Let me paint a picture if I can… there’s a group of cavemen sitting around a fire, eating meat off the bone, grunting at one another as they relay stories of the hunt. At some point they’re joined by the children of the group, and they look over to the elders… its story time. The elders stand over the fire and share stories of their ancestors, lessons learned, skills and experiences, in the hopes that this translates to another generation, where they’ll do the same for their children.
Information was transferred in this way for 10’s of thousands of years… poorly I might add. Then finally, someone started actually writing these stories down. Suddenly, what was only kept in the heads of a select few… no matter how valuable it was… was finally available to share across the entire community. Learning was changed forever. Ideas about the most important and relevant topics were captured. When the crops should be planted, how to navigate long distances, etc. Humans who had the ability to read, write, and store this material flourished.
The next phase of tribal knowledge
For another couple thousand years, writing on stone tablets, then papyrus and scrolls, then volumes and books… but it was tedious, time consuming, and hard to replicate. Along came another boom in the knowledge transfer, a man Johannes Guttenberg, creator of the printing press. Now the concept of storytelling, had moved to story writing, and finally to mass distribution. The human race was finally able to capture, store, and share all the best practices it had amassed, to be disseminated across the world in a much more efficient way then it ever had been before.
Then for another couple hundred years, that was it. Books and manuscripts where created using printing presses, they were churned out in mass, and it was good enough. Finally though, the most recent advancement… the internet. Now the information was easier to get than ever before, it was fast and efficient, and explosive growth ensued.
Cool story huh? For mankind yes… for business it’s kind of embarrassing though… let’s look at it from the perspective of the profession of sales. I’m not looking to make any enemies here, so if what I say next strikes you in a way that adds discomfort (because it hits home), that’s ok.
Learn the sales process: See top performer or binder
For many companies, they hire sales people, bring them into the company, and teach them like the cavemen elders taught their youth. They sit around the campfire (the office) and share stories in oral form. Someone is the “top performer” (the elder) and generally tasked with sharing how they “do it”. They tell it the best way they can, but like any good story, the details are never as clear as they need to be, and the knowledge transfer is about as good as it was back in the cavemen days. Better than nothing, but far cry from the internet, fair?
For some companies, they’ve taken it a step further… they’ve actually managed to get to the written side of this. They’ve created a sales process on a word document, and saved it in their computer. There might even be a couple people in the company who have seen it! (laugh here… that was a joke) Then there are the select few, the strongest growing businesses out there, who have captured and created an awesome sales process. They have it scripted out, they’ve got it perfected, and they’ve even taken it from the word documents on their computer and… get ready for it… they’ve put it together in a beautiful binder and handed it out to everyone on the sales team!
The best way to share: It’s not the tribal knowledge approach
Problem… none of this is even remotely close to the power of the internet, at best, it’s a couple steps ahead of an invention created when the majority of humans thought the earth was flat. Want to take your sales team from caveman approach to the power of the internet? Try TrackLeft.