Why training your marketing team is important
In the not too distant past, B2B marketers were responsible for branding and communications. They created advertisements, brochures and publications, and they set up booths at events.
The skills required did not change too often. But it was incredibly difficult to track ROI, and marketing was seen as a function that “had to be done.” Whenever an organization’s finances tightened, marketers were the first to line up for layoffs.
Then the Web was born … and everything changed.
Today’s marketers are responsible for technology, demand generation, branding, communications, public relations, AR, content generation, thought leadership, sales promotion and much more. Business leaders expect marketers to track the impact of their efforts on pipeline revenue.
Marketing teams are responsible for proving that they generate huge amounts of pipeline in the business; yet these teams are having more difficulty than ever.
More than half of marketers (53.8%) say they don’t have an academic or professional qualification related to marketing of any kind, according to a survey shared on MarketingWeek.com. Additionally, among those who reported having a marketing degree, only 32.2% found it very useful.
And it’s no wonder: marketing is changing at breakneck speed. Marketers need to consider not only whether new strategies and platforms that crop up on a regular basis are strategic for the business (think TikTok and Clubhouse), but also whether the resources and budget are available to implement them.
No other department in your organization needs regular, defined and measurable training in the same way marketing does.
The impact of not strategically training your marketing team
By looking at the overall business challenges, organizations can see the cracks in their marketing teams and how those cracks are affecting their business as a whole.
Marketing teams have the highest turnover rate of any function in an organization, and the tenure of marketing directors is woefully low compared to their C-Suite peers.
Other challenges include the inability of organizations to differentiate themselves from the competition, poor quality leads, long closing times, sales deals that boil down to price discounts, poor customer retention, a misalignment between sales and marketing and the inability to measure the effectiveness of marketing.
Despite knowing all this, organizations don’t seem willing to make the same concerted efforts and investments in training their marketing teams as they are in training their sales teams.
Both are part of an organization’s revenue generation engine. Plus, marketing sets the story – the external narrative – for your entire business.
Here is a brief description of the previously mentioned challenges:
- Marketing team rotation costs your business a significant amount of money in the rehire and retraining processes, not to mention the knowledge lost when someone leaves.
- Lack of differentiation is a problem of positioning, messaging and branding; the marketing team is generally the backbone of the differentiation strategy.
- Poor lead quality is a direct result of your demand generation team’s efforts.
- Extended closing time means that your prospects don’t see the point of making your solution a priority. Solving this problem takes some effort between marketing and sales, but guess who provides the stories for sales?
- Price wars suggest that you haven’t positioned your products correctly or that you haven’t found the right market segment.
- Poor customer loyalty is generally a customer experience issue; Marketing is often called upon to be the backbone of the customer experience.
- Misalignment between sales and marketing can ruin your pipeline and B2B transactions.
- Inability to measure the effectiveness of marketing (or measure the right things) leads to layoffs, budget cuts and chaos within the marketing team which can turn into a vicious cycle, resulting in lower profitability.
Obviously, each of these issues involves several factors and could be discussed in detail, but it is hoped that the marketing teams…
- We ask to do a lot
- Directly affects the income and growth of a business
- Are under more pressure than other teams in your business to learn new things and quickly determine if those things fit the overall strategy
- Are the most visible part of your business in the market
So why don’t we give marketers the tools and training they need to be successful?
Even if you think you are training your marketing team …
In most organizations, training your marketing team works something like this: Marketing managers are given a small budget for employee development, and they distribute that budget among individual team members, leaving the individual to each member of the team. carefully decide how to spend it. Team members can go to an event or take a class … and that’s the extent of their training.
Do you see the problems with this scenario?
- First, this type of learning is not strategically aligned with the objectives and goals of the company (or perhaps even with the objectives of the marketing team); it is more focused on personal growth than on team growth.
- Second, there is no way to know if the time and money spent, no matter how small, is impacting marketing efforts.
- Third, because this is a bottom-up approach to education, there is no way to tell if your team members are learning the same methodology. They might come back from training with conflicting approaches.
Another common scenario is that a leader brings the team together to learn something new in a workshop. While this is a more strategically thought-out solution, it does not address the need for sustained learning over time. It also does not help team members grow in areas where they are weak, nor does it measure how they are progressing in their knowledge.
These scenarios can have many variations, but the main theme is that you are probably spending a tremendous amount of time and energy formally training your sales teams and wondering why you are not seeing the results you want.
The answer to this “why” is that the same dedicated and rigorous training applied to your sales team should also be applied to your marketing team.
Assessments, learning paths, modern learning modalities in a variety of mediums and careful measurement of this training and its impact on the business are essential to solving the biggest business challenges in B2B today.
I would say that marketing has After impact your business as sales. The members of your marketing team are the first voices your prospects hear. The customer experience marketers provide and the stories they tell create the foundation on which your sales team sells.
Please train your marketing team to be the rock stars we know they can be.
More resources on training your marketing team
How to Choose the Right Continuing Education Program for Your Marketing Employees
Skills enhancement: how professional development can improve business performance and employee retention
Four tips to effectively train your marketing team