Your sales reps play an important role in getting your brand and content in front of the right people — especially on social networks. But what if we told you that despite your best efforts, you may be missing a key group that can help amplify your messaging to an even larger network of people?
This is where internal empowerment programs come in. They can help you maximize the reach and impact of your content and support broader marketing initiatives, while also reaffirming your brand’s expertise, unique positioning and value propositions.
Your organization may have a “referral program” or an “internal advocacy group” designed to create a thriving and passionate community of employees. But internal empowerment programs have a more distinct impact on the marketing division, helping you:
- Drive adoption of new marketing, demand generation and sales practices
- Improve internal team communication, collaboration and goal-setting
- Amplify brand reach and reaffirm overall positioning
- Maximize content amplification and performance
Regardless of your focus, there are a few key steps and best practices you should apply to craft a killer empower program.
1. Set your goals.
This may seem like a big “well, duh” moment, but you’d be surprised how many organizations are not strategic in their employee empowerment and advocacy efforts. They spend big bucks rolling out new technology or large-scale transformation initiatives, only to have their investments fall flat. Before you get started building your program, you need to ask: What exactly are we trying to do here?
A good way to establish your goals is to first look at what’s ailing your organization. Is the rest of your team looped in on marketing’s big campaigns or branding projects? Are your teams living and breathing the same best practices you’re promoting to current and potential buyers? Are your employees actively promoting your brand’s content and thought leadership to help you achieve your goals? Once you identify what needs to be fixed, you can start to develop your strategy.
2. Identify your leaders.
Select one or two leaders within each department. These executives should serve as key influencers for your program by helping you promote the assets, tactics, best practices and thought leadership you’re trying to disseminate through your organization. Have ongoing meetings (either weekly or monthly) with them to better understand these different departments, their day-to-day struggles and what they need to succeed. Brainstorm ideas around what content, resources or training different departments will need to stay engaged and buy into specific practices or campaigns.
3. Cultivate a culture of collaboration.
Beyond your meetings with department leaders, you should communicate to all teams that you want to hear their thoughts, opinions and honest feedback. This could be around a big-picture brand initiative or a specific marketing campaign. For example, if you want to improve the success of a marketing campaign, you should always encourage the content marketing, product marketing, field marketing, social, PR and events teams to collaborate, share ideas and develop a final execution plan. When you do, you encourage your marketing organization to plan on a larger scale. Rather than designing a series of one-off assets, you’re extending a marketing message across all departments for a comprehensive, multi-touch initiative.
4. Create supporting assets and training materials.
To keep your team members engaged and excited about a new program or initiative, you should create a series of supporting assets. Embrace a variety of different formats to pique their interest and appeal to different learning styles. You also can adapt your content to your team’s workload and timelines. For example, developing detailed playbooks or educational programs can take a lot of time and, in turn, can be daunting for your team. Instead, start small by designing a series of cheat sheets, slide decks or holding open webcasts or digital roundtables. You can always scale up or build more content over time.
5. Make it easy to spread the word.
When a new asset is about to launch, spread the word via email, your company’s intranet or any other hub your organization uses to share information and resources. Share the final link, along with supporting social images and posts they can easily copy and paste into the network of their choice.
6. Practice what you preach.
Perhaps the most important of all best practices: You need to make sure you and other program leaders are applying the rules and methods you’re relaying to the rest of your team. If you want your team members to better collaborate on content ideas and execution, make sure you do the same. Or if you want your team to implement specific marketing best practices, you and your team should be the first ones on board. If you don’t, your fellow employees will quickly catch wind and simply ignore everything you say and every asset you share.
As your program progresses, you may acquire a lot of feedback and learn that specific changes or improvements need to be made. It’s important that you’re open to all types of feedback and willing to refine your program over time. That way, you’re constantly supporting your colleagues as their needs change.
Download our Real-Time, Buyer-Focused Content Marketing Handbook to learn more about employee empowerment and sales enablement programs.