Our Thinking


Uniting Marketing and Training for a Successful Launch

Luke Kempski

Marketers and training leaders share an important goal: to create a great customer experience. And when the two work together:

  • Content creation becomes easier
  • Branding becomes more effective
  • Efficiencies arise from shared knowledge and resources
  • Messaging falls into sync

This collaboration is especially important during new product launches. Unfortunately, only 38 percent of sales reps receive formal training for launches. This statistic “reveals a critical gap where marketing and sales teams need to come together to find a way to roll out new product messaging,” said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer for Corporate Visions.

Some companies, however, are reaping the benefits of collaboration between training and marketing teams. Here are three examples.

Example 1: Sheetz Workforce Training

Sheetz, a chain of convenience stores, launches new food and drink products every six to eight weeks. And that’s in addition to a vast selection of made-to-order items.

Successfully launching these products “starts with having a collaboration and common purpose,” says Sheetz’s Manager of Workforce Development, Sherry Hancock. “If it’s a food and beverage initiative, we’ll make sure that what we’re prescribing as a solution matches what our marketing and brand teams desire as well.”

Example 2: Aflac

Aflac is the United States’ largest provider of supplemental insurance, and one of the nation’s most recognizable brands. Its training solutions must not only educate agents about Aflac products, but also help them ask the right questions, match customers with the right offerings, and use consultative selling techniques to close sales.

“We are so blessed to have such a synergistic relationship with our marketing team. A lot of our development quite honestly is lock stepped together. They may have a concept and then we’ll make sure that that concept is reflective in our learning,” says Aflac’s Product Training Manager, Deidre Williams.

“The learner shouldn’t have to see the duck in a red suit on one piece of collateral and the duck laying down on something else. We make sure that it’s seamless.”

Example 3: Bridgestone

Bridgestone is one of the world’s top tire brands. To maintain this position, Bridgestone trains sales reps on its hundreds of products and brands. These reps usually work within independent dealers, which means they also sell competing brands. Effective training, therefore, must not only educate the sales reps, but also motivate reps to make the Bridgestone brand and its products top choice.

Bridgestone does this through an online training solution called “My Bridgestone Education.” The extensive curriculum blends training material with marketing messaging together in an accessible (and entertaining!) way.

The same applies to any product sold through a third party. Whether you offer products through a retailer, a distributor or an independent dealer, you can reap many sales benefits simply by educating your sales channel with the right learning solution.

How do you work with your marketing team to launch new products and support your sales team? What companies have you seen do this well? Let us know in the comments section.

Watch the full interviews with Aflac’s Deidre Williams and Sheetz’s Sherry Hancock

 

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