The role of TechComm in reaching the Holy Grail
Last year, my development department held a series of meetings to discuss ways in which we could help significantly increase the sales of the products we make. This year, we’ve put a lot of what we discussed into practice, and the Technical Communication team has played a key role.
Our department believes we make excellent products, and we have the customers to back this claim up. As a development lab though, we do not sell our products. This is the job of sales people in our company’s subsidiaries around the world, and among our partners. We know our products can sell, but can we make sales sell more?
The Holy Grail
I like to think of the Holy Grail as giving subsidiaries and partners the “magic power” to sell, implement, and support our products better, and more independently from the development lab. However, it’s not really magic, it’s about giving them the skills and knowledge found within the development lab itself.
How can the Holy Grail be achieved?
This is what we have achieved this year:
- Fully-featured demo systems
Pre-configured, with sample data, and complete with full instructions. Great for sales and pre-sales meetings, as well as instructor-led training courses.
- Detailed sales presentations and other material
- Comprehensive best practices
Initially created as a package to sell the most effective solutions and implement them in the shortest amount of time, best practices also help educate people about the product in general.
- Copious amounts of helpful documentation
Documentation that not only explains the technical nitty-gritty, but that contains quick start and general topics for those new. The documentation doesn’t answer every question, but it covers the basics well.
- Training material
Lots of presentations that can be used to give instructor-led trainings.
- A video library
Yes! Is there anyone who doesn’t now believe in the power of videos? When you want to refresh your knowledge on something, would you rather browse help topics, try your luck by experimenting in the software/hardware, or sit back and watch a 5min video explain everything? I have a big demand now for more videos, from people who realise their value.
- We have attended courses to improve our business process knowledge and the environment in which our products are used.
- An easy-to-use, but powerful intranet presence, which encapsulates all of the above. Sales and technical staff can dig into our resources, find what they want fast, and learn as much about our products as they want, in all kinds of different ways.
We can’t attend every sales meeting, workshop, or implementation around the world. We have a division of labour and we think this labour power can now be utilised to the maximum, thanks in no small part to the efforts of our technical communicators (but also to our developers, solution managers, and support staff). The next time you think about what a technical writer does, or should or can do, consider the bigger picture and the Holy Grail.