Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign (Steps + Checklist)

Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign (Guide to Get Started)

Want to design a cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign that increases revenue month over month? This MJBiz article details how-to create a strategic training plan that utilizes Brand Ambassadors to their maximum potential.

Gain practical information to measure the success of your cannabis brand’s Budtender training campaign and insights on tools that facilitate training campaign success like a cannabis Learning-Management-System (LMS). Access a step-by-step Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign creation checklist.


In our last post Cannabis Brand Ambassador Revenue (Strategy + Calculator) we began to look at the role of the Brand Ambassador and how cannabis brands are not making the most of the position’s potential impact on revenue. Cannabis brands are missing out on revenue growth because the wrong key performance indicators are being measured and tactics that build capacity are not implemented thoughtfully.  

Pop-ups and in store product demos help brand awareness and sales for the day but they do not have the largest long-term return-on-investment. In our opinion, pop-ups and in store product demos should be an activity done by a separate position such as a Field Representative. The Field Representative should work in tandem with a Brand Ambassador, the person that trains the Budtender. Separating the roles streamlines operations and produces better results.  

Brand Ambassadors Are Budtender Trainers
We view Brand Ambassadors as trainers. In our opinion, it is the job of a cannabis Brand Ambassador to facilitate one-to-many sales by developing relationships with, training, and encouraging Budtenders. When a Brand Ambassador is succeeding Budtenders are empowered to make authentic product recommendations that result in sales and revenue growth. It’s the job of the Brand Ambassador to deliver training through a variety of tactics such as in-person conversations, interactive software that details the brand and its products, exclusive Budtender events, and more. It’s also their job to measure the impact of the training messages delivered via comprehension and proficiency. The measurement of training delivered, what is working, and what is not working, is what will result in Budtenders making recommendations every day.

The skill set needed by a Brand Ambassador that is going increase a cannabis brand’s capacity to sell more product via the real training of a Budtender is vastly different than that of an individual that stops by to hand out swag and/or treats during pop-up demos or that performs drive by shift change “trainings”.

Most Brand Ambassadors view their “trainings” as one and done activities. Brand Ambassadors will share things like “I spoke with the Budtender. They know the product. They smiled back at me and nodded their head when I explain the details and said they’d tell customers about it”. For all we know the Budtender they were speaking with could have been thinking about their dog, kids, washing their car, or having no thoughts whatsoever. Assuming a Budtender can be trained by having a conversation that lasted a few minutes is just silly and wasteful of company resources.

A cannabis Brand Ambassador’s training productivity and success can truly be assessed using the metrics below not the vanity metric of how many Budtenders they spoke to that day:

  • Sales growth rate/ Dispensary visited by Brand Ambassador
  • # of Product Units sold by Budtenders (not the Brand Ambassador during pop-ups)/ Dispensary
  • # of Budtenders trained/ # of Budtenders engaged with the brand
  • Market share represented by the dispensaries covered by a Brand Ambassador/ Field force cost of the Brand Ambassador
  • ROI on incentives/ sales
  • Market share

All of the above are measurable metrics associated with:

  • Effectively delivering training messages to Budtenders
  • Proficiency of training messages delivered
  • Positive Patient/ Customer brand and product perception


Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training When to Get Started

When to Start Creating a Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign
We are in an exciting industry where every company is flying the plane as they build it. We make no assumptions that cannabis brands are coming online thinking “Hey, one of the first things we need to do is create a Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign”. While Brand-to-Budtender training campaigns are needed the idea is pretty laughable that it’s a top priority when teams need to be hired and trained (which EpicHint also automates), product needs to be grown, manufactured, extracted, packaged, lab tested, etc. Finding the time to add the ‘Create Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign’ task on the to-do list may seem daunting but it needs to get done in order to get the best ROI on all the to-do items that came before.

We suggest starting the process of creating your Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign before product goes to the lab. When product comes back from the lab put the final touches on your training using your third-party verified cannabinoid and terpene content information (we have a special way of highlighting this information for Budtenders in the EpicHint platform).

Being able to deliver an effective brand and product training campaign starts with having a training campaign that is measurable.

Phases to Develop a Measurable Training Campaign
Designing an impactful Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign is an ongoing process. The design process will evolve with the company’s goals. Company goals will evolve based on variables like time in market and new product launches. Regardless of the company’s stage the process to create an impactful training campaign that results in meeting goals and productive/ successful Brand Ambassadors takes the form of three phases: the Design of Training Strategy and Content phase, the Launching the Training Campaign phase, and the Measuring Impact phase. Here’s a breakdown of each phase:

Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Phase 1 Design Training

PHASE 1
Design Training Strategy and Content
Assessment Focus: Formative Assessment
Design Focus: Effectively deliver training messages to Budtenders

The training strategy and content should be developed using a formative assessment process.  A formative assessment process is a process in which content is developed “quickly” using an iterative process (a process where something is created put out into the world for feedback and fine-tuned based on reactions with a minimal lapse in time).

To design a training campaign that effectively delivers messages to Budtenders you must first:

  • Identify objectives
  • Establish goals
  • Make assumptions on what success looks like

Throughout the design and creation process reflect on these details. Keep the end in mind.

Once your team agrees on what success looks like develop training strategy and training content. When developing training content be sure to include Pre and Post brand and product surveys and quizzes. The inclusion of Pre and Post brand and product surveys and quizzes gives you the ability to measure the effectiveness of messages delivered by providing data on what Budtenders knew/ thought about your cannabis brand and its products prior to the start of your training campaign and what they know/ think about your brand and its products after their initial training (it’s important to note the word “initial” as you are executing a campaign not a “one and done” activity). The use of an automated training platform/ LMS for the cannabis industry, like EpicHint, will include Pre and Post brand and product survey and quiz features.  

When the first version of the training strategy and training content is developed share it with your Brand Ambassadors for feedback. Your Brand Ambassadors are the ones who are going to have to execute the strategy, deliver all messages, and who will be measured based on how well they implement the Brand-to-Budtender training campaign they should have a voice in the process (unless they are contracted).

Organize and incorporate relevant Brand Ambassador feedback into the training strategy and training content. When the second version of your training content has been refined make it interactive, shareable, engaging, measurable, and scalable using a Learning-Management-Platform (LMS)/ automated training platform like EpicHint. A good cannabis LMS/ automated training platform for the cannabis industry, such as EpicHint (I’m obviously biased), will give your team analytics on reach, engagement, comprehension, and proficiency, a way to make the data actionable, and tools to easily iterate based on your insights. Once training content is all prettied up in your cannabis LMS invite “tester” Budtenders for feedback, iterate on the content incorporating relevant feedback, and finalize the first version of the training campaign’s content.  

Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Phase 2 Launch Training

PHASE 2
Launch Training Campaign
Assessment Focus:  Summative Assessment
Design Focus: Proficiency of training messages delivered

Thoroughly completing Phase 1 will set up your training campaign for success. When Phase 1 is completed launch your training strategy and campaign. Begin to have your Brand Ambassadors execute the strategy and invite Budtenders to your brand and product training.

As Budtenders engage with your training strategy and training content measure behavior metrics that indicate the effectiveness of a training campaign. When you measure behavior metrics to determine how your campaign is doing you are using a Summative Assessment Process.

Not sure what behavior metrics to measure? We discussed some of the behavior metrics a cannabis brand should be recording and analyzing in the Cannabis Brand Ambassador Revenue (Strategy + Calculator) MJBiz article. These metrics include but are not limited to:

  • % of Budtenders aware of the brand
  • % of Budtenders that have engaged with the brand
  • % of Budtenders that will recommend the brand
  • % of Budtenders that have recommended the brand

Analyze your behavior metrics to extract insights, determine how-to make your insights actionable, iterate on and improve your Brand-to-Budtender training strategy, use your cannabis LMS to take action with Budtenders, and improve campaign behavior metrics.


Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training PHASE 3 Measure Impact

PHASE 3
Measure Impact
Assessment Focus: Confirmative Assessment
Design Focus: Positive Patient/ Customer brand and product perception

This is the part of your training campaign where you look to see if you are achieving the success metrics you established in Phase 1. These metrics typically have a financial component and will include revenue impact KPIs such as :

  • # of Budtenders trained/ # of Budtenders engaged with the brand/ # of Product units sold
  • Sales growth rate/ Dispensary visited by Brand Ambassador
  • # of Product Units sold by Budtenders (not the Brand Ambassador during pop-ups)/ Dispensary

Your training campaign will be designed in the three phases above. Feeling overwhelmed?

Hopefully you are not feeling overwhelmed. If you are feeling overwhelmed we understand given the lengthy daily to-do lists cannabis brand owners, managers, and first hires have. All this information can be a little daunting given everything that needs to be done on a daily basis.  

A key to success is to build yourself a process. We have a number of worksheets, tools, and tech we support our cannabis brand with. Be patient with where you are in the process. To keep yourself sane remember you’re developing a training campaign. The development of any successful campaign takes time. You’re allowed to take a breather. Once the heavy lifting of Phases 1 – 3 is completed the training campaign(s) become an iterative process that moves quickly (Did you notice how I just made training campaign plural? This is because you’ll likely end up segmenting your campaigns based on the Budtender data you’ll gain. 🙂 ).

Bring It All Together
We’ve shared our thoughts on how-to best utilize the Brand Ambassador role (by having them focus on executing your training campaign not standing around in a dispensary waiting for Patients and Customers to walk by). We have also shared KPIs to measure the productivity and success of the Brand Ambassador and Steps to create a measurable training campaign. What we didn’t share is what type of content and tactics should go into your training strategy and training campaign. We’ll get into that information in a future MJBiz Article.

In the meantime, because we love sharing practical tools that help make your life easier below is a checklist to support the development of your Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign. If you need help getting started, have questions as you begin the process, or don’t have the bandwidth but want to get your Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign started we’re happy to assist. Leave a comment below or send us an email here.



Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Checklist
Cannabis Brand-to-Budtender Training Checklist »


Let Us Know How It’s Going
Did you get started on your Brand-to-Budtender Training Campaign? Have questions on any of the info above? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.



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Adriana Herrera

Founder at EpicHint
Patient advocate. Data junkie. Technologist. Social entrepreneur. Surfer.

Adriana was inspired to build EpicHint after her friend used cannabis to aide in his recovery from early onset colon cancer and was provided poor product recommendations by Budtenders.

Prior to founding EpicHint she used interdisciplinary principles and agile methodologies to build, and grow, two tech startups; a B2B competitive analytics platform for Internet Retailer 500 e-commerce marketers that protected personal identifying information, and a B2C e-commerce recommendation engine for sustainable and fairly made shopping. She is known for being able to translate a product’s social mission into viable financials.

Her work building tech for social good earned her an invitation to contribute a column to ‘The New York Times’ and features in media such as ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’ as a “Do Good Business Entrepreneur To Watch”, ‘NBC Universal’ as a “Top 10 Latino Innovator”, ‘Forbes’, ‘Fast Company’, ‘TechCrunch’, amongst many other media outlets.

When not working she surfs, loves to cook with fresh locally sourced ingredients, mentors girls in STEAM, advises startups, and hacks on side projects in skills-based learning, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, marketing tech, health and wellness, and cannabis niches.
Adriana Herrera

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