One of the most important activities of the training department is, the promotion and marketing of its products. So many times we get wrapped up in training people, developing new training programs, and testing, etc, that we lose sight of the big picture. We need to look back and define our own role and responsibility to the organization. What is our role in the organization? To provide training programs and services that support the marketing and sales effort. Yes, we are internal consultants, who provide service and support to the marketing and sales group. As internal consultants, we need to view the organization as our clients and customers. They are the end-users of the products and services that we provide. We are out there everyday promoting the importance of customers to our salespeople, but, do we understand that Importance?
Most of the organizations that we work for produce products and services that are purchased. We spend a lot of time and money helping our salespeople find the proper fit, for those products and services, into the customer’s needs. But, when was the last time that we looked at our own programs and services to see how well they fit our internal customer’s needs. Do we develop training programs that are specific to needs? Do we market, promote, and merchandise our training programs to our customers? All too often we get into a rut, and take our customers for granted. If they want training programs, well, we are the only show in town. Wrong, when we do not fulfill people’s needs, we are not doing our job. We personally think that most training departments are sensitive to their customer’s needs, and try to accommodate their people with programs and services that do the job. For those departments that don’t think that way, well stop and rethink about it for a minute. Now let’s say that we are sensitive to our client’s needs, we communicate regularly with them, we develop programs that they ask for, well, that should be enough, wrong. That’s only half the battle. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t market it effectively, it won’t sell. We need to market our products and ourselves continuously. It’s not just enough to develop the best programs around or provide the best services, if you don’t advertise, they won’t sell. Treat your department as if you were running your own business. What can you tell your internal clients that will help promote your business? What types of good things are you doing? Is it enough to tell people, or do we need to go a step further? We find that telling people formal communications is a great way to let everyone know what we are doing, however, we can do more. We need to market ourselves and our programs within the organization. All of us receive loads of e-mails, and snail mail each week promoting training programs and services. We need to treat our programs and services in the same fashion. We need to market these programs as if we were going to sell them on the open market. To do that, we need to package and merchandise these programs and services in a very appealing manner. Program design and packaging need to be second to none in appearance, attractive, well designed programs that have the look and feel of quality. From the type of binders used, to the type size of the printing, and quality of paper, to the graphics and visual quality of DVD’s or e-learning programs. Let’s not forget the content; above all, it must be the best that we can possibly achieve. But a high quality program alone is not enough to ensure success. The way that we market and advertise the program is what will make the difference. If we use classy selling aids, such as colorful brochures, newsletters, etc. to promote these training programs we will be even more successful. Good selling or visual aids, similar to those junk mail ones that you receive, can make a difference. The good junk mail brochures are ones that are not overly wordy, and that are straight to the point and eye catching. We have used many of these brochures successfully for both product and skills training programs. We have also been able to use them to sell workshops, such as preceptorship programs. You can put these brochures on your LMS or even e-mail them to everyone. The results have been outstanding, we have found that after circulating these programs, we get a great response not only from our clients, not only for the programs, but also for more information on how we can work together with them on future programs. Marketing and promoting the training department is one of the best ways to ensure lasting success of one of the most important departments in the organization, try it, and good selling!
A U. S. Air Force veteran and MBA, the author has spent over thirty-five years in the business world in sales and sales management positions for the pharmaceutical, consumer products and publishing industries. The bulk of Vince’s experience is in the pharmaceutical industry, where he has held the positions of National Sales Manager and Sales Training Director for some of the largest corporations in the world.