Written by: Julia Borgini
With the first-hand impact education programs have on a company’s bottom line, it is important to build a successful strategy and team.
In this post, we'll share how to build a customer education dream team, including information on the roles and skills you need in your team, as well as the importance of internal collaboration with other teams in your company, such as sales and marketing.
Technology companies are often stuck in the traditional mindset when it comes to hiring new staff. They hire the people that build their products first (like software developers) and then the people who sell the products.
Customer education is often an afterthought and certainly not thought of as a revenue stream for the company as it grows. However, customer education can generate additional revenue through increased software adoption, upsells, renewals, and customer advocacy in the marketplace. It can also lead to new revenue expansion through product enhancements developed from ideas that come directly from customers.
To start a customer education team, start with content developers. A good education content library makes it easier to make the business case for more resources and budget later on.
Next, bring on board a training coordinator. A coordinator ensures that your content developers and delivery people are free to focus on what they do best and not worry about logistics and administrative tasks surrounding the education programs.
Then hire a training manager. This may seem like a no-brainer, but at the start, it may not be necessary to have a manager specific to training and education. As you build up your education programs, you'll see a need for more structure, processes, etc., so a manager can help with that.
As your customers mature into more experienced users of your products, you'll need to create different education programs to keep them interested. This will help customers truly see the value of your products and how it helps them in their specific situation. At this time you'll also need to scale up your education team and bring in people with specific skill sets and experience to help you grow alongside your customers.
A training manager that's in charge of overseeing the entire team can help identify the needs early and prepare for them before they become an emergency need. An operations manager can offer infrastructure and technical support to the training manager and team as a whole.
A business development person is also useful to help the education team scale up to serve a wider audience if you assign them to develop strategic educational partnerships. Entering a partnership ecosystem can reduce education costs for your company while expanding your footprint in your industry.
Partnerships are a great way to generate more customer education revenue and build out a workforce with minimal investment on your part. You can then use the increased revenue to develop more partnerships and create a more formal and/or robust internal education framework, processes, and resources.
As your customer education team grows and expands, you'll reach a point where you need to re-organize. It could be because your team has grown to a size that you can have an individual team with all your education professionals on it, so you need to repatriate the team members. Or it could be that you're looking to place your education roles under other teams to get more visibility outside your team.
Regardless of your motivation, it's essential to have a full view of your customer education team and see how it fits within your organization.
Learn more here.
Originally published on April 17, 2017