In our previous two blog posts, we demonstrated how and how customer's and partner's learning styles differ from those of internal employees.
Training external audiences is increasingly important for sales and customer success. Rather than trying to twist an internal learning management system (LMS) into serving an external audience, many companies are now choosing a best-of-breed approach by adopting an Customer Training Platform.
In this post, we discuss the benefits and criteria for choosing a system that's specifically designed for training customers and partners.
The need for a separate customer training system
At Skilljar, we've talked with many frustrated companies who have tried to adapt HR learning systems for customer training. But companies rarely use any IT system for simultaneous internal and external use. Examples in other business functions:
- Email: Microsoft Exchange (internal) vs Marketo/Pardot/Eloqua (external)
- Payments: ADP/Gusto (internal) vs Stripe/Authorize.net/Braintree (external)
- Knowledge management: Sharepoint/Box (internal) vs Desk/Zendesk (external)
The different audiences of internal employees vs external customers have unique and distinct needs, and are best served by training platforms that are optimized for each specific use case.
Unique needs for customer training
For external training, your system of record should have at least the following capabilities:
- Priority on User Experience: Since the learning experience is different, features like mobile responsiveness, global video streaming, self-registration, and a professional user interface are all higher priorities compared to internal learning.
- Extended Enterprise Features: E-commerce for training sales, certifications, and multiple portals for different audience groups.
- The Right Data Integrations: Customer training often reports into a sales, professional services, or customer success function, and training success is measured by ROI and usage data, rather than completion and compliance. As a result, data integrations with sales, CRM and financial systems become more important than integration with HR systems. Skilljar, for example, is a Salesforce ISV and AppExchange partner.
- Flexible Pricing: The usage patterns of extended enterprise learners is often more variable than usage patterns of internal employees. The right LMS plan will provide pricing that works for the customer training use case, as the number of users and their frequency of use can be difficult to predict.
While HR and Customer training platforms have some commonalities, there is a unique set of features that are optimized for each use case. HR training platforms are designed for compliance and integration with talent management suites, while customer training platforms (like Skilljar) are designed for external users and integration with CRMs.
To learn more about this topic, download our free eBook - Choosing an LMS for Customer Training - using the link below.