Everyone Should Spend 1 Week as a BDR (at least)
Maybe this is a radical idea but hear me out. I think every single new employee at your company should spend at least one week as a business development representative (BDR) or sales development representative (SDR). From the C-suite down to entry-level, I mean every single employee should do it. It's the most critical position when it comes to getting the ground-level truth about the product and the customer. No other position in the company requires you to get up to speed quickly on what your company does and who your company helps.
In today's always-connected world, word of mouth marketing can very powerful. Why shouldn't everyone understand the basics of company positioning and marketing? Every single one of your employees will go to a family holiday at some point and their nosey aunt will ask about their job. However, maybe their nosey aunt works at a massive potential prospect. You just never know and that's why everyone should be able to speak succinctly about the company. This is why you should trust every employee to be a brand ambassador for the company.
Regardless of the role that the person was hired to fill, learning the basics of the marketing and positioning as well as hearing real-life feedback from the market is hugely valuable. It is extremely valuable for every person in the company to have a solid understanding of who their customers are. All decisions should be made with the customer in mind. There is no better way to understand the customer and the market than to hop on a few cold calls and get real candid feedback.
Someone who is in product development would benefit from hearing what questions the customer asks and what shortcomings may exist in the product as it exists today. Someone in accounts receivable would benefit from knowing how difficult it can be to get a response from customers/prospects and what channels of communication are best. Someone in customer support would benefit from knowing what the customer is being promised at the beginning of the sales process. The list goes on and on.
At the executive level, there is no better way to get intimately familiar with the product and the market quickly. Sometimes, if you do speak with customers, they may treat you differently because you have a VP title. They may not be as candid or honest. Getting on the phone and speaking with a prospect/customer as a BDR will bring you back down to earth and give you a deeper appreciation for the work they do.
In practice, this would also standardize onboarding and training down to a single track regardless of department or job function. Everyone would spend (at least) one week training and acting as a BDR and then graduate to job-specific training.
At the end of the day, our customers are the most important fuel for the business. Therefore, it's important and invaluable that everyone in your company gets some time speaking with or interacting with your customers or your potential customers. Just spending one week in the role of a BDR would give them the empathy needed to succeed.