A couple weeks ago, a frustrated colleague contacted me to share he’s pressured by the sales team to give training away. He needed guidance on how to handle it.
I experienced the same challenge when I was at Jaspersoft. Because traditional Customer Education offerings aren’t recurring revenue, sales reps aren't interested in selling them.
You see, in our subscription-based economy, sales reps are incentivized to sell what’s important to the company. At Jaspersoft, that meant recurring revenue. The executives and the board tracked and measured Annual Contract Value (ACV), or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). Sales reps received a reduced commission for selling Total Contract Value (TCV) products like Services, compared to the subscription products.
When ARR became the company driver, my training revenue decreased. Seeing how ARR was emphasized across the organization, I created a recurring Customer Education offering. When I rolled out the Jaspersoft Online Learning Portal. I created individual and corporate “all-you-can-eat” subscriptions to self-paced training, that met the ACV requirement. Soon the new training subscriptions were included in most deals. The reps loved it because they got a higher commission. Our customers loved it because the self-paced subscription allowed them to enable their current and future teams. My management and my team loved it because we had recurring revenue, increased sales, and higher margins.
In my previous blog, Why Training as a Service is Good for Your Customers; the benefits of Training as a Service (TaaS) for your customers was covered. In this blog, In this article, the benefits of TaaS for your company are explored.
As you roll out a TaaS solution, consider your content, enabling, pricing, selling, and engagement approaches.
Developing Content. When customers purchase software as a service, they expect the software to evolve and improve over time. TaaS offerings need to continuously deliver as well. Content must be up-to-date with product releases. Provide ongoing value to customers with best practices, advanced courses, and sessions with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Consider curating content rather than developing it all on your team. TaaS could be instructor led courses, eLearning and a combination of the two.
Enabling. Make sure you enable customers across the project and customer lifecycles. At project kickoff, business sponsors, stakeholders and project managers learn the big picture of the implementation. During implementation phases, developers and system administrators learn key tasks and best practices for a successful rollout. And, when the system goes live, business and end users learn best practices and how to use the tools in their daily work.
Pricing. Work with your finance team to price TaaS to cover your costs and provide good value to your customers. Also, make sure your training revenue is recognized and allocated to your training organization so you have the funds to invest in your offerings.
Selling. Ideally, your TaaS offering is sold and renewed with the license sale. This makes it easier for reps to sell. Then, customers renew the TaaS package in the license renewal cycle.
Engaging. Nurture your customers along their learning journey. Leverage Customer Success Managers and Customer Marketing to engage your customers with the TaaS platform. Alert customers of new and improved content, encourage them to sign up for the next class in their learning path, and work with new team members to sign up for training.
Benefits. Once TaaS offerings are launched, you should find the following benefits:
Reps sell more. Reps are excited to sell your TaaS offerings now they count as recurring revenue. As a result, training is attached to most, if not all, sales.
Renewal rates increase. With high attach rates, customers learn to use all of your product suite, are more productive and loyal. Your renewal rates improve.
Education revenue is predictable and sustained. Revenue is sustained throughout the year, with the subscription model. You forecast more easily and invest further in your offerings and resources.
Have you implemented a TaaS solution? I’d love to hear how it’s going.
Need help implementing a TaaS solution? Springboard Solutions is here to guide your journey.