Welcome and thank you for attending this session. I’m Sandi Lin, the CEO and founder of Skilljar, a video-based LMS for training your customers and partners.
Today we’ll be talking about the business of training - what a lot of the companies we work with do, which is using training to generate sales leads.
What is a lead?
Lead is a sales term for someone who has expressed potential interest in buying from your company.
I”ll use buying and company very broadly. Some of you may be in for-profit companies, but others of you may be in academia or non-profits. Regardless, all of your organizations , they’re all selling a product or service to a customer.
Traditionally, L&D has been thought of as a cost center - either an internal employee function, or a product support training.
What’s changed is there are multiple ways that innovative organizations are now using training to drive core business growth, not just being a cost center. Today, we’ll be talking about specific examples well as developing an action plan for you.
Specifically, we have 3 Learning objectives for success today: First, brainstorm a new concept for how training can be used in your sales process Second, select a specific delivery modality Third, determine the key metric that you’ll use to demonstrate ROI.
By the end of this session, you’ll have an actionable plan to bring back to your organization that includes these three elements –a training concept, a delivery modality, and a metric for measuring ROI.
Why train customers at all, and especially before they’ve purchased anything?
The answer really comes down to -> how do potential customers make decisions today.
It used to be that sales came down to a lot of relationship-building and schmoozing, whether that’s services, software, hardware. Word-of-mouth and references go a long way.
Today’s process is very different. Potential buyers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. They read blogs, they look over marketing websites, read reviews, download white papers, and conduct extensive independent research before they ever engage with a real person.
57% of the buying process is done before engaging with sales.
And this ‘self-educated buying behavior’ is generally true regardless if you’re looking for a place to get dinner, or buying multi-million dollar enterprise software
You might be thinking. Wait. Isn’t pre-sales training really just marketing? Isn’t it a marketing function to to tell buyers what your service is all about and why they should use it?
Marketing is really a discipline of storytelling and generating awareness, whether that’s through social media, press, buying ads on Google. Marketing often has the responsibility for finding potential buyers.
What we’re talking about today is using training as a tool that companies can use as part of their overall strategy.
Just like a marketing team might have specialists for blogging or social media, they’ll need to partner with you to run a successful pre-sales customer training program.
To summarize Why train customers?
First, in today’s world, most of the buying process is done before your customer engages with your sales team Second, training is a new tool that can be used in partnership with your sales and marketing organization
In the next section, we’re going to walk through 4 specific examples in different industries and by type of buyer.
Applicable across almost any industry Through 4 examples
Why train consumers Typically offered for free as a lead-in to premium goods and services
Talk about BECU
Problem Solution Impact- How does this tie to leads?
Tie training to new business for their organization
Like many technical products and new markets, training is very strategic because the skills don’t really exist.
Potential customers have 2 concerns – how does it work, that their employees don’t have the right skills
Gives confidence that they can use the product. Learn about it before having to make a purchase.
In terms of lead generation
If you’re in hardware, it’s likely you’re distributing your product through channel partners. It’s likely those partners are selling not just your product, but many others as well.
How do you arm your channel with the knowledge to successfully sell?
Product training Sales training Certified solutions provider or implementation experts
Suppliers. In certain business models, the companies that are supplying inventory are key to the overall sales process.
Cvent, event management software for meeting organizers
Network of 145K suppliers, hotel venues that respond to RFPs through their system
Problem: how do you educate 145K hotels on how to use your software? Answer was to launch Cvent University, which certifies their suppliers on how to be successful in the network.
Specifically how it applies to your external users, customers and learners
Great for reaching scale 365/24/7 Self-paced – it’s what learners want, instantly available, no matter where in the world Also very trackable as you can measure every interaction with the content
Not the best for topics that require a lot of interactivity or very in-depth training.
But if your primary goal is to reach the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of ongoing investment, on-demand could be a great choice for you.
Best practices: - Keep it short
Webinar, 1 to many
Providers 30 min talk, 15 min q&a
If your marketing team is doing any training already, it’s likely to be this.
Challenges: Hard to get people to attend (Expect 50% of signups to show up).
Best practice: - 2/3 sign up the same week and 1/3 within 24 hrs of the event.
While you might think this is archaic at DevLearn…. Strengths: Networking, Lab environment
Because of cost, many companies choose to offer this as a post-sales
Note: not mutually exclusive
Talking type 3 types of metrics – reach, revenue, and retention
# trainees, if it’s on-demand , how many are active and returning
Even better -> how much is each lead worth to your sales team. How many become customers?
Customers that take a training class are X% more likely to have success with the product, generate $Y in additional revenue, or reduce support costs by Z%. Customer leads are worth $X each to the sales and marketing team. Certified channel partners generate Y% more sales than non-certified partners.
Many organizations do charge for training, but it’s thought of more as an enabling service and not a growth area by itself. The exception of course is training companies, where training is the core business.
Can be a goal to cover costs plus add to the business.
Passing quiz score # certified partners Hours of engagement
Using Online Training to Generate Sales Leads
Using Training to
Sandi Lin | Skilljar | @sandislin