Each year, managers and senior leadership in training organizations at technology companies come together to learn from each other and share ideas. They do this thanks to CEdMA, the Computer Education Management Association. I had the pleasure of attending the first day of this year’s CEdMA Training Leadership Conference in Santa Clara, California, where Skilljar was a sponsor.
While many training conferences focus on instructional design techniques, content creation, and demos, CEdMA’s conferences tend to spend far more time focusing on the bigger picture of training, and the presentations often discuss more strategic aspects of building a customer training program. As someone who spends most of her time focusing on customer training, this is probably one of the most worthwhile professional development activities of the year for me.
In the presentations I attended, one thing was clear – there is a definitive shift in the conversation surrounding customer training. As technology companies embrace subscription sales models, training is becoming more of a key player in revenue retention, and this presents an enormous opportunity for training organizations. As a result of these changes, and to effectively demonstrate the benefits of high quality customer training programs, there is a more pressing need to demonstrate impact and manage stakeholders throughout the business.
In Adam Avramescu’s presentation, Reach, Beyond Revenue, he highlighted the essential role of training and education in Customer Success at Optimizely. One interesting statistic that Adam drew upon was that poor onboarding is thought to be the largest cause of churn (22.9% of churn), surpassing glaring problems like product underperformance (19.85%). I also really enjoyed hearing his perspective on the role of education in a scaling Customer Success organization. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, and the focus of education changes with the goals of the Customer Success team. As the team moves from a reactive approach, develops a scalable program and begins to optimize, the depth and breadth of education will expand as well. I’m thrilled to dig into this more with Adam, as he will be presenting with our team on our upcoming webinar about training program development.
Later in the day, I had the privilege of watching Skilljar’s own Manager of Customer Success, Molly Barber, present with Pat Durante, Senior Director of Customer Success Enablement at Black Duck Software. The presentation, entitled Translating Training Metrics to Customer Success Metrics, focused on the training program that Pat has developed, and how he is using a data-driven approach to demonstrate the impact of training on customer retention and renewals. In this case study, it was easy to see how Skilljar’s data integration with Salesforce can help tell the story of the impact of training. Pat has also successfully integrated training into Customer Health dashboards for the Customer Success Managers at Black Duck Software, which makes training data actionable and meaningful on yet another level. The presentation left me feeling proud to work with such fantastic professionals at the forefront of training innovation.
Networking with like-minded leaders also gave me a renewed sense of urgency around the work we’re doing with training and education. I’m excited to continue to call on learnings from the conference as I build out my own program.