The Most Important Element of Your Employee Handbook

Lots of companies invest money and resources in the creation of employee handbooks. These valuable tools usually dive deeply into rules, regulations, mission, policy and conduct, but often ignore what might be the most important category of all – marketing.

Any employee that comes into contact with a prospect or client is performing a marketing function. The question is, do they know how to perform that marketing function in a way that represents the organization accurately and positively.

Business owners must add marketing training as a major component of the ongoing development of every member of the staff. This includes new hires as well as routine, perhaps quarterly, all hands sessions.

Below are the kinds of things that need to be worked into the marketing training of your staff.

Here’s how to spot our ideal client

Write a paragraph that paints a vivid picture of the kind of client you seek, including the kinds of problems or challenges they are experiencing that make them right for you.

Here’s how to present our unique point of differentiation

Give your staff a simple, yet compelling, way to introduce what your firm does that’s unique. This is your core marketing message packaged in an elevator pitch kind of way.

Let them practice this in role-playing situations until they are comfortable delivering it in an authentic manner.

These are the trigger phrases for our prospects

People rarely walk around saying they need your product or service. What they do, however, is lament the lack of something, talk about specific problems or state an aspiration.

Instead of saying I wish I had some new accounting software they say things like I can’t ever get a handle on my receivables.

Your entire staff should know the most common things people actually say that would indicate they could be an ideal prospect.

These are our brand standards for images, colors and type

It’s funny how much time and money the marketing department might spend on getting the color and font just right, but then everyone else in the business that creates communication just wings it.

The best way to adhere to brand standards is to make them internal as well as external. Train everyone on the use of color, type and images and demand that they adhere to these standards in internal communication. This will ensure that everyone is consistent in the use of the visual elements of your marketing.

This is our current lead generation campaign

Show off your latest ads, direct mail creative and offers that are being put out in every medium. Make sure that your entire staff can talk about your current promotions.

Not only does this allow them to feel more engaged in the marketing, it equips them to talk about it when asked.

Here’s how we educate and serve our customers

Make sure the entire staff is required to read the company blog, understands all of the educational content, attends your online training and routinely takes a shift answering customer service calls.

Here’s how to refer a prospective client or employee

Make employee referrals an expectation and place appropriate emphasis on it by turning it into a game with a clear set of rules and way to win.

All of the education done in the previously mentioned steps will make this a natural focus.

Here’s how we measure marketing success

Show your staff how to know if they are winning the game. Share the key strategic indicators your organization uses to measure success. Teach them what these indicators mean and help them dig in and find a way to tie what they do to one or more of these numbers.

If you can get every employee to realize the way their day-to-day contribution is added to a key indicator of success and ultimately to the overall success of the organization you give them a way to connect everything they do with success.

Now cutting cost in their department can contribute to lowering the client acquisition cost.

Every business is a marketing business and all employees, trained in this manner, can become contributing members of the marketing team, no matter their job title.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Phil Gerbyshak

    This is something I have never thought of before in onboard requirements. Makes great sense.

    • ducttape

      I just think it makes total sense, but few people really think about it – my advice is to make it a quarterly all hands meeting event.

  • Sally Falkow

    And one more – here’s how we interact with customers and prospects on social media platforms.  It’s vital to train all employees how to interact on social media

    • ducttape

      Yep, that’s a good one to add Sally

  • local business search

    Hi John,
    This really something which no one has even an idea about it.
    we should try it.

  • Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Social media has potential for real-world changes (and in many ways, already has proven itself in that regard. So we have to make sure that we teach our employees on how to use social media….

  • AJ

    Great tips John!
    This can be a fundamental list to make sure a small business have covered their bases.
    We have to educate our employees the same way we would a prospect.
    Most of these key items are missed by big companies also. The disconnect between marketing, sales, and every other department in the company.
    This should be added to your employee strategy, and give someone responsibility & accountability for the implementation.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Carmen Sognonvi

    Such great food for thought, John! Right now at our martial arts school we’re covering the basics with our staff, but I’m now realizing there are so many more aspects we can delve into. And I have a feeling that the more they understand the bigger marketing picture, the more excited and motivated they’ll be.

  • KarenKefauver

    Excellent article only thing missing from this story is the heading – Here’s how we use social media and conduct ourselves on social networks!

  • Jerry Rizzo

    Nailed it John!  You recommend a great method for presenting differentiation.  It’s so important to arm your employee with an elevator pitch for your company’s unique services.  This allows you to unleash knowledgeable ambassadors and potential lead generators into the world.  Believe it or not, there are employees who are not in tune to what their company actually does.  This is great stuff.  You should visit The Dotted Line at and engage with the entrepreneurs and pros in that community. 

  • Angela

    I have often the marketing strategy should be shared with the entire organization and not that employees learn of it from the media.  Once all employees have ‘bought-in’  to the strategy they will want to be an integral part of the achievement.