Knowledge Management for an Effective Sales and Marketing Function

Knowledge Management for an Effective Sales and Marketing Function

Amit Karna (European Business School, Germany), Ramendra Singh (Indian Institute of Management, India) and Sanjay Verma (Indian Institute of Management, India)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-348-7.ch015
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In the last decade, knowledge management has been receiving managerial attention particularly in the post-Internet era. With advancements in information and communications technologies, the incentives to manage knowledge have far surpassed the costs associated with it. The sales and marketing (S&M) function is one of the important functions in an organization with a unique blend of internal and external stakeholders to cater to. Another unique feature of knowledge management in the S&M function is that it lies on the interface of the organization with its customers. Therefore, information that comes into the organization through sales and marketing employees is often collected, filtered, and assimilated in different forms and with time lags. This chapter is aimed at familiarizing the readers with the importance of managing a continuously churning ocean of knowledge in the S&M function. We address various knowledge management issues and opportunities in the context of S&M and recommend a set of guidelines to enable managers increase the effectiveness of the S&M function by using appropriate knowledge management tools and strategies.
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For long, organizations have been obtaining knowledge from the environment. Simon (1957) coined the term bounded rationality to explain the decision-making of business managers under the presumption that making perfectly rational decisions are often not feasible in practice, given the finite computational resources available at hand. However, over the years, with increased flow of information, decision-making within organizations has increasingly become more informed. In order to make better decisions, firms adopt various processes and practices – formally and informally – to ensure that knowledge within organizations is created, captured, shared, and utilized in an effective manner.

Knowledge in organizations can be broadly classified into two categories: tacit and explicit. Tacit knowledge is hard to articulate, and constitutes action-based skills which are difficult to document. Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, is codified using expressions and can therefore be easily communicated, transferred or diffused. Nonaka (1994) proposed different processes through which knowledge can be transferred from one person to another in the same form or another.

Tacit to Explicit: Articulation

Tacit knowledge is transformed into explicit knowledge using documentation of policies that define the philosophy of the firm. This is a gradual process, which Baumard (1999) termed as common knowledge that is articulated into explicit knowledge over the years.

Explicit to Explicit: Combination

Explicit knowledge can be converted into explicit knowledge by combining the knowledge through mechanisms such as conversations or exchange of documents. In this type of exchange, ‘fitting together’ dominates as an explicit combinative logic (Baumard, 1999).

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