Business leaders need a diverse skill set to elevate their organizations and solve challenges in the workplace. Business acumen training can help your team build this tool kit.
In this article, we’ll explore the fundamentals of business acumen training. That includes who should participate in this training, the benefits of these programs, and the different types of courses available. Let’s dive in.
What is business acumen training?
Business acumen training explains the mechanics of running a business. Training topics include interpreting financial documents, using data to inform business decisions, and leading a workforce. You’ll also learn how to explain these complex concepts to others on your team.
Business acumen training is designed to help you understand how the whole organization functions — breaking beyond the silo of your specific role or department. After training is complete, you should be able to hold your own during meetings across the organization.
Almost all business acumen courses cover the same fundamentals, like working with financials. Training built for your specific company should explore additional topics specific to your business.
Think of business acumen training as a way to turn employees into leaders and strengthen your organization.
The Benefits of Business Acumen Training
Business acumen training can be helpful as you advance through the ranks of your organization. That’s especially true if you are new to a role or have not had a formal business education. Here are just a few of the most important benefits you can expect.
1. Business acumen training leads to versatility.
If employees understand how your organization runs, they will be more versatile. This can be especially helpful in sales.
While prospects should be able to find information on your website and other resources, your sales team needs to take a consultative approach. Business acumen training can teach your sales reps how to better understand your prospects. As a result, your team will be more equipped to understand customers’ desires and pain points.
This aspect of business acumen training helps employees understand the sale from both ends of the transaction.
2. Business acumen training improves collaboration.
Business acumen training can help team members understand how their decisions affect the rest of the organization — both now and in the future. After training is complete, your team should be able to understand colleagues across departments, increasing collaboration.
Better collaboration means team members are on the same page and their efforts synergize rather than cannibalize each other.
3. Proper business acumen training leads to proactivity.
While you can’t plan for everything, teams should seek to be as proactive as possible and prepare for the future. However, in many businesses, decision-making tends to be reactionary.
Staying ahead of the curve can make or break an organization. Business acumen training can make that a standard, not just an ideal. After training is complete, employees will more frequently make decisions with the future in mind.
Who needs business acumen training?
While every employee might benefit, savvy leaders will focus business acumen training efforts on key players. This is especially true when implementing business acumen training for the first time.
Here are a few types of employees that benefit the most from training.
Start with your sales team. These reps need to understand what your prospects want and what they don’t. Business acumen training can help salespeople understand how to turn prospects into customers.
Anyone on the technical side of your business can also benefit from business acumen training. Often, technical professionals are siloed within their departments. Business acumen training gives these employees the perspective they need to make informed decisions. This can be especially true of your product teams.
Of course, other team members can benefit from business acumen training. These are just two of the most important groups you should start with. Your organization is unique, so only you can determine who needs training.
How to Deliver Business Acumen Training
Business acumen training takes many forms — from workshops to online courses to mentorship programs. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. To pick the right program, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
Here are three common approaches to business acumen training.
1. Strategy Workshops
If you’re looking to train a large group of your employees, consider strategy workshops. These sessions are guided by an instructor, often including slides and other supplemental materials.
Workshops can give the same knowledge to different groups in your business. If you’re looking to unite different departments under one strategy, this may be a successful training technique.
Your business will run smoothly when every employee follows the same strategy. As a result, your employees are more likely to work toward the same goal with fewer miscommunications and bottlenecks.
Best for: Achieving alignment in a large group setting.
2. Business Simulations
Business simulations are hands-on, interactive training experiences. During these sessions, teams will work through a hypothetical business scenario to put their learnings to the test. This can be especially helpful when building a business plan or assessing financials.
Business simulations bring textbook business concepts to life, giving your team the closest thing to hands-on experience.
Remember to pair your simulations with more formal learning sessions. Concepts should be introduced and explained before being put into practice.
3. Manager Rotations
A versatile employee is a high-value employee. One of the best ways to create versatile employees is to rotate your managers. Rotating managers can provide key team members with insight into the entire organization if done correctly. The time and money invested can pay off when you end up with managers who know your business inside and out.
Business Acumen Training Courses
Still not sure where to start? Consider a business acumen training course. These programs range from marketing to web design and everything in between.
Here are a few useful business acumen training courses from HubSpot to get you started. The best part? They’re all free! Consider these topics before wading into the deep end.
Every person in your business needs to know how to deliver an excellent customer experience. While not every role interacts with customers directly, everyone should have the skills if the occasion arises.
HubSpot Academy features a free course that covers these customer support skills. This course can help any team member deliver world-class customer service, from managing time to analyzing specific cases.
Contending with changes in your industry and clientele isn’t easy. Competition adds an even more complex angle to this challenge. So what can you do to retain your position in the market?
Well, HubSpot offers a course that teaches you how to create a competitive strategy. You’ll learn how to take crucial steps to build a powerful advantage.
Whether it’s right now or far in the future, you’ll want to scale your business. One of the best ways to do that is to optimize your revenue operations.
HubSpot’s free Revenue Operations Certification Course can help. This program will distill the knowledge you need to make beneficial changes in your business.
The best problem-solving happens in conjunction with critical thinking. There are no exceptions, and every team member should have critical thinking skills. But how can you teach that skill?
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to. This HubSpot course teaches critical thinking and ties it to problem-solving. This is important, if not essential, for everyone in your organization. Without critical thinking, problems can remain unsolved for any amount of time.
Building a Business Acumen Training Program
By now, you should have a good idea of what business acumen training is and what it takes. So what will you do next?
Pick a few business acumen training courses that will benefit your sales team. Start here to teach your reps the ins and outs of your organization. Then, scale your program to other departments. Soon, you’ll be on your way to a collaborative organization.