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In our recent webinar, Skilljar’s Director of Demand Generation, Carolyn Bradley, hosted a conversation with Robin Wisner, LMS Administrator, and Christian Renfro, Senior Analyst, of ClickUp, to learn about how they analyzed and leveled up their education program metrics within just one year of launch.
ClickUp’s all-in-one productivity tool saves people time by making the world more productive. By unifying project management, document collaboration, spreadsheets, whiteboards, emails, and more, ClickUp’s highly-customizable and flexible solution is a one-stop shop for managing work. They created ClickUp University, powered by Skilljar, to help customers optimize their workspaces so that they can be as productive as possible.
In this webinar, Robin and Christian shared best practices for measuring customer education program success, along with tips for communicating ROI to stakeholders.
“We’re proving that Clickup University increases expansion rates, reduces churn rates, and improves usage and adoption rates for those who take our courses. Once you have this information, you’re ready to communicate ROI to stakeholders.— Robin Wisner
Why metrics matter
Robin pointed to some stats from Skilljar’s 2022 Customer Education Benchmarks and Trends Report to underscore the need for a better understanding of how to track training metrics and how many learning professionals are interested in making metrics an area of focus at their organizations.
By leveling up our metrics, we’ve been able to improve our learning content and help with our content roadmap as well.— Robin Wisner
The evolution of ClickUp University
Robin provided context for where ClickUp was with their training one year ago, before making metrics a key area of focus for the company.
Robin acknowledged what most customer education professionals know: It’s important to collect and communicate your program metrics in a meaningful way, especially to stakeholders. Many are doing manual calculations, which is inefficient and takes up a lot of time.
Metrics are everything, and more Customer Education teams are making this a priority.— Robin Wisner
One of ClickUp’s core values is to make progress toward perfection. They knew there was a need for their users to get more from their product. So they launched with a minimum viable solution to be agile and iterative in improving their learning platform.
Sometimes we can get stuck on the starting block waiting to get everything perfect. Then you’ve missed a window of opportunity. I encourage all training teams to start small with your platform, and then build on it. — Robin Wisner
Here’s how they iterated ClickUp University:
November 2021 – Launched at their user conference, LevelUp, with just nine courses and three learning paths. (At the same time, behind the scenes, their instructional designer was working on courses leading up to a certificate program.)
1st Quarter 2022 – Introduced single sign-on so users could log in from the ClickUp platform into the university. They also added an “All Courses” page where users could see all of the courses offered in one place, in addition to the homepage. They broke up longer courses into shorter courses to increase completion rates.
2nd Quarter 2022 – Built webhooks to ingest data from Skilljar to get better, more detailed results for their program. ClickUp University was growing fast. (Approximately 5,000 monthly active users rising by ~500 – 1,000 each month). They wanted to understand who was using the training, and leadership wanted to understand how well it was working.
3rd Quarter 2022 – Launched their certificate program that offered users a certificate of completion. They also launched a second domain for partners.
4th Quarter 2022 – Launched paid Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT) through an integration with Stripe. They used Skilljar’s Plans feature to package and sell their training content with greater flexibility.
How to “measure up”? Start with the basics
Robin’s experience of measurement at ClickUp was to start with the basics. For their core information, they wanted to know the: # active students, # new active students each month (total #students for each month/#total number of students), # course enrollment, and # course completions.
With the ability to create and manage groups through Skilljar, there’s tons of information you can gather right from the Skilljar dashboard. When we were first looking at our metrics, we talked a lot with our Skilljar CSM, who was amazing.— Robin Wisner
Robin’s team found that their course completion rate was ~30% (versus the industry average of 40% and Skilljar customer benchmark of ~50%). And like most customer education professionals, they wondered how they could improve on these results. So Robin split up their courses into smaller units to encourage course completions.
After they released the courses related to certificates and their program was growing by 500-1000 active users per month, it was time to start digging deeper. They wanted to start working on targeted promotional emails, looking at personas, and more.
Time to level up your customer education metrics
What does every customer education professional want to know? According to Robin, it’s: who’s in your university, how long are they staying there, what are they doing, and why are they leaving.
To help them start leveling up their metrics, Christian looked into Business Intelligence (BI) tools such as Segment and Snowflake to better visualize their data. That meant moving Skilljar data into other tools so they could compare course activity by cohorts, such as SMB, mid-market, and enterprise customers. This was easily done by creating simple data models using Excel or CSV files, or Google Sheets. Alternatively, the data could be extracted using an API or webhooks.
For a deeper analysis, Christian demonstrated how once the data is extracted (using a CSV file, Excel, API, or webhooks) and loaded into your database (via Snowflake, AWS, or Google Sheets), you can then transform the data and use visualization tools (such as Tableau, Looker, and Power BI) to enhance the data by joining it to your own company’s metadata to make connections between a user’s account information and things like Annual Recurring Revenue and product usage.
The idea is to join registrations, course enrollments, lesson completions, and your own company’s data to build a central dataset that you can use to tie user activity in your learning platform (Skilljar) to user activity and behavior with your product.
Communicating Customer Education ROI to stakeholders
Whether you’re using the Skilljar dashboard or building a data visualization tool, the whole reason you’re leveling up your data is because you want to communicate your ROI to stakeholders.— Christian Renfro
ClickUp divided their ROI reporting into three groups: Executive (helping them understand learning activity’s effects on churn and expansion), Sales & Customer Success (giving them access to data to tell compelling customer stories), and Product (making sure their learning content is sticky).
Here are their goals for what they were looking for and how they extracted the data for each group.
Now we know that customers who invest time in training are less likely to churn.— Christian Renfro
Once we built a dashboard that combined training information with product usage data, sales reps could then have a holistic conversation about how clients were using different parts of the product and be able to self-service that information for themselves.>— Christian Renfro
You want to be able to get this information out there and available for the Sales team and CSMs so they can use it in their conversations with customers. This tool has been a real time saver for me and for a lot of the people who use it.— Robin Wisner
It’s very exciting for us because now we can actually measure product adoption, which is the dream of customer enablement. We want to know, is learning activity sticky? Is there increased product activity afterward? We can determine which are the high-performing courses and then we can investigate, why are they doing so well? — Robin Wisner
Robin concluded the webinar by explaining how metrics make the life of a customer education professional easier.
Being able to tie your program to revenue is key. We all want to be able to show ROI or at least a correlation between learning and product activity. Doing this increases your visibility and shows your value as a team. Having this data strengthens the company as a whole.”— Robin Wisner
Post-event Q&A session with ClickUp
The chat was on fire with questions for this webinar! Since we weren’t able to answer all your questions during the live event, we’ve captured those that weren’t answered live here.
Q: Do you track time on site, time in course/lesson, etc?
A: Through the Skilljar dashboard, we are able to see “time in training” metrics. We are working on tying that to time/money saved. Any time a customer uses ClickUp University content instead of contacting support or their CSM, that is money saved.
Q: Do you look at participation rates outside of completions?
A: At the moment, we are tracking enrollment vs. completions and user activity within the product 30 days pre- and post-ClickUp University course completion.
Q: What were the reasons you chose to start with certificates over certifications?
A: Certifications require a much more in-depth process. They need to be legally defensible and usually have a proctored/hands-on component. We had such a huge demand for some kind of “proof” of ClickUp knowledge, we started with certificates for now. We do hope to have admin certification in the future.
Q: Did you consider obtaining IACET certification for your classes so participants could earn CEUs and also increase the “value” of your training offerings?
A: Yes, we did consider it and may possibly add this in the future. We would like to offer at least admin certification at some point.
Q: What is an example of a product usage metric that would be joined with revenue and ClickUp University data?
A: We built a great dashboard that showed if the user completed a course that mentioned certain features, did they go into the product afterwards and use that feature. (This does make a few assumptions but it’s still valuable.)
Q: Do you look at the connection between untrained users and the number of support tickets raised?
A: We are starting to dig into that data. We started with revenue data to see retention first. Gotta start somewhere!
Q: Are you able to compare feature use/adoption of people who don’t take the course to use as a baseline vs people who do take the course? That feels really hard because I’m not sure what point in time you measure against.
A: Agreed, that is a hard part. That’s why we took the users who did take courses, and took their activity before/after taking a course. The date selection between those two groups would have been hard to measure.
Q: How do you facilitate and promote communication with Sales and Customer Success to make sure they have the most useful and accurate information about content in the University?
A: It’s still a work in progress. We create a lot of enablement sessions internally, 1-pagers, and cheat sheets for them to use. It helps to focus them not on all of our learning but on our onboarding resources, i.e., here’s what a user needs to get started.