“Knowledge has a beginning, but no end.” Geeta Iyengar
Renowned yoga exponent Geeta Iyengar’s philosophy applies to every line of business - particularly product marketing.
Whether you’re an Associate Product Marketing Manager beginning your PMM journey, or an experienced Vice President of Product Marketing, the more knowledge you have under your belt, the better. If you have diverse soft and hard skills, you’re setting yourself up to progress further than those who don’t.
But critical essential PMM skills don’t just land in your lap - corporate training plays a fundamental role in honing your craft while you ascend the ladder of success.
In our guide, we’ll be:
- Defining what corporate training is
- Explaining why corporate training is important
- Outlining when you need to train your employees
- Explaining how Product Marketing Alliance can support you with corporate training
When you’re finished, you’ll understand why corporate training is instrumental in product marketing success and how we can help you accelerate your career. 😉
But for now, let’s go back to the basics.
What is corporate training?
Corporate training sessions are arranged by companies to support their employees in developing essential skills needed to perform their role to a high standard.
Why is corporate training important?
Organized, thorough training sessions can significantly improve the performance of your employees - as we said earlier, knowledge is power.
The benefits of corporate training don’t stop there either.
When companies invest time and money into improving their workforce, staff become more motivated and their morale is given a boost, paving the way for more cohesive company culture.
And you know what they say: A happy team is a productive team. It’s not rocket science.
Which brings us to our next question: when should employees be given training?
When should employees be given corporate product marketing training?
In product marketing, it’s commonplace for training to be arranged in the build-up to the launch of a new product or service. These sessions provide team members, often sales reps, with the fundamental information they need to sell effectively.
But training sessions aren’t reserved exclusively for the run-up to launch. They can - and should - be used all year round to ensure all your hard work is front of mind, and team members are continually refreshed on:
- How to use assets such as battle cards:
- How to apply your personas
- How to nurture prospects down the buying funnel, and so on.
Silvia Kiely Frucci, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Castor, formerly of Wilmington Healthcare, explained where she uses training sessions, and also gave an insight into her preferred method when carrying out the sessions:
“When I first joined Wilmington Healthcare, I had a team of three people working for me, but they’d never worked in product marketing before.
“They were experienced in marketing and working on campaigns, but they needed to understand technicalities of product marketing, so I organized a session to improve their understanding of those areas, whilst also ensuring I could get what I needed from them as PMMs. For example, how to use Excel in certain ways, and tools such as SurveyMonkey, etc.
“However, I find shadowing to be an extremely useful form of training, as people can see first-hand how experienced product marketers use skills in their everyday jobs. This can be easier than sitting down and training someone during a session. They may complete a rotation with the sales team for a few weeks, then customer engagement, then product, and so on. Then, in the end, you can bring all these new skills together.”
There are a variety of reasons internal training may be used depending on a company’s circumstances and requirements.
Launch of a new product
When a brand-new product is being launched, teams need training on the product itself, as well as insights into a range of areas, including:
- How the product works,
- What it does do,
- What it doesn’t do,
- How it’s positioned, etc.
Enhance cross-department understanding
Training is used to apply a consistent understanding throughout key teams/departments. By including multiple teams such as sales, design, and customer support in a process, this introduces much-needed consistency as far as tuition and understanding are concerned, allowing them to ask questions and reinforce their understanding if needs be.
For example, teams may need support around your product, during which time you may answer key questions, such as:
- How do you use it?
- How do you demo it for customers?
- How can you highlight key features for reps to help drive sales?
- Which methods can be used to share key information around segmentation, personas, and positioning?
- Which learning and development opportunities are on the table?
It’s advisable to consider training when you welcome new product marketing recruits to the team as part of their onboarding process, especially if they are coming in at entry-level. This’ll ensure they're up-to-speed with how your PMM function works - after all, no two product marketing teams are the same.
And remember, the onboarding element applies to recruits outside of product marketing too. You need to ensure any new team members in sales, customer success, product, marketing, etc. are all singing off the same hymn sheet.
So make sure you schedule that 1:1 sooner rather than later.
Repositioning and new personas
Sometimes, companies consider it necessary to change the image of their product, or brand entirely, to target a new or wider market.
Old Spice is a prime example of a company that invested heavily in repositioning its product to escape an unfashionable reputation.
The product was once associated with older men, and often the butt of the joke; check out this commercial from the 1980s.
Fast forward thirty years and the release of a now iconic advertising campaign repositioned the product and how the brand is perceived:
When a product is repositioned, its values and messages often change with it. Therefore, it’s important to conduct training to ensure old messaging isn’t being used, as this could detract from the new branding and speak to the wrong customers.
The market is continually changing, and your ideal customer will change with it.
The minute your personas alter, the word better run through the halls of your organization like wildfire. We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, when miscommunication and confusion strikes, this can (and most probably will) signal trouble ahead.
Do whatever it takes to make sure your team understands your previous personas are yesterday’s news; this could be one-to-one training sessions or group training sessions.
Remember, if you change your personas, your strategy needs to change with it, everything from the lingo in your marketing campaigns to the content you’re publishing.
If your content doesn’t resonate and isn’t relevant to your new personas, that'll impact your sales.
Sales assets are in the glue holding sales teams together. They prop reps up when they need inspiration and provide key information to nudge a customer over the line.
But like everything else, they don't stay the same.
If you make the slightest amendment to sales assets you provide your team or decide to replace them entirely, training is essential. What may seem like common sense to you may not be so obvious to someone else, and they’re the ones who’ll be on the phones speaking to the customers.
Palwasha (Sasha) Khan, Principal Product Marketing at League Inc., formerly Director of Product Marketing at Zipari, shared her top six tips for effective sales training.
A refresher course is a great way to consolidate the understanding of core principles, for yourself, as well as your team members.
These sessions can blow the cobwebs off team members' minds, and ensure that A) they understand the most up-to-date information, and B) are using it daily.
Get personalized support with Product Marketing Enterprise
Whether you’ve got skills gaps to fill, need to normalize the role of product marketing across your org, need to provide continuous learning opportunities, or unite everyone in your team onto a single narrative, we’ve got the ideal solution with Product Marketing Enterprise.
Stellar brands such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Zendesk have reaped the rewards of our expertise from our product marketing leaders, with each instructor an expert in their respective field.
We offer a range of flexible, tailor-made training options for PMM teams, management, and entire organizations to upskill, refresh or align organization-wide when it comes to product marketing.
Sign up, and you can pick and choose modules to suit your needs, with a breadth of product marketing topics available, including:
🧭 Positioning & messaging
🕵🏼♀️ Competitor intel
📈 Research & metrics
📖 Narrative design
💪 Sales enablement
Getting started is a piece of cake:
Step 1: Talk us through the areas you want to focus on and we’ll put together a bespoke course, 100% tailored to you.
Step 2: Once you’ve chosen your modules we’ll assign you the perfect product marketing expert to lead your sessions. Oh, and did we mention you can choose the duration of your course to fit around your busy schedule?
It’s the bee's knees, the creme de la creme, the real deal - just ask Rylan Morris, Director of Product Marketing at Vendasta. 👇
"A big theme at Vendasta this year is leveling up our marketing functions, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for our PMMs given that they're all very involved with the PMA community and already love the content.
"I subscribed and took the course initially, and since I was so impressed by the content, we purchased the course for each of our 10 team members.”
It’s in our DNA to help you and your peers become the best you can be - so whatcha waitin’ for - let us help you.Achieve PMM excellence