One of the top priorities of any early stage enterprise software company is to increase the size of deals being sold. This is especially true for companies selling multiple offerings including the core product and services. Call it deal size or average selling price (ASP), the point is to bundle multiple offerings together to offer more value to customers in a packaged deal. For example, when your sales team puts together a proposal, it could include the core product, custom implementation services, premium support, and yes, training. You can probably think of others.
When it comes to training, some of you might be thinking that you only have one course, and that with only one course it may not be worth charging for it or even bundling it with product deals. What if you took that one course and changed the format? You could create multiple courses out of that one.
Let's say you have one training course for administrators of your product; your Admin 101 course. Whatever format that course is currently in, chances are it is a series of slides with perhaps some practice activities and that you normally teach that course in a virtual classroom format using GoToTraining or Webex. One way to create a new course is by taking the same content and creating a series of videos that can be placed on your website or on YouTube or on an LMS. Now you have two course offerings. You can take this a step further and create a live, in-person course that can be taught in a hotel ballroom or Microtek training center. Now you have three course offerings. Taking this even further, you could take the same content and customize it for a large enterprise customers, fly to their office, and deliver it onsite. Now you have four course offerings.
Do you think you can do that with your Admin 101 course?
What is the value of each of those courses? Does a series of videos have the same value as custom, onsite delivery for your largest customer?
Of course not.
For each of these courses, you can charge a different amount to reflect the value of each customer education offering and the price a customer is willing to pay in order to ensure their teams learn to get the most of your product, which they are investing a large amount of time, resources, and money to purchase. And since you know that some customers will not pay for training and others will pay, you have offerings to satisfy each need.
These are not the only way to package up your training so you can increase the average selling price (ASP) of your deals. There are many other ways to package your training. In fact, there are three broad ways to do it.
Repurpose individual courses
The simplest way to package your training is individually. In other words, each version of your Admin 101 course would be a separate course, and in a different format. If you offered Admin 101 in each version we discussed, you would have the following list of courses:
- Admin 101 Self-Paced eLearning
- Admin 101 - vILT (Public)
- Admin 101 - vILT (Private)
- Admin 101 - vILT (Custom)
- Admin 101 - ILT (Public)
- Admin 101 - ILT (Private)
- Admin 101 - ILT (Custom)
One course is now seven.
There are many assumptions here. For example, the Admin 101 Self-paced eLearning course could actually be dozens of small modules offered on your LMS (Or YouTube) in bite-sized lengths that are very tasks specific or it could be one, organized MOOC-style course, not unlike what you you find on Coursera or Udacity. The Admin 101 - ILT (Private) assumes private and on-site at your customer's office. But a private course could be held in hotel conference space or at a Microtek training center or in your office. And if you need to travel to your customer, you would include travel expenses on top of the price of the course.
The point here is that you offer each course a la cart and customers can select which works best for them.
Bundle multiple courses together
Another way to package your training is the bundle them up and allow customers to purchase multiple courses at once. Yes, volume discounting could apply. Offering training bundles is an important strategy when selling to enterprises with larger teams or to customers who buy multiple products that each have training. Of your company offers a suite of products, and you have training for each product, bundling your education offerings is vital. It can make it easier for customers to purchase, and therefore will increase your average deal size which VPs and Sales love.
There are many ways to bundle training. You could offer a vILT bundle that includes vILT courses for multiple products that the customer purchases and offer multiple sessions to accommodate are large team. For example:
- Product 1 vILT (three sessions)
- Product 2 vILT (three sessions)
- Product 3 vILT (three sessions)
You could also bundle in access to your eLearning courses for each product for free (or free for a certain amount of time after which it expires). This is a way to add value to a high volume purchase. You would price the above bundle at a single price. The customer purchases "one bundle" at "one price." Your sales team would add this to the statement of work (SOW) increasing their deal size, and the customer uses the budget set aside for purchasing your software to pay for it.
There are many other ways to bundle training, which will not be covered here, but other ideas include:
- Offer bundles based on customer size. So you could have a two course bundle, a five course bundle, and a ten course bundle.
- Offer bundles based on customer roles. Offer an admin training bundle, an end user training bundle, and a business analysts training bundle.
- Offer bundles based in products. In this scenario, you could have a bundle for product 1, a different bundle for product 2, and another bundle for product 3.
Certainly you can get creative here and mix and match. When you think about creating bundles, try to craft your bundles based on how your customer purchases your product and how much training you think they will need.
A final word on bundles.
Create incentives to purchase larger bundles. This could mean throwing in extra training at no extra charge or it could mean discounting the per course rate base in higher purchases. Either way, incentives to purchasing larger bundles will help customers in the middle, purchase the higher bundle.
Yes, you can sell training on subscription. And if you offer product subscriptions, it should be natural to sell training via subscription as well. The obvious benefit of training subscriptions for your company it increasing recurring revenue, which is the motherlode of valuation drivers. The benefit to your customer is that they can pay (and seek approval) only once-per-year for training rather than each time someone or some team needs training.
When it comes to helping your customers navigate their buying process, this is one way to do that.
The other benefit to your customer is that a training subscription meets their need to keeping their team up-to-speed on your product, which is especially important as you release new product updates, and as your customer hires new people. New members of the team can just sign in and take the necessary training with little or no friction.
Training subscriptions are very often a win-win for both you and your customers.
Packaging Customer Education Opens New Opportunities
Even if you only have one course, you can turn it into at least seven unique course, targeted at different customer types, and priced at a level that reflects the true value of the education. Using the principles in this blog post, you can go to your management team in just a few minutes to propose at least seven new offerings, most of which your sales team can bundle with deals they are working on right now. Not only will this help increase ASP, but it will also help your customers learn your product in a way that suits them best.
This blog post was about how to package and bundle customer education offering, but it did not discuss how to pricing individual package. We wrote another blog post about that called Pricing Strategies That Maximize the Sale of Software Training. You should read that post too and start your business case for selling more training right away.