What is strategy? A quick dictionary search on Merriam-Webster shows it can mean "a careful plan or method" and "the art of devising or employing plans toward a goal". In sports or war, strategies are pretty clear, because no matter what changes during the course of the event, the end goal is the same: to win. In business it's not so clear; in Customer Education (CE) it becomes even murkier.
When it comes to our customer education strategies, most of us are in reaction mode. This can get us into trouble because we make promises that are difficult to keep, work quality can suffer, and we could very easily neglect existing customers. The only way to avoid getting caught up in reaction mode is to proactively develop a customer education strategy that is aligned with the most important goals of the business. Only when we focus our efforts on what is most important, do we move the business forward.
Topics: Customer Education
If the main goal of your company is 'growth' right now, whether that's growing revenue or customers, did you know that a customer education strategy could help with that? Marketing and education colleagues are probably already working together to promote their education programs and to create new ones to support future marketing campaigns. But what else could these two teams learn from each other to promote company growth?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is all the rage right now, as companies use it to laser-target their marketing to specific audience members. It's one of the best ways to unify the buyer journey from start to finish. From research to purchase and repurchase, and finally through to advocacy. And no wonder they like it - nearly 85% of marketers say that ABM outperforms all other marketing investments (ITSMA).
If you're a customer education (CE) leader that's looking to hop on the ABM bandwagon and start using it to promote CE program sales, keep reading.
The mantra from most business executives is "expansion in all ways", and for most teams in the organization, it's easy to figure out how to do that. Customer education (CE) leaders want to do their part too, so how can they sell more education programs? One way is to partner with sales teams to sell education and offering them incentives to do so.
"What is the Empire State Building?"
"Who is Picasso?"
"What is the Atlantic Ocean?"
One of my favorite things is trivia and more specifically, Jeopardy! I try to catch the show every weekday and have been trying to get on the show for the last two decades. (Without success, mind you, but I'll keep trying!) Even though I'm well-removed from my last formal classroom setting, I still remember a lot of what I learned because I'm constantly using the information. Nightly Jeopardy games, monthly trivia games with friends, and the daily New York Times crossword puzzle keep this information fresh in my mind so that it's always easy to retrieve.
Data analytics at any scale is intimidating, especially to customer education teams who aren't used to looking at numbers. There are so many pieces of data available that it's hard to know where to start.
Like with any new thing, if you start small and learn to master it before moving on to the next thing, it becomes easier. If your management team just said to you, "All right, customer education, it's time to get on the analytics bandwagon" you're in the right place.
Let's take a look at how customer education can start small with metrics and then scale up their analysis slowly to be useful and valuable.
With the rise of 'as-a-Service' (or XaaS) products around the world, software companies are becoming more aware of the importance of customer education. They're seeing the direct impact of education on company and customer success. "Education Services organizations truly have the opportunity to be a game-changer in driving product usage and adoption, because training is at the core of both," according to Maria Manning-Chapman, vice president of education services research at TSIA.
Big Data. KPIs. ROI. Average whatevers. These days it's pretty hard to get away from numbers. Companies are using their data to uncover all sorts of information that's driving their customer success programs, sales and marketing, and even customer education. After all, there's only so many ways you ask for a customer's feedback after they take your training, right?
Most software companies are so enamored by their product's features that they use it everywhere. It's in their marketing, thought leadership pieces, and especially in their training material. Sure, it's important that you train customers on the features so they know how to use their products, but they probably bought your product for a different reason entirely. So why are your training programs still features-based?