LAER - Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew. This was the model that framed much of the conversation at the Technology Services World Conference held last week in San Diego. The LAER framework helps outline the customer journey for subscription businesses that are growing their revenue within their customer base. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, TSW is hosted by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), and blends service professionals from across industry disciplines - Education Services, Customer Success, Support Services, Professional Services, Managed Services and more.
Thomas Lah, Executive Director of TSIA, presented the LAER framework, and highlighted the key metrics measured by companies efficiently leveraging LAER:
- Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)
- Customer Expansion Costs (CEC)
- Customer Renewal Costs (CRC)
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Throughout the presentation, the different services disciplines were mentioned as moving parts in the LAER journey. Naturally, as a firm believer in Skilljar’s mission and product, and an educator, I kept reflecting back on Education Services. Here at Skilljar, we regularly engage in conversations about the ROI of customer training and education. Regardless of whether a customer education department is a cost center or a profit center, one thing is certain - it has the potential to have a measurable impact on your CAC, CEC and CRC.
First in the journey is customer acquisition. At scale, Education Services offerings can be used to drive lead generation activities, support product trials, and reinforce sales demos. In collaboration with marketing, industry best practices can be widely distributed to raise awareness and drive demand.
When it comes to customer expansion, again, enter Education Services. Not only does educational content help expose clients to additional products and services your company may offer, it is also a demonstrated driver of adoption and expansion. According to data provided to Skilljar by numerous clients, the results are clear - when their customers engage with education offerings, they consistently expand their business more than those customers who have not taken any training. One of my favorite presentations, presented by Sarah Mebane of nCino, even noted the dollar value of influenced expansion opportunities, those opportunities that correlated with customer interaction in nCino’s knowledge portal.
Finally, customer renewal. It’s no question that customer adoption, engagement and renewal are intertwined. When customers adopt and see value from a product or service, they’re inevitably more likely to renew. Skilljar customers have seen time to value drop by more than 50%, and hours spent on individual consulting and included services drop by 83%. All of these costs play into the renewal. Education, more specifically, on-demand customer-centric education, cuts costs and improves customer experience over and over again.
I could keep going. I could list more proof points, reference more industry research and customer stories, in fact, I could talk about customer education all day (and I do!). And yet, throughout the keynotes at TSW, I barely heard Education Services referenced as a driver for these core business metrics. So now I turn to you, customer education professionals. How can we raise the profile of Education Services and customer training in our businesses? As a cross-functional growth engine, we can and we should be demonstrating our impact.