Knowledge sharing is something that you likely do every day, both at home and at work. You mentored a junior employee on how to choose the right bid strategy for a paid search campaign. You attended a Lunch and Learn about how AI is reshaping digital marketing. You left your husband written directions about how to defrost the chicken… and he still didn’t do it right.
Knowledge sharing is all around us all of the time! But how can we harness different types of knowledge sharing to benefit account management teams?
Knowledge Collaboration with Client Account Management
Knowledge sharing is a critical component to the success of any account management team, and can especially benefit organizations as a whole. An effective account management team should constantly be mentoring, sharing, collaborating, creating processes, and closing the skills gap between one account manager to the next.
All of these different modes of learning and collaboration are forms of knowledge sharing. Review a few common types of knowledge sharing and how they can specifically be applied to client account management.
Types of Knowledge Sharing
There are many different types of knowledge sharing, but a few of the most commonly known forms are explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge sharing. Good knowledge sharing, especially within an organization, can and should include a mixture of all three.
Let’s dive into some definitions around what these types of knowledge sharing are and how they can be applied to your account management services.
Explicit Knowledge Sharing
Explicit knowledge sharing is characterized by clear, written rules. Think of some internal processes you may have: employee onboarding procedures, a client onboarding process, or even something as simple as the correct method of naming and storing files. These are all things that come with a clear set of directions or instructions, are easily repeatable, and are generally completed in a uniform fashion. They are explicit knowledge. But what are some examples of explicit knowledge sharing for account management services?
Account management requires you to be nimble; able to jump from one task to another without pause. Utilizing examples of explicit knowledge transfer can help us manage those transitions with ease.
How-to guides, or standard operating procedures, on the fundamentals of account management in your organization can help keep an account manager organized and flexible. Let’s look at some examples:
- SOPs on how to schedule meetings and keep your calendar organized
- How to write pre- and post- meeting emails
- Dress code requirements for client meetings
- SOPs for onboarding and offboarding clients
What all of these have in common is that they are objective, repeatable, and can be documented and shared. Once you outline these (and more!) with your team, you’ll have a solid foundation of explicit knowledge sharing in your organization.
Implicit Knowledge Sharing
Implicit knowledge sharing is all about hands-on experience. Whether you are an account manager, a paid media strategist, or SEO content writer, everyone can benefit from and contribute to implicit knowledge sharing. Let’s look at a few scenarios specific to client account management:
- A new account manager has joined your team, but isn’t quite ready to manage clients on their own yet. You can help get them acclimated to client account management by allowing them to shadow the calls of a more senior account manager. Have them share their observations and takeaways with you.
- A peer account manager is struggling to manage a client who doesn’t communicate often. Another account manager, who has experienced this situation before, can offer guidance and work-around ideas to help their colleague solve the problem.
- An account manager has an opportunity to pitch some additional services to a client, but the service is one they aren’t very familiar with. A peer with more experience in this area can coach them through crafting a proposal deck and a scope.
- An account manager creates a group chat space for fellow account managers to share unique challenges they have faced and how they overcame them. This can serve as a living, breathing resource for account managers to refer back to if and/or when they face similar challenges.
Implicit knowledge sharing encompasses mentorship, coaching, and fostering a workplace culture that encourages collaboration. This type of knowledge sharing is based heavily on personal experience and the more nuanced aspects of an account manager’s job.
Tacit Knowledge Sharing
Finally, we have tacit knowledge sharing, the most nebulous of the forms of knowledge sharing. Tacit knowledge sharing is based on your own personal experience, intuition, and wisdom. This type of knowledge sharing doesn’t have steps A-Z like explicit knowledge, and is often more difficult to communicate than implicit knowledge. For example, you may be able to speak another language, but would you know where to begin when describing how to speak that language, to another person?
So, where does tacit knowledge fit into account management services? Everywhere! Each account manager’s tacit knowledge is unique, valuable, and with some effort, can even be taught. Let’s dive into some scenarios of what this looks like.
Account managers should have tacit knowledge of how their clients like to communicate. Let’s say you are handing off a client of two years to a new account manager. An example of tacit knowledge that a new account manager would find useful are nuances about clients, for example:
- This particular client doesn’t like small talk, he just wants to get down to business
- This client is always on vacation for the month of November without much advance notice, be aware for planning purposes
- This client will immediately love you if you reference Lord of the Rings in a meeting
- This client often forgets to respond to emails, but always gets back quickly if you send him a reminder a couple of days later
Tacit knowledge can also be incredibly useful for new hires on your team as they get acclimated to your organization. From the perspective of an account manager, they may find useful things like:
- During the summer, many employees and clients work summer Fridays and may be hard to get a hold of
- Amy, your paid search strategist, has three kids at home, so she may not reply immediately to your questions
- The IT guy Larry’s dog just died, so maybe don’t talk about your cute new puppy in front of him for a while
- If the office door won’t open, give it two good kicks and it should pop right open
Tacit knowledge are things that in your head you just… know. But someone new to the situation would have no basis for knowing the tacit things that you do. Building up someone’s tacit knowledge in an organization takes time and experience.
Knowledge sharing is an incredibly powerful process to embrace within your organization. It’s a great asset to new employees, but is also something that should never truly stop. Fostering a culture of knowledge sharing has immense benefits for your account management services, and even greater ones for your organization as a whole.