There comes a time in many enterprise software companies when customer education becomes a priority. Your product starts to gain traction, customers start asking for (demanding) training, and they begin to expect real training. What makes things even more scary is that these training requests seem to snowball. Now, multiple customers want training in the same week, you don't have any materials, and you are the only one doing training. Too late to say "No" because sales has already promised training.
The fire-drill begins.
- Who is available and capable of delivering the training?
- Who can we pull from an implementation to do it?
- Can we get someone from support?
- Wait, this customer expects custom training?
- What training materials do we have?
The team (that means, you) scrambles to develop training materials specifically for these customers. You somehow deliver, the customer is happy, and you pat yourself on the back. This cycle repeats, and you end up creating (mostly) customized training for each training request.
It is a vicious cycle.
I call it: ad hoc hell.
Ad hoc hell is a dark place. Have you ever looked up the definition of ad hoc? I have. Here it is:
"Formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only."
The part of the definition that most concerns us is "for a particular purpose only." When we are in ad hoc hell, we are in this vicious cycle of reacting to customer training requests, treating each one as unique, and creating new materials for each course. Even if we are smart enough to repurpose some of the content that we have used in prior training sessions, we still treat the new request as something unique to the customer (for a particular purpose only). After all, they are different, right? Not all customers are the same, right?
Ad hoc hell is not scalable. Ad hoc hell produces low quality work. Ad hoc hell is stressful.
I have been in this situation too many times, and I know that you have too. Maybe you are in this situation right now, and you are struggling to keep up. You do (keep up), of course, because you are a dynamo, making miracles happen to help customers. But this cannot go on forever.
We sat down to come up with a resource that would help people get out of this situation. We thought the best way to do that is to write a step-by-step guide for anyone who is struggling to keep up with the demand for training.
This guide is for anyone at an fast-growing, early stage enterprise software company who has been asked to train customers and develop training programs, but who has never really done it before. In this book, we detail a clear process for creating a scalable and standardized customer education program, so that you can get out of ad hoc hell.
This process is:
- Determine your customers' training needs
- Create course design documents
- Develop your course using the course design documents
If you follow the process in this book, you will get to a place where a customer requests training, and you will be able to simply:
- Schedule the training
- Send the materials
- Show up
- Focus on helping customers learn your software.
- Recruit other people to deliver the course for you because it is so organized another trainer can pick it up and know what to do.
Wouldn't that be great? Talk about scalable. You will even be able to repurpose the course into self-paced eLearning or to webinar format or for onsite training or even take a blended approach. And if you do all of this, you will be able to start charging money for training and produce revenue with your training product. Yes, you may turn into a product manager along the way. Yes, your training is a product.
Developing training is not all roses. It will take some work. My goal in this book is to simplify the process of developing your first customer training course (or two or three), so you can find your way out of ad hoc hell.
Does that sound like a meritorious pursuit?
If so, download the book now and start reading. I know this book can help.