4 Ways a Next-Generation Learning Platform Pays
By Pierre Kergall, Business Development Director/Europe, Expertus
People say training is a cost center, right? Well, that’s wrong.
Many successful companies rely on training to generate revenue streams — and a cloud-based learning management system makes that goal much easier to achieve. Here are four examples:
1) Sales Team Enablement By offering mobile-friendly virtual classrooms and on-demand learning content, you can increase sales readiness while minimizing time away from the field. More knowledgeable sales reps spending more time on the front lines means more business revenue.
2) Just-in-Time Workforce Learning Employees in functions such as engineering, marketing and customer service depend on immediate access to relevant, useful information. Especially in fluid markets, real-time reference tools and performance support can improve the quality of products and services while accelerating time-to-market.
3) Partner Education Welcome to the extended enterprise. Many organizations sell through resellers and distributors. Successful partner strategies rely heavily on training to develop channel competence and profitable relationships.
For example, Autodesk sells about 90% of its software through partners. It depends deeply on resellers’ product knowledge, industry expertise and sales skills. Autodesk supports its reseller community with training for everything from certification and product updates to development tools and compliance.
Although direct revenues from partner training can be attractive, companies like Autodesk recognize that this is really only the tip of the iceberg. The larger payoff comes from building lasting, profitable business relationships. In short — when resellers are successful, revenues increase for everyone.
4) Customer Training In the same way that partner education reaches beyond the enterprise, customer education programs encourage product adoption and pave the way for long-term loyalty.
This is particularly important for industries with complex products, such as high-end electronics, financial services, software and automobiles. Training is either bundled with the product, or is offered as an option to improve the customer experience.
As with partner training, immediate revenues come from selling training to customers. But the larger business impact comes from developing stronger brand advocates, right from the start.
Other Benefits of Next-Generation Customer Training
If your LMS has robust reporting tools and social capabilities, you can gain invaluable insights to shape your customer learning programs. For example, you can track content usage patterns, along with best/worst ratings and recommendations. These metrics can help you calibrate training effectiveness and refine offerings over time.
You can also help your customers gain new insights about their workforce by examining behavior within their learning communities. For example, you can profile the most (and least) active, engaged learners. You can pinpoint topics that are “hot,” as well as those that are unpopular or quickly abandoned. When these insights help you inform customers about their workforce learning activity and trends, your LMS becomes part of your customer relationship management process.
The LMS as a Sales Tool
So, what LMS functions can help you drive training revenues? The boundaries have expanded. It’s no longer just about the core — catalog, content and course management. You should also require advanced social, mobile, collaboration, conferencing, analytics and commerce capabilities.
This is where outdated technologies, bolt-ons, homegrown and open source platforms reveal their limitations. And it’s why many companies are replacing their legacy LMS systems, or are planning to do so in the near future.
What Should You Require?
There are other factors to consider when you choose an LMS to drive training revenues, but these are essential:
1) Simplicity Why try to reinvent the wheel and make people learn new tools? Look for systems that work like popular, self-service e-commerce sites like Amazon and Expedia. The easier you make it for customers and partners to find and buy training from you, the more likely you’ll earn their business.
2) Completeness To minimize the time and expense of customization and upgrades, choose a “total package.” At minimum, look for these features:
- Fully integrated global shopping cart
- Catalog supports all content and delivery types (e.g. e-learning, virtual classes, webinars)
- Accepts multiple currencies and payment methods
- Manages taxes for any location
- Ability to bundle/unbundle content and apply custom pricing
- Accepts multiple discount codes (promotions and licensing)
- Securely manages access across business units, divisions, regions, states, countries
3) Make It Easy For Administrators Aim for connected, streamlined workflows that keep order management simple as your sales grow. Look for as much automation as possible (e.g. refund processing). And don’t forget sales recognition and reporting. You will need easy, real-time access to sales data, and the ability to drill down from group information to individual records.
Do you generate revenue from training? What kind of functionality would you like to improve in your LMS? We welcome your comments.
Note from Pierre: To learn how ExpertusONE LMS can help your organization manage training as a business, visit our website or contact us for a personalized consultation and demo.
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