Persistent problems persist because those suffering the consequences don’t know how to address the root causes. (Assuming they even know what the root causes are!)
Think of the people you know who have a “problem solver” reputation. How did they earn that reputation? Chances are, the former sufferers who benefited from that person’s skill will talk about how the solver’s knowledge about this, that and the other, applied to the unique problem saved the day.
They learn about the specific issue and its environment, combine it with what they already know about System X, System Y & System Z; add in a wide array of other bits of knowledge; add a dash of hard-earned industry experience, and come up with an innovative, inexpensive solution to one big, ugly problem.
And those “other bits of knowledge” are really critical. Random and miscellaneous perhaps, but critical! It could be a combination of Russian classical music, evolutionary biology, TV repair and the insights from last weekend’s conversation with the pizza delivery guy.
Great problem solvers Integrate Knowledge from an extremely wide and bizarrely eclectic range of sources.
You, Sales Leader, are charged with channeling the sum total of your team’s lifelong collection of knowledge about all kinds of stuff to make good things happen for the customer. You, Sales Leader, need to become great at:
- Getting your team to share everything they know about everything. Not just about “Sales Best Practices.”
- Getting your team to daydream and brainstorm about how seemingly unrelated bits of knowledge could potentially be applied to solve a customer problem
- Getting your team to engage decision-makers in conversations like “You know, this pizza delivery guy said blah-blah-blah, which reminded me about situation X, and made me think about your dilemma with Y, which led me think Fact Z is relevant. What do you think about applying all that like this…?”
Sales is all about solving problems for customers. Problem solving happens when the right bits of knowledge are applied. Ergo, Sales truly does need to be the Knowledge Integration Department.