In a recent post on diginomica, Marketo CEO, Phil Fernandez, was quoted as saying, "I believe the single biggest growth limiter for our market at large, in fact, is customer education." Fernandez goes on to say that the marketing automation space is "still a market that is in the learning and skill-building phase." This is true for many emerging and fast growing software technologies, which are requiring an increased investment in customer education to fuel growth and adoption of the technology with an increased pool of talent.
I find it incongruent that the response to improving customer education is to build up Marketo's salesforce capability through improved sales enablement practices.
Because people generally do not turn to sales people as a means for learning new skills.
In fact, according to the Corporate Executive Board, 60% of a buyer's decision is made before they even speak with your sales team. People are learning about a product or technology before they ever begin communicating with a company salesforce.
Enterprise software companies must make training discoverable to the target market so people find it when they are looking to learn new skills. Training can help people learn new skills and build trust, so that when it comes time to purchase a product, these people will think of you first. And when they do, they will have many of the skills necessary to get the most out of your software and become long term customers, which is especially important in a cloud, SaaS world where profitability takes three to four years to occur.
Marketo has an enormous opportunity to be the go-to source for learning marketing automation skills. Search for "Marketing Automation Training" on Google and see what comes up. You do not find many choices to sign up for training, if any.
I challenge you to search Google for "your product/technology training" and see what comes up. Maybe your competitors come up. Maybe nothing comes up and you remain beyond the view of potential customers who are searching for what you have. People will skills in your technology can fuel your growth. How are you helping people build those skills?
If you would like to learn how to build a customer education functions, but do not know where to start, download our eBook which walks you through the Enterprise Software Training Maturity Model. The eBook provides actions you can take to evaluate the current state of your training functions and what you can do to take it to the next level.