In this article we will present you the advantages of joint training of sales and marketing teams in digital marketing with 100% focus on the specific company – starting situation, consumer behavior, digital channels, tools, consumer paths, KPIs, next steps. We’ve also provided some specific checklists to finish – how to approach and plan these trainings, as well as next steps to take.

You’ve probably read that many professionals are currently investing in knowledge on the topic of digital marketing. As well as that, many companies, including yours, are turning to digital marketing as an approach and as a toolkit to be able to adapt their business model to the current situation and to be ready for the new “normal” and be in the right place for growth when the time comes.

There are many things we don’t like in a “normal setting” – the renovations of the neighbors, the prices of some products … and if they are in the field of business – the presence of silos, a dividing line between the sales teams and the marketing teams. As a result, the great initiatives of one do not get the understanding or support of the other and vice versa. The positives of the current situation is:

  • Consumer behaviour is changing, and with it many of the communication channels
  • Companies and their professionals give higher priority to high-potential initiatives that require multiple teams working together
  • There is great visibility and demand for tools that allow for easier testing, channel validation, user behavior and upgrading

In this regard, we have chosen to tell you about several trainings we have held and will hold in the coming weeks – sales and marketing teams hand in hand in the direction of digital marketing.

Opportunity or crisis?

Why is this a great opportunity? Here are at least 3 reasons why – for the company, for the units and for the individual professionals:

  • Everyone will have the same focus at the moment
  • Everyone uses the same terminology
  • All have clarity on what and how can be achieved with digital marketing tools – from real time information through validation of audiences and interest in a specific company offering to the development and upgrade of specific direct or partner channels

Why do we think such trainings are becoming more in demand? Here are at least 3 reasons for this again through the lens of the company, the units and the individual professionals:

  • Digital interactions are becoming an integral part of consumers’ lives, and with it the channels for reaching, engaging, securing information, conversions and sales, and developing loyalty and follow-on sales.
  • Sales and marketing teams have the same business goals and it will increasingly not be acceptable for valuable marketing information to “die” because of confusion about how a channel works, because of unclear terminology or because of missed activities that would provide needed marketing information.
  • There will be more and more examples of successful companies where sales and marketing teams use their digital marketing competencies as a competitive advantage for the company. And this will fascinate many others.
  • Every professional strives for knowledge and skills that can make them more successful. Tailored training in the context of the company and the team in which they work adds skills at a team and company level much more quickly than individual training or self-training.

We have provided training to financial companies, pharmaceutical companies, FMCG companies, investment goods companies. After each training, the results are there – the companies’ project goals become bigger, clients want more and more data and real feedback from the market, they test their sales and marketing initiatives in much more detail before “boosting” them through their sales channels and in their marketing communications.

How do we prepare such a training?

The most important thing is to be clear where we are starting from and where we want to get to. Only then can we be sure to add value. More companies are choosing the option with advance preparation, which ensures preliminary meetings, going into detail, analyzing company examples, going over past or upcoming campaigns. Many companies also opt for follow-up facilitation, i.e., a meeting after a month or two when teams have applied the knowledge so they can analyze, plan, or build on an activity. Together, we analyze the results based on the learning patterns and the most applicable KPIs for the case.

Here’s a concrete example of the importance of digital marketing training for sales teams. Some time ago we conducted training for the sales team of Schneider Electric Bulgaria. We noticed that for some of the marketing initiatives they have their commercial point of view. And they looked with great interest at the marketing communications metrics, but they also looked for and found their own specific metrics. And quite logically – they had ideas on what could help them even more. But most interesting and useful for them was how they can assess the current status and help their specific key accounts regarding their digital marketing.

For Tess’ marketing team, we took advantage of the home office situation and conducted online training for over 10 people on their side on strategic planning in digital marketing. The topics were: assignment structure, analysis and execution of a digital campaign in relation to the business model and the situation the company is in. We had the opportunity to go through 2 days in different areas and answer over 25 very specific questions from brand managers for different markets. The important thing for them was that we gave them relevant answers on how to plan their marketing campaigns more effectively, taking into account the digital behaviour of their target audience. And of course – how to measure the right consumer behavior of their digital assets.

Here is a specific example that shows the value of such joint training. A year ago, Xplora’s manager had a planning meeting for an unfeasible training – a marketing manager for a company that wanted training for its marketing and sales team. The marketing manager was confident that based on previous training, the marketing and sales team knew what customer journeys were, how they were created based on actual consumer behaviour and should help to meet the company’s business objectives. She wanted training in social media only and specifically asked to review and prompted to point out the company’s successful social media posts. And there was what was observed – each post of the company – a short text and a link to a specific site, received an average of 2 to 3 likes, but always received between 50 and 55 shares. Pretty weird, especially considering it’s for every single post. Here, we can argue with high probability that this company’s agency was tasked with providing precisely shares as a measure of content success on the consumer trail. Upon closer inspection, it was apparent that most of the sharing accounts were accounts that shared similar content, hardly any content they created was found, and they received 1-2 likes on some of their shares. We’re sorry the training didn’t take place – by covering the key principles of digital marketing, as well as specific approaches and metrics – the company could have planned the right user journeys and achieved meaningful business, sales and marketing goals. And not the sales team wondering what are these 50 to 55 people who share their company’s articles, and almost no one likes the posts. Accordingly – there would have been many meaningful insights (actionable insight) for all upon detailed review of Google Analytics.

To finish – checklist whether and what kind of training

So, if you’re wondering whether you should organise a joint training for your sales and marketing team on digital marketing – here’s the checklist we’ve prepared for you. You will see that digital marketing is not just communications marketing at all:

  • How do you collect information about changes in user behaviour? And about the initiatives of competitors? And how do consumers react to your competitors’ offer? Can you use digital tools for more relevant, more actionable and more real time information, especially right now?
  • Have there been or do you anticipate significant changes in the distribution channels for your products and services? Do you know how you will find out which channels are “emerging” right now and how fast they are evolving?
  • Do you expect to see a shortening of the distribution chain – in many developed markets, marketing directors and sales teams point out that it is growing, and now the Direct-to-Consumer trend is increasing, and this is not just about classic goods, but any goods where the direct connection with consumers, and the ability to target or customize the offer are increasingly key to the company’s competitiveness.
  • Can you expect significant benefits if you plan the next initiatives jointly – marketing and sales team together? Will it affect better insight for consumers, will you have faster validated assumptions about target audiences, offer, market acceptance?
  • Did you test and validate through digital marketing for any of the last three campaigns any of the assumptions? How long is the time to test and get feedback from the market for such an initiative with you and can it be shortened in your opinion?
  • Do you have any assumptions that turned out to be wrong in the last sales and/or marketing initiative? Could you break this process down into phases – and “phase in” validated marketing information?
  • Do you have assumptions that you haven’t validated yet that have great potential? Can they be validated through digital marketing and for how long?
  • Would you divide the marketing budget into phases and allocate 10% to 20% for testing and validating marketing assumptions?

For further reading – macro and micro objectives and their division by teams

And as additional reading material – here’s an article by Joro Malchev for Regal magazine on macro and micro goals for marketing teams for large, as well as medium and marketing goals. You’ll discover why now, with the new realities of the coronavirus situation, it’s especially important for teams to have:
Clear macro goals that are shared across teams
Clear metrics for achieving macro and micro targets
Understanding what micro-goals you can and should have, so you don’t get into too much detail and “meddle” in the work of an internal or external team, but also how to form benchmarks for those micro-goals
Enjoy reading the article on macro and micro goals by team.

P.S.. We have recently held a seminar for over 1 100 people on Digital Marketing and PR hand in hand. Stay tuned for more details on this soon.