ARTICLE: HOW eTRAINING PROGRAMS CONTRIBUTE TO MORE EFFICIENT AGENCY ONBOARDING AND PRODUCTIVITY GAINS, WHILE FOSTERING BETTER CLIENT SKILLS
The COVID-19 pandemic made us revisit how we do business, including how to work from home and operate our daily work lives without the benefit of in-person interactions. Yet, leveraging interactive technology as an alternative means of communication isn’t new to the personal development and training world. Location-based training events, especially those requiring costly travel and considerable schedule coordination, have been increasingly phased out, making room for more efficient, easy-to access and convenient eTraining solutions. With eTraining, agencies and client teams have access to relevant and secure online training anytime, anywhere, whether at home or on the go. It allows brand advertisers to train far more people, faster and cheaper, via on-demand resources available 24/7. This is a rather compelling substitute for traditional in-person trainings.
Knowing the audience for an eTraining curriculum or course is crucial to its success. The type of information provided and how it is provided will be based on the requirements of that audience. As it relates to client/agency relationships, brand advertisers handle two primary audiences:
1. Marketing stakeholders: defined as the individuals inside the organization responsible for managing the work and the relationship with the agencies they rely on to get the work done. Agency-facing marketers fulfill six major duties that I refer to as ACTION (check out my earlier article on Mastering Agency Relationships). Those range from clarifying SOW expectations to influencing great work with actionable input. To master these agency responsibilities, specific eTraining modules on building or simply strengthening these skills can be provided to them.
2. Agency partners: defined as the staff at roster agencies who are expected to interact regularly, if not daily, with the client to get their work done. Some of these agencies can be entirely new to the client and require a comprehensive onboarding of all their staff. Others may not be new to the client, but the resources assigned to their business might be, as a result of turnover and reallocation of agency staff. These newly assigned resources may still need to be onboarded with specific eTraining modules such as brand guidelines.
Training modules are individualized to specific agencies or specific roles to ensure only relevant modules are offered to training participants. Training modules are often built leveraging existing documentation and resources like videos, training aids and other existing company assets, and can easily accommodate simple to more complex requirements.
Advertisers have a vested interest in providing comprehensive, up-todate and timely access to relevant procedures and processes that will ensure everyone remains in full compliance with company guidelines and policies. When there is high talent turnover, either on the client or the agency side (or both), you have many individuals spending countless hours chasing down information, getting half-baked answers to their questions and, as a result, potentially wasting valuable time and money.
For internal clients, advertisers focus on offering professional skill development training to promote healthy and effective client practices when working with agencies. eTraining for agencies and internal clients provides the following benefits:
• Efficiency and productivity gains: the knowledge acquired by client and agency teams alike contributes to more efficient output, enhanced collaboration, and teamwork. Thanks to always-on, anywhere, anytime (24/7) training, time is better spent overall, when it’s most convenient to the participants, allowing everyone to learn more and move on quickly to focus on the work itself.
• Reduced waste and inefficiencies: the more traditional, manual or in-person agency onboarding may have previously taken weeks or months, taxing agency resources and client budgets. No more costly on-site training and travel expenses. No more searching for PowerPoint decks or PDF files archived on the team’s drive (to discover they’ve been misplaced or are outdated). No more endless phone calls or back and forth emails with coworkers to simply track down resources like production guidelines or to find out how to comply with certain policies. No more redoing work because of poor information sharing. eTraining shortens that learning curve and reduces unnecessary expenses.
• Improved compliance and performance: easier, broader, and more economical access to training on company policies and guidelines allows agency staff to get “client-ready” within days after starting work on the account. Interactive module-style content ensures full comprehension of training materials and contributes to greater compliance. Performance improves immediately.
Who doesn’t want a trained marketer who knows how to act as an effective client with their agency? And who doesn’t want an agency with staff who are immediately onboarded and know how to operate efficiently and in full compliance with company policies?
eTraining modules are designed to equip client and agency teams with the knowledge they need to operate as productively as possible. Learning modules can also nicely complement inperson training activities as hands-on exercises in group events that are difficult to replicate in an online environment.
Thankfully, in most organizations, the benefits of eTraining are well understood. By investing in this type of partnership building capability, brand advertisers enable faster and easier access to content needed by their organization and their agency partners so they can do their best work.
By: Bruno Gralpois, Co-Founder & Principal, ANA Faculty
Published on: March 30th, 2020