If you’ve been paying close attention (which I have no doubt you have), you’ll notice Learndot is looking a little different these days. We’ve been rolling out some major changes that I’m excited to finally start talking about. But first, the background story.
Stumbling into undiscovered country: Learndot for Customer Education
Nearly a year ago, we started noticing an uptick in a particular type of administrator signing up for Learndot: Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Customer Educators at subscription- based companies. We started digging and saw this as part of the larger shift to a subscription economy; customer success and education are booming. It’s no surprise why, in a model where retention is your key growth driver. If you look into the offices of any successful SaaS company, you'll find a stellar customer success department.
Digging deeper, we found an even more interesting realization. CSMs are spending 60-70% of their time on education-related activities--but there is (was) no tool set or platform designed to manage these needs. CSMs have a plethora of analytics platforms to choose from (Gainsight, Totango, and Bluenose Analytics, just to name a few), but what should success managers do once they realize a customer is on the path towards churning? How do they scale themselves to help many customers at once? In most cases, the answer is proactively teaching customers how to better use their products and services through an Academy or University.
Enter Learndot. Looking into our increased usage among this group, we realized that Learndot was a great fit for their needs: we make it really easy to create great-looking, professional courses and are able to easily serve external learners. In a market dominated by traditional LMSs with a reputation for poor usability and designed to train employees behind a firewall, these are crucial differentiators.
However, while great for early adopters, these differentiators alone weren't enough to make Learndot the de facto platform for Customer Education. We needed to re examine everything we do – our pricing, community, marketing, education, support, and product – in the light of what made the most sense for these users. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.
External-learner friendly pricing
Our old pricing was based on an assumption of internal training and was priced per learner, similar to traditional cloud LMSs like Litmos or Cornerstone OnDemand. But this model becomes extremely expensive for when user numbers are high, as is often the case with customer/user education. Mid-sized SaaS companies offering training to trialists can have many thousands of active learners, at which point traditional LMS pricing becomes cost prohibitive.
As example, for an incremental 1,000 learners based on publicly published pricing, CornerStone charges an additional $4,000/month. At Litmos’s largest plan, it is $750 per 1,000.
With Learndot’s new pricing, 1,000 incremental learners are as little as $75/month. This has the effect of opening up an entirely new market by making professional learning software available to high-scale mid-sized businesses.
Building A Customer Education Community
After interviewing a large number of customer success and customer education managers, we realized that the community is still very young and hungry for resources. We want to help build this community. With that in mind, we are launching a number of efforts:
- A new blog (the one you're reading now!), which that will be dedicated to sharing interviews, best practices, and insights on customer success and education.
- Updated social presences on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to communicate with the community and share useful resources.
- An in-person meetup group for Customer Education in the San Francisco Bay Area – and we would love to help start more in other cities as well.
New Marketing Website
Like any online business, our website is the first place people go to get information about Learndot. To communicate our new positioning, we’ve entirely revamped our website. We’ve add a product tour section, updated all our content, and integrated our new blog, academy, and help center. Let us know what you think!
New Customer Education: Relaunching Learndot’s own Academy
One of the things about focusing on customer education for SaaS businesses is that we are a SaaS business ourselves; we get to build a product we need, too. The better we do building the platform, the better our own customer education becomes.
Behold Learndot Academy! Learndot’s very own Learndot. Our Academy will deliver Learndot user training, updates, and specialist courses for the community. But this is just the start. Unsurprisingly, we have many exciting plans for our own academy and will be partnering with thought-leaders to build out top-tier curriculum. We’ve got to show you how it’s done, after all. :)
We are also launching a traditional help center for search-powered public documentation at support.learndot.com. Just as best practices for a modern SaaS business includes having both customer support and customer success, it also includes having both an academy and a knowledge/help center. In fact, we believe these are very close parallel: Like support, help centers do best at in-the-moment ‘reactive’ help, short and quick. Like success, academies do best providing proactive education, teaching higher-level skills, and strategic goals that require more structure and thought. We know exactly what that relationship and should look like.
We are also releasing over 50 product updates – too numerous to mention here – that are all designed to help the needs of the customer educator. These include easier methods to invite large numbers of learners, closer tracking and reporting, and better notification management to name a few. I recommend signing up for Learndot’s free trial so you can see for yourself. This will also give you access to our product updates course in our academy so you can stay on top of our continued development over the coming months.
The initial feedback we’ve received from this focussing has been overwhelming positive. It’s very encouraging to be at the start of a new movement. Customer success is core to any subscription business and customer education is arguably the largest component to ensuring that success. There is still much to discover and do – even the word ‘customer education’ has drastically different meanings in seemingly similar businesses. I hope you will join us on our journey. Subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for Learndot – and let us know whatever is on your mind. I am looking forward building this together.
To Your Success,
Paul Lambert, CEO, Learndot