Does this sound familiar?
Someone from your team attends a sales and marketing conference for a few days only to return with an Instagram feed full of cocktail events and selfies with peers from other companies. Upon return, his or her day-to-day duties replace the actionable business plan that should have been implemented with the lessons learned from the conference.
An investment of time and money is justly required to educate employees but often, sales and marketing conferences don’t seem to deliver immediate or lasting business value for the money.
But what do you do?
There is an option. Instead of sending a member of your team to typical sales and marketing conferences, why not bring the conference to you?
EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS
“Executive Education” is growing concept in the sales and marketing world in which a Professor or industry expert(s) is hired to develop a custom educational program for key members within a department, from C-Suite to managers, to front-line employees.
Instead of sending a member of the team to an industry event to listen to 30-minute sessions from their peers (likely just selling their services) you have the benefit of a comprehensive educational program designed to educate AND leave a blueprint for the team to follow.
This scenario is nothing new for corporations.
Many businesses hire outside firms or empower internal HR teams to train managers on best practices in managing personnel, conducting a job interview, or even how to train-the-trainer.
How many of you managers have attended a Myers Briggs training session?
For some reason, on-site educational programs employed in HR, customer service, and other operational departments have not translated to the sales and marketing teams consistently.
But that’s changing.
The Rutgers Business School, for example, offers an Executive Education program for corporations (for which I’ve been fortunate enough to have been an Adjunct Professor).
The “mini-MBA” courses are custom multi-day on-site educational programming for marketing groups within your organization delivered by industry experts. Each, designed to upgrade the skill of multi-levels of your team, provides an actionable blueprint for the broader team to follow post-graduation.
Sensei Marketing offers an advanced on-site, Influence Marketing Executive Education course for sales and marketing teams.
The unique approach taken here is to combine a sales and marketing consultation with a post-graduate level educational program. It’s designed to improve the results your sales and marketing team achieve in the short and long-term.
BENEFITS OF EXECUTIVE EDUCATION
There are many benefits to these on-site executive education programs over traditional sales and marketing conferences.
Unlike traditional conferences where session content is high level due to the short-time frame of the presentation (or lack of practical experience by the presenter), Executive Education programs are in-depth and go beyond theory, drilling down to practical learning and offering a workable blueprint for sales and marketing success.
Cost-Effective & Convenient
Often, a full team can be trained on-site for the travel, admission, and per diem costs of just a few members travelling to a professional industry event.
Further, the additional time away from the office adds opportunity costs to the balance sheet.
Communication and workflow improvements are often experienced after such Executive Education programs since they act as team-building exercises.
In addition to the individual learnings, attendees are challenged to problem solve as a group through shared and learned experiences.
Improve Bottom Line
The group dynamic of problem-solving real business challenges, guided through the practical learning and moderation of an education and industry expert, drives real-world results.
The theory shared at traditional sales and marketing conferences is replaced by an actionable marketing plan the entire team can follow immediately after graduation.
When done right, a corporate Executive Education program is delivered by industry experts who are also educators.
It’s one thing to stand up in front of a group of peers sharing your thoughts and experiences; it’s another to develop a custom training program designed to specific learning outcomes that have immediate impact on the business.
Further, practical experts deliver a program based on real-world experience (successes and failures), and can answer questions based on that practical experience beyond their understanding of marketing theory.
I’ve been on many sides of this equation myself.
Over the past 15 years, I’ve travelled the world participating in these conferences, both as a keynote presenter and an attendee.
I’ve also had the opportunity to send employees to these same conferences as an educational vehicle to help augments their skills, with the hope that they’d apply that new found education to our business.
In almost all cases, whether it was me or an employee attending, the returning business-value was limited.
As I mentioned earlier, Executive Education programs are not new for corporations but surprisingly limited for sales and marketing departments.
It’s time that changed.