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September 22 2019.
June 06
Knowledge management in a sales organisation.

In the last issue,we observed how "knowledge" & its knowledge, is becoming the key difference between the organisations for survival & growth. With more & more products/services being offered are similar, "Knowledge" behind these products/services is the key differentiator for a buyer.

Let us look at the few basic steps a sales organisation can followup to implement knowledge management framework,

1.
Acquire:
Presently instead of making decisons on basis of minimal or no information sales/marketing professionals are grappling with huge amount of information. The challenge is to disseminate the information relavant to the current challenge.The growing availability of information has lead to "information pollution". Hence it is important to define kind of information needed & creating awareness about the same.

2. Use it.
Using knowledge wih effeciency & effeciveness is a major challenge in many organisations. Once knowledge is identified sales/marketing professionals confront problem of applying it rapidly to a specific situation, most often involving the customer. The organisation culture plays a major role in how creativity & experimentation to the new ideas derived from knowledge, is applied.

3. Contribute.
The need to contribute knowledge to be accessed across the organisation is the crucial link for the success of knowledge management activity. As with using knowledge, contribution is the major challenge most organisation face. "How can we get salespeople to share?" is the most common issue senior manegemt has to address. In general sales people will share knowledge if they feel sharing has some 'benefit' to them. The challenge of motivation to contribution can addressed by -removing barriers to sharing,-link contribution to opportunity & advancement,-withhold benefits fron non-contributors,-identify areas of mutual benefits.

4.Retain.
Once the knowledge is acquired / contributed, retention in the form of paper / electonic form is a major challenge. At many places paper based knowledge after a period of time cannot be easily accessed in tyhe form it is required for the sales person. Neither can it be easily shared. Most of organisation are converting the paper based proces into electronic one. Development of company intranets has led to inreasing use of electronic storage of knowledge. Howve, during torage proper care needs to be taken, so that neede knowledge can be idenfied & shared to the sales-marketing professionals on field.

In an established knowledgement management system,role of the leader changes from being a source of knowledge to the one who manages the process thro' which employees can use knowledge.

With the technological advances in internet (& Intranet) knowledge management is becoming simpler. "Knowledgs maps" can be created to rapidly access knowledge in the areas of interest. With the latest communication tools, knowledge can be accessed, shared & contributed in a seamless way across the organisation.

Knowledge management is still a nascent & rapidly discipline. The major challenge especially with the sales-marketing professionals, is not in the technology to access the knowledge, but the recognition to share the knowledge.

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