The Value of Tribal Lore in Sales Training

Goguryeo tomb mural from Korea (Public Domain)

When launching a new sales intelligence service, it is critical that management participates in the rollout and explains the benefits.  If management backs the financial outlay, then reps are more likely to invest as well.  Conversely, if management doesn’t participate in the service rollout, why should your sales reps invest their time in learning and personalizing the new service?  After all, not only is there effort involved in learning a new service and customizing it to their information requirements, but adopting new tools requires reps to modify their workflows and sales processes.  As such, you are asking reps to take a shared risk.

A second way to reinforce the benefits of your sales intelligence investment is to employ tribal lore.  Let one or two sales reps discuss an opportunity they discovered or insight that helped close a deal during the trial period. Sales reps are natural story tellers and enjoy talking about their victories. A good story can do more to sell your product (or a sales tool) than a recitation of features and benefits (but make sure they understand the benefits as well). Sales stories should be viewed as internal case studies generated by sales. They are a low cost means of rewarding reps who gain a psychic reward from retelling their victories. Encouraging such tribal knowledge helps motivate sales reps and is akin to the hunter retelling the story of the hunt.

Furthermore, sharing knowledge across teams fits well with millennial transparency and social media practices.  Peter Ostrow of the Aberdeen Group emphasized the value of such tribal knowledge in a recent report on Sales Reinforcements:

Today’s millennial sellers are far more willing and comfortable to share with one another, as compared to 20th-century quota-carriers. A generation ago, a sales rep was expected to acquire skills and knowledge predominantly from managers above them in the corporate food chain. Modern enterprise social collaboration platforms are designed to leverage the changing mindset of individual contributors, and help provide companies committed to lifelong sales education with technology platforms that complement their commitment to learning that clearly pays measurable dividends.

Attribution: Goguryeo tomb mural from Korea (Public Domain)

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