As your business grows and flourishes, and you hire more employees, you may sometimes overlook the importance and value of providing all of them with proper training, especially in marketing. While it may depend on which industry your business belongs to, or if you have a specific company rule, the priority of which personnel to train in what areas or specializations, will vary. However, any business should not neglect to train their personnel in marketing.
“Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only these two — basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
Peter Drucker, Management Guru
Marketing: Not an Afterthought
It was Peter Drucker, who, in the 1950s, heralded the concept of marketing as having a customer-oriented approach. This meant that business strategies and operations should focus on satisfying customers. Marketing management would then evolve to integrate customer targeting, branding, distribution channels, as well as product management.
Now, with industries shifting to data-driven marketing analytics, innovative technologies, products, and services need marketing more than ever. Business owners should always update themselves on these evolving marketing channels, especially with digital marketing and marketing automation.
We’ve previously discussed the benefits of marketing analytics software. Catch up here.
With these technologies currently reigning dominance, you can develop new marketing opportunities or increase interest on your existing ones. You cultivate your offerings for them to be understood and accepted by your target customers, to the point that it captures their interest, wants, and needs. These should all build up towards a complete customer experience, a goal which your business can strive to fulfill.
In establishing your business goals and adopting marketing strategies to accomplish them, your staff should also share the same knowledge and the same commitment. In this regard, providing them with a compelling training program in marketing is imperative assuring that you get satisfied customers.
1. Customer Satisfaction
While there may be specific areas or specialties about marketing that depend on which industry your business is involved in, you’ll first start them off with fundamental knowledge.
Where and how do you begin their training? You’ll need to recognize and implement these four elements:
1. Assess the current state of your sales and marketing team.
To make training your staff worthwhile, you need a strategic approach. First, perform an audit on your marketing personnel’s current state. How you’ll proceed with the scope and depth of their training relies on your audit. Be sure that you have metrics in place to be able to measure or determine the following:
- Have they undergone any training in the past?
- How is their current performance?
- What are your personnel’s individual strengths and weaknesses?
- In which phases or areas are they struggling to meet their metrics?
- What campaigns, channels, generated the most / least number of leads and revenue?
We also emphasized the need for businesses to track their marketing campaigns, which you can read here.
Find out what their skillsets are or if they need to acquire new ones. Do they also need new, updated tools?
2. Your Staff and Your Brand.
By this time, your business should already have an established brand. You now know how you want your customers to perceive and experience your business. But you would want them to see beyond your logo. Your brand should be identifiable in everything about your business: your products, services, your marketing materials, and most of all, your staff.
A clearly-defined brand brings about better staff engagement. You will want them all to share the same ideals, passion, and pride that comes with internalizing your brand. A big part of their marketing training lies in how they market themselves, especially when they are with your customers. How they express themselves reflects if they have been fully instilled with your business’ values.
In the service industry, it is particularly essential that this brand personality is consistently relayed at every step of customer interaction.
3. Hands-on Training Delivers Results.
Providing your staff with training on marketing concepts, principles, and strategies is definitely all well and good, but abstract ideas also need to be demonstrated through tangible examples. Have them undergo hands-on training so that they can immediately see the results of practical, real-world marketing practices executed with their involvement.
Also, keep in mind that marketing training should be continuous. Marketing skills require periodic upkeep and are not one-off. The market changes constantly and there are heaps of emerging trends. Take social media as an example. It was not a considerable marketing channel 15 years ago. But now, businesses that aren’t on social media are missing large, numerous opportunities. It literally pays to stay up to date with these trends.
4. Follow A Robust Training Process.
Training requires that you follow a well-established standard of processes. You wouldn’t want to train your staff with outdated information or irrelevant training material so it’s only practical that you follow training guidelines that are designed, set-up, and are cumulatively augmented according to your business requirements.
The basic steps in your training process should consist of:
- Determine training needs
- Set training objectives
- Develop an action plan
- Carry out training activities
- Gauge and improve your training program
Make sure that you have a comprehensive onboarding program, which should have a segregated marketing component. This helps your newly hired staff to familiarize themselves with their role, as well as understand the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from which they’ll be measured.
By using the four fundamental elements that we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to using an adequate path for training your staff in marketing. Always keep your staff updated on any developments in marketing practices, principles, and tools that you adopt for your business. And at the end of the day, your staff are ultimately your best tools and your most precious investment.