Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crack Code for Business Success. And Why It Matters for B2B Marketing

Help your business partners grow.

That is the mantra of 21st-century business, done right. Gone are the days when competition and aggressive market tactics yielded results. Instead, cooperation and collaboration are increasingly rewarded today in the marketplace.

And no wonder! Some of the highest valued skills for millennials entering the job market are now tech savviness, the ability to do global business and to communicate across borders, according to this PwC report.

So get your collaborative hat on and roll up your sleeves, because you’re in for a nice little ride down partnership lane!

Gary Vaynerchuk said it first. The secret to his business success, he claims, is empathy. Empathy has led him to become an HR-driven CEO and to work towards mutually beneficial relationships between himself and his business partners.

Selling your products, Vaynerchuk says, depends on your understanding of what people want and need and giving it to them. In the day and age when no one business can be done successfully without partnering up, understanding your sales team, operators, distributors, and other suppliers seem kind of like Business 101.

And yet too few of us ever apply these lessons in their b2b marketing at all.

So how about trying to empower your sales team to have more meaningful interactions with their b2b customers, for a change? How about getting those b2b customers’ feedback and requests in real time? How about offering these people valuable know-how so that they grow their business or are able to do their jobs better?

The empathy that Vaynerchuk talks about will get you there. But it won’t do your work for you. So for that, what you need is to embrace a brand new, millennial-oriented technique from training. That is microlearning.

 

Use microlearning in your customer and partner-facing training programs. Here are a few ways to do that effectively.

Deliver content in small scale. Your learning sessions should be offered in small, specific bursts, or else it will never get through to people. By 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Their attention span is 90 seconds. If you want to ensure good communication between yourself and your sales reps, you need to cater to their interests. Set up a single learning objective per lesson and stick to it. Working with this fickle, high-minded generation requires you, as a business, to be of this generation and for this generation. Let them be in control of what they learn and where they do it. Nothing short of that will get them onboard. But if you do play by the rules, you’ll get sales teams that are true brand ambassadors and can easily act as experts for your b2b customers.

Diversify format – use videos. One of the many perks of microlearning is that it is adapted to various learning formats. Say goodbye to plain text and hello to images, videos, graphs, infographics and whatever else your mind can think of! Since 70% of millennials go to YouTube every month, the video is where you need to be as well. Videos will help humanize the entire learning process and they will be that immersive platform that will deliver an experience for your partners. Studies show microlearning videos should be no longer than 4 minutes. Also, make sure you have a max. of 120 words for every minute of video, for the optimal format. You don’t want to rain your viewers under with tons of information. You want them to remember the basic things and leave with a taste of what you are all about and how much value you deliver, for their business.

According to Microsoft, human attention span has went from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds nowadays.

Make it a two-way lane. People get excited when they have the chance to test what they have learned and get results, or get feedback. You can, of course, use the traditional questionnaire. But how about getting them to respond in the same vein? If you introduced your brand promise to your sales team via a video, get them to send back a video of themselves introducing the brand promise they have, as your partners and representatives. This will put the spotlight on them. It will turn the whole process into me journey and it will ensure each one of them feels valued and motivated to act as the interface between your company and your b2b customers.

Fill gaps in at the right time & place. When you’re always on the field, talking to people, time can move fast. Help your sales reps always be in the loop with the latest developments in the company & business strategy. In sales, information changes quickly and the best are usually the fastest to get to the customer. Support your teams out there by creating microlearning courses on areas they have pre-identified as crucial. Update those in real-time with push notifications or messaging to make sure no one gets left behind! Closing their next sale should go as smoothly as possible – and you are there to make that happen, at the tap of their finger.

L’Oreal recognized gaps in product knowledge across all its sales team so it created stylized web-based videos, which made in-depth product knowledge accessible and memorable for all sales people.

Go digital, or go home. Did you know that in this digital age, 58% of US employees report they’re not productive, despite using digital productivity tools? That means for a medium firm of approximately 1000 employees, you have a USD 10 million loss yearly, according to the International Data Corporation! Why is that? Well, we could go on and on listing the causes. But one of them sure is the lack of control. On the part of the user, mind you! Millennials are aching for more control of their digital experiences. They want the best results with minimal effort. They want exact what they want when they want it and where they want it. So, if you weren’t convinced by now, you can assume the ‘micro’-trend is on! Material that can be produced 300x faster than traditional learning and costs 50% less, says learning architect Ray Jimenez. Material that is relevant, available for consumption at the time of need and responsive to a rapidly changing work environment.

Domino’s pizza maker is an interactive, gamified micro course that teaches employees how to make pizza more quickly and accurately.

Know your brain science research. A recent Bersin by Deloitte study shows that the modern learner only has 1% of their time to devote to learning & development today. That equals roughly to 5 minutes every day, for a 40-hour work week. Compare it with the on average 31.5 hours of training/year for US employees and you have a bit of a problem. Empathy means knowing all of this and designing your messages so that they take it into account. It means respecting your partners’ time and money, as well as your sales people’s performance. Brain science has sown that people learn better when 1) study sessions are spaced over time and 2) when content is repeated over time. Design your microlearning content so that it allows for breaks in the study, moments of reflection and evaluation time. Optimize your b2b marketing strategy so that does not only offer valuable business savviness or know-how, but it does so in the most beneficial way for your partners.

The successful TED concept is a wonderful instance of microlearning. TED Talks approach complex subjects delivered in an easy to get, engaging manner.

Promote company culture. How you deliver and what you deliver speaks volumes about who you are as a company and as a brand. And there is nothing stronger than a well-respected brand when it comes to building mutually beneficial relationships in business. Take an active interest in delivering value to your partners and employees alike in as interesting a way as possible. Workplace culture will get a boost, by giving your sales team a sense of being respected and trusted. But your relationship with suppliers, operators, distributors, etc won’t be too shabby either! Your investing in them shows a company culture that people want to do business with. It proves how much value you put on your partners and that you’re willing to walk the walk.

Aim for engagement. Your goal is to let your employees and business partners know you are there for them. To open up the conversation. To have them give you relevant, targeted feedback. To make it a win-win thing. But what if they don’t engage? Well, a report by Software Advice indicates microlearning creates 50% more engagement. The company did the study on their own employees and apparently this is the way to go with training adult corporate learners. And it’s easily replicable for your business partners too. Forget about the multi-day sales training or boring materials that are supposed to do wonders for your partners’ business. 50% of the learning is forgotten within 5 weeks, in the first case, or never even accessed, in the second. Show people you care enough to offer them the ideal context for learning and trust that they will take whatever they need from it. Be there for them when they want you to and that will position you, as a business, in the best place to grow your and their revenue, alike.

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