You Can’t Afford to Ignore Extended Enterprise Learning
April 30, 2015
If extended enterprise learning isn’t on your radar, it needs to be. According to the Brandon Hall Group, 54% of companies are investing training and development opportunities for customers and channel partners. Why? Because it’s smart for business.
The Value of Extended Enterprise Learning
More loyalty. More revenue. More productivity. The impact of training external audiences is not insignificant.
1. Differentiate Your Brand and Build Loyalty
Think of the companies you rave about and buy from again and again. In addition to standout products and services, they have another trait in common: you fall in love with them because you can tell they’re invested in you.
Take Zappos. One way they’ve differentiated themselves from other ecommerce sites and built a loyal fan base is through their consumer education. For example, they provide mini-product demos to help educate shoppers about products before they buy them. They’ve made it obvious that they want their customers to make informed, confident choices before they click add to cart.
Ultimately, loyal customers will purchase from you again and spend more when they do. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
Training can also win the loyalty of your channel partners and help you stand out from competitors who do little more than drop off coffee, muffins, and a sheaf of the latest marketing slicks.
Educate reps on the benefits of new products and services; then, take it to the next level and practice positioning these new things with your channel partners and their teams. Have weekly one-on-one check-ins or coaching sessions to find out what they want help with next; then, deliver the training they’ve asked for. Help your channel partners knock down barriers and succeed. They’ll remember the support and guidance you provided—and the lack thereof from the muffin man—and start to feel more loyal to you and your brand. A more loyal channel partner is then more likely to recommend your products and services over a competitor’s.
2. Sell More
Repeat business from existing customers isn’t the only way loyal customers can help you earn revenue. Loyal customers can also help market your company to prospective clientele through word-of-mouth. And, by sharing their stories of your impeccable customer training and support, they can help you convert prospects into customers.
By training your channel partners, you do more than build their loyalty. You also build their knowledge, skills, and confidence. You empower them to position your products and services more effectively and, ultimately, close more sales.
Additionally, you can explore creating a platform to offer exclusive or advanced certifications and other training content to further develop channel partners’ capabilities and earn more revenue in this way.
3. Save Time and Increase Productivity
When you have a question about a product or service, would you prefer to spend an hour on the phone with a help desk or spend 10 minutes watching a quick how-to video and get on with life? Likely the latter, right?
People are busy. Give customers valuable time back (and prevent frustration) by providing quick, convenient access to training—be it tutorial videos, knowledge bases, community forums, or other resources.
Plus, over time, this training will also help people get the most of your products and services and use them more effectively.
As with your customers, when you make it simple and fast for channel partners to find answers to their questions, you help them get back valuable time and energy. Being able to move faster and get more done doesn’t go unnoticed. Helping channel partners be more productive by providing resources they can easily access in their day-to-day will, ultimately, build more goodwill and loyalty for your brand.
The Bottom Line
Your training strategy doesn’t stop, and shouldn’t stop, with your employees. Don’t be part of the 46%. Gain a competitive advantage with extended enterprise learning to build brand loyalty, sell more, and increase productivity.
Image credit: Roddenberry, Gene (Executive Producer). (1964) Star Trek [Television series]. New York City, NY: NBC Studios.