Why FAQs Are The Greatest Test Of Your Company's Culture

Industry Trends, Tools and Resources
Mitch Turck

Question: Why is your average employee afraid to address the biggest questions about your product or service?

If you want to know how unscalable culture festers in a company, look no further than their FAQs. Not the commoditized and sterilized list adorning the marketing website, but the list that swirls around the watercooler among employees who don’t see any differentiation in the business. I’m going to explain why those two lists don’t often line up, why it needs to change today, and how you can kickstart that change to build a resilient culture that breeds scale.

Why Are FAQs So Hard To Indoctrinate?

My team developed SkillBuilder.io in part to address the operational hurdles that turn FAQs into a monster no one wants to confront. Let’s take a look into why companies can’t keep their resources focused on their own vital narratives — we’ll use a practical example here, via the question “what makes our data better than our competitors’?”

  1. The most in-demand employees (Execs, subject matter experts, product leaders, brand managers, etc) are the only ones authorized to commit to an answer
  2. Some of those employees simply don’t have a confident answer because they’re painfully aware of the product’s limitations; others have a confident answer, but aren’t comfortable committing it to paper where it could be misused by teammates who don’t know the nuance & context
  3. In both cases, these authoritative employees will deflect & defer to Marketing or Product or Customer Success (or other teams who have bandwidth earmarked for addressing the market’s questions)
  4. Marketing circles back to the authorities, hoping to get an answer that truly differentiates them from competitors
  5. This circular accountability battle weighs everyone down: authoritative employees don’t want to commit, Marketing doesn’t want to put out undifferentiated answers, and both parties want the task off their plates

In strong company cultures, Marketing largely wins this battle (for good or bad), because Marketing represents the market facing demand generation effort of the org and the customer market. An executive worth their salt who can’t (or won’t) deliver a compelling answer would take it as their personal charge to rectify that problem, be it building, buying, or hiring the solution. It’s THE job of an executive to differentiate the business.

But in weak cultures, the authorities (or often bureaucracies) win the battles. Marketing cranks out useless, often superficial, word salad for answers, creating neither differentiation externally nor confidence internally, because leadership doesn’t believe their knowledge can scale across the org or translate to public information. These are the orgs where inevitably, someone at the top has to step in to get anything done because they’ve bred a culture that doesn’t extend confidence or create urgency.

Using FAQ Collaboration & AI To Build Scale

Extending confidence is how you build scale through your people — and you do that when everyone can sing loud and proud from the same song sheet. That, in a nutshell, is what your FAQs really are: the reasons for employees and customers to never doubt how you’re different, and the answers that prove your differentiation beyond whatever your prospects or clients might be able to research ahead of talking to you. At least, that’s the dream. As we just illustrated, the reality requires some graceful solutions… and that’s what we’ve identified at SkillBuilder:

  • You need the least amount of information to have maximum impact in sales and go-to-market efforts, avoid heavy handed and dilutive wikis that only compete on volume without any reality check on attrition or employee turnover 
  • You need a platform. No watercooler gossip, no misinformed side conversations — if the team is asking questions, you need a committed pulse on the frequency and importance of those questions.
  • You need empowerment. A platform can’t just be one-way, top-down communication. With a collaborative model, anyone in the org can ask questions, nominate a resource to answer, and (with embedded AI assistance) absorb actionable wisdom in the moment they need it. Empowerment is what keeps the team coming back to the platform.
  • You need transparency. When stakeholders can quantify their answers with degrees of confidence and differentiation, the relative strengths and opportunities of your business can be clearly and uniformly internalized across the entire org… from the earliest hire to the latest.

Seeing ROI On The Front Lines

When anyone in the commercial org can deliver an executive-grade response to a key market hurdle, deals flow faster and smoother, marketing conversions compound on each other… this is why extending confidence literally scales your business. The engagements that used to come in far later in the game, at much higher stakes, are now predictable growth patterns powered by your own people. And every new hire coming through the door can be held to that performance standard, because they’ve got the same resources.

Is that a convincing reason to try SkillBuilder? If so, here’s where your team can get started. If not, tell me why, and I’ll owe you a favor.

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