance, Collaboration

Summary: Salespeople need information almost every day that can help them close deals. Givitas can help large, distributed sales teams collaborate on knowledge, move faster, and sell more. 

I’ve spent most of my career working in sales on large, distributed teams. As a sales person, one of my biggest challenges has been figuring out how to tap into the extensive knowledge of my fellow sales people (and my support teams in marketing, enablement, customer success, finance, etc.) in a way that makes my efforts faster and more effective. As a sales leader, I have seen my team members struggle with the same challenges I had when I was in the field.

Sales people have questions! They need information on product, pricing, strategy, case stories, market dynamics, training materials, collateral, contracts, and contacts. And there is almost always someone on the team who has the answers, or more often, a lot of “someones” in various departments who each hold a piece of the answer. So how do salespeople typically look for that information?

Here are the techniques I’ve seen the most in recent years:

  1. Blast email: sending an email out to a whole group or team or region and hoping someone will read it and answer. Drawback: This is incredibly inefficient (best case scenario you have multiple people reading to and responding to an email, worst case scenario, it gets lost in the shuffle and you never get an answer from anyone). Moreover, salespeople are typically surveying other salespeople, when often colleagues in other departments may have the information at their fingertips.
  2. The “expert” approach: most people know the one or two people who are knowledgeable enough and nice enough to help answer questions as they arise. Drawback: This puts a burden on those one or two people, a load that could be more evenly divided amongst a broader number of people.
  3. Collaboration platforms: Sales people love to throw a question up on Slack, Yammer, or Salesforce Chatter. Drawback: Slack, Yammer, and the like are incredibly useful tools for sales teams and have transformed the way I personally do work and communicate with my team. But they are way too “noisy” for asking for and getting help. If you miss even an hour of Slack notifications, you can get hopelessly behind. Slack and Yammer are better for very small teams or very general purposes.
  4. Knowledge sharing platforms: Many organizations set up wikis or knowledge sharing platforms like Sharepoint to address common question and share common resources. Drawback: Knowledge sharing tools are a great way to “push” information one way, but you have to anticipate what will be needed in order to make them truly useful.
  5. FIOM (figure it out myself): Many of us are encouraged by our bosses and the culture at large to be self-reliant and independent and to find answers to questions without relying on other people. Drawback: Self-reliance can only get you so far. As a sales leader, I never want one of my team members to spend hours or days struggling to figure something out when someone with different experience could answer their question or solve their problem in minutes.

Many sales organizations are now solving these challenge with Givitas, a purpose-built platform designed only for asking for and providing help. Givitas integrates with Slack, Yammer, email, and SMS, but as a single-purpose tool, it reduces the stigma of asking for help and makes it easy to share knowledge on less than 5 minutes a day, leaving more time for closing deals and increasing sales.

We’re using it with our own sales team, and find the following benefits (as do our customers):

  • Improved response times
  • Increased efficiency
  • More productivity (more calls, more leads, more deals!)
  • Stronger relationships among sales people
  • A repository of institutional knowledge–the best questions and the best answers.
  • Stronger culture–sales teams can be (and should be, to some extent) competitive with one another. But people like work more and stick around longer when there is a collaborative culture of generosity.
  • Better business outcomes, since higher rates of giving are predictive of higher unit profitability, productivity, efficiency, retention and customer satisfaction, along with lower costs.

If you’d like to learn more about how Givitas can help your sales team, schedule a demo today.

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adam Grant cofounder givitasGIvitas culture of generosity