The situation with internal Marketo Engage training programs

James T Fletcher
CEO, Principal Consultant


This post explores the content of our webinar on developing a long-term Marketo Engage training strategy on August 5th 2021. You can also watch the full webinar on-demand.

We’re all about sharing skills, knowledge, and expertise. 

However, we’ve also seen some interesting ideas around onboarding and upskilling in Marketo Engage based only on peer-to-peer training and teaching.

What do these in-house scenarios look like, in our experience? 

1- You save cash on training costs 

You’re constantly in a rush to get content put together and running through your Marketo Engage machine. All the elements, like design work, development, and licenses, add up to a sizable portion of your marketing budget. 

Why purchase training if you already have someone who knows how to use the platform? Done in-house, you know that the training will be geared towards the way your staff is using the platform.

We think…

Though there are cost savings in the short term when you start training in-house, what often happens is that businesses end up back at square one the moment their internal expert leaves. 

Due to the here-and-there nature of most in-house training, team members left without an expert amongst them are often missing the key skills to manage a Marketo Engage instance themselves, or to train newcomers properly. 

The last resort in this situation is often to outsource the work that staff can’t manage themselves, which can be costly – and your staff would still need that training!

2- Staff feel more confident using your Marketo Engage instance

Keeping training internal means that you can bypass all the complex information and features that your business doesn’t really use. Day-to-day users of Marketo Engage are unlikely to need access to Admin features, for example, and don’t need to cover ALL of Marketo’s functions. 

Instead of overwhelming staff with a structured course covering everything there is to know, trainers can pick and choose what aspects of the platform the team will actually be using.

We think…

To some extent, this is true. Not every team member needs Admin access. We’d actually discourage that! 

The real issue is that it’s hard for someone on the inside to judge what to cut out of a standard course criteria without running the risk of some major program flaws – especially if the person making the call is unfamiliar with best practice or was never trained by Adobe-approved experts in the first place.

For example, some staff may only be expected to create and send emails. You might train them to do the very basic tasks first, which does make sense as a foundational step.

But without the follow-on knowledge of the wider functions of Marketo Engage, it’s easy to have false confidence in the work you are doing being absolutely correct or unimprovable.

It also sets up a bind if you decide to update your utilisation of the platform later on. Without knowing exactly who can do what, it’s difficult to make changes or adjustments to the way your campaigns are set up without investing in additional stopgap training. 

3- Employees save time by learning on the job

The team expert is squeezed for time, but commits to putting an hour a week towards training new staff in Marketo Engage. 

Though there’s a lack of formal documentation or references, team members will be using the skills in practice and learning as they go. Even better, your day-to-day tasks will also get done at the same time.

We think….

While you can save some time by training in-house during real tasks, training a whole team in this way can quickly become a full-time role for more senior staff members; the expert-level tasks that fall to them often suffer. Additionally, showing staff how to do a task doesn’t strictly mean they understand it!

A bottleneck around the in-house expert is something we see very often. Despite occasional training, frequent general mistakes and errors mean that all campaigns and emails end up requiring QC. That then takes up even more expert-level execution time, and things usually quickly fall apart when that staff member is out of office!

Very few people can learn just by watching a demonstration, and not every team expert has time to create, check, and provide feedback for junior members that are learning. And putting a complete newbie to the Marketo dashboard unsupervised can be disastrous for your campaign quality!

As the number of hours of completed tasks in Marketo Engage actually goes down due to the huge draw of resources for internal training, we often ask – was doing it in-house really worth it?

Why structured, trackable, best-practice training is the way to go

You’ll notice that all these benefits of in-house training are hamstrung by what inevitably becomes a knowledge silo. Benefits are often reliant on very few people taking on a lot of additional responsibility – likely your key platform users – to manage onboarding and training other staff. 

That’s an incredibly stressful position for them to be in, as well as a dangerous position for any marketing team to be in if that expert decides to seek other opportunities!

Our Adobe-partnered, fully-online training courses can relieve the stress from your in-house experts. 

As well as gearing your training towards your unique instance, we also offer one-on-one feedback from our own certified experts, a mix of assignments, theory and quizzes, and a high-level dashboard so managers can oversee progress. 

Watch our full webinar on developing a top-class internal training strategy, or get in touch now for a bespoke quote on training for your team.