When you’re in the market for new technology, the process of identifying the features you need, the interface you like best, and ultimately, the product that best fits your needs, can often be overwhelming. And yet, once you buy a product, the hard work is just beginning.
As an Implementation Manager at Skilljar, I am keenly aware of the work required to get you and the Skilljar platform up and running, not to mention the potential roadblocks, delays and shifts in priorities that often accompany the implementation of your newly procured technology. I’ve seen many customers launch their customer and partner education programs with incredible efficiency - some in as little as a month. Across the most successful implementations, there are a few patterns I’ve noticed:
- The gang’s all here: There’s only one of you. Maybe your expertise is in content development, CSS, or Salesforce. Chances are you’re going to need help from someone else in the company to get the program launched. I recommended starting by identifying just exactly what needs to be done to launch your customer education program. You can then match these needs to individual and team expertise in the company/team, and reach out to these team members proactively. Reaching out in advance of when you need their help will also give you time to address their questions and objections.
- What does MVP mean, anyway?: You have a grand vision for your training platform. Dozens of courses with impeccable branding that mirrors your main site and eight integrations with your other systems. This is all certainly possible! However, I’d encourage you to take a step back and really think about what the most important elements are for enabling learning. Which courses and materials are essential for your launch? How can you approach the customization and technical pieces from a pre-launch and post-launch mindset? We always encourage a crawl - walk - run approach. Developing your program is an ongoing process and you will never stop iterating on your content and strategy. Starting small provides a flexible and scalable foundation.
- The big event: Are you familiar with Parkinson’s Law? The old adage goes something like this: work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Makes sense, right? While not everyone is a procrastinator, it is human nature to work at a steady pace until you frantically realize you have a week to finish something. For this reason, the most successful launches are driven by a specific date, often defined by an event. Some examples include sales kickoffs, customer kickoffs, rebrandings, fundraisings, conferences, or a migration from a different platform. If your organization doesn’t have any events that would encourage your platform launch, just pick a date, any date. You’ll be able to delegate and prioritize early on after working backwards from that day and it will be harder to lose focus with a specific timeline.
At the end of the day, our goal is to help our customers develop experiences that get their customers to value in the shortest time possible. My experience tells me that many of you will have the same motivation for your customers.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of implementation and the desire for everything to be perfect, it’s important to always keep your goals in mind and remember that your customer education program can (and should) change. Accordingly, once you can comfortably soft launch, even if not everything is perfect, you’ll have a little breathing room to iterate and improve while your customers accelerate their own learning.
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