View Skilljar’s new Customer Education Business Impact Template to visualize your program’s impact on business-level metrics and communicate its impact to internal stakeholders!
Skilljar Coffee Chats showcase different ways customers are using our platform, including demos with special guests. This month’s Customer Education Coffee Chat, hosted by Cutler Bleecker, Skilljar’s Customer Training Manager, featured a conversation with B.J. Schone, Director of Learning and Enablement for LaunchDarkly.
LaunchDarkly is a feature management platform that empowers SaaS teams to deliver and control their software in a way that’s more manageable, less stressful, and more intelligent.
B.J.’s talk on how training practitioners can create a story about their education program’s progress and impact to share with senior executives is particularly relevant to Skilljar, as we are committed to helping our customers demonstrate the business value of their education programs.
So grab your coffee and read the recap of how LaunchDarkly communicates progress and impact for their Customer Education program!
We rolled out our Academy with Skilljar in less than six months. Skilljar’s been a great partner and we’re excited by all of the buy-in across our company – from Engineering, Product Marketing, Customer Success, and more – to build out the content in LaunchDarkly Academy.”— B.J. Schone
How do you gauge customer education program success?
Before embarking on any customer training program, it’s important to understand what you want to get out of it and what success metrics look like. For LaunchDarkly, this includes both a short- and long-term vision, and a comparison of trained vs. untrained customer accounts.
In the short-term, consolidating multiple training programs was key. In the longer term, they wanted to impact business metrics such as product adoption, expansion, renewals, and support tickets opened.
Initially, our focus was on communicating our progress building a program; now we’re shifting more toward the value we bring to the business. Ultimately, what matters is business impact.— B.J. Schone
10 ways to communicate Customer Education program progress and impact to stakeholders
Before you can demonstrate program impact, you should identify your internal stakeholder audiences and understand what information they need on a regular basis. Who are the people in power? Who might be interested in this information?
Map out what each group might need and how you can get it to them, based on the level of power and interest each group has regarding your program. Once you have this information mapped out, you can use the following tactics to communicate impact.
1. Create a “walking deck” to share with internal stakeholders
A walking deck is an informal presentation you can share with different teams and update based on their feedback and reactions. This will help you determine what the content teams would find most valuable and crystalize the success metrics you should be creating.
This type of presentation helps you build relationships and make stakeholders aware of what you’re doing and the progress you’re making. It also helps you share a common vocabulary around goals and impacts, so when you actually start to present your results, you are all on the same page about the information being covered.
Get out there and spread the word about what you’re doing. Even if you think stakeholders already know about your program, it’s not a bad idea to show them again from your point of view.— B.J. Schone
2. Establish a central source for all Academy information
To keep everyone streamlined as to what’s in their Academy, B.J. created an internal page in Confluence that his team contributes to. The Confluence page provides an overview of their Academy including an explanation of what it is, visual assets, marketing messaging, slides of Academy pages, FAQs, certification badges, courses in progress, and more.
Having our Academy information centralized helps us communicate all things Academy. For every piece of training we create, we have a page with the course description and learning objectives. We point stakeholders to it to get all the information they need. And they are very appreciative – our CSMs love this.— B.J. Schone
3. Create a Slack/Teams channel to share academy information with stakeholders
B.J. created an #Academy channel in their company’s Slack platform where they post updates on their customer education program, including results. It’s just another way for them to promote their progress and communicate program impact.
My goal with these announcements is to be able to one day say, we’re seeing the impact of trained vs. untrained audiences. We’re seeing fewer support tickets, or more frequent expansions and renewals, for trained customers.— B.J. Schone
4. Post Academy info in existing Slack/Teams channels to keep stakeholders informed
Whenever you have something worth sharing about your training program with other teams, don’t wait for them to come to your Slack/Teams channel. Post in other team channels when you have a key update that matters for that team and how they interact with their end users.
5. Create a quarterly recap report
B.J. created a quarterly report to keep stakeholders informed on their Academy’s performance and what’s coming next.
The Table of Contents for their Q4 recap includes:
- What We’re Hearing
- Q4 by the Numbers
- How We Enhanced the Academy
- What We’re building for the Next Quarter
Our execs are really happy with the data points we’ve shown them so far.— B.J. Schone
6. Send personalized messages to executives
It could be helpful to share any important results or information directly with company executives that would be happy to hear the news. Of course, you need to use your own judgment for creating these types of messages at your company.
Just be really smart about either the relationships you have and the ones you want to build, and how you would craft that message.— B.J. Schone
7. Create a “Wall of Fame” to share customer testimonials
B.J. uses an internal company page built in Confluence to share quotes from customers, partners, and internal team members to celebrate any positive news about the program. He then shares the page in one of the Slack/Teams channels mentioned earlier to gain visibility and update on progress and impact for the program.
From a LaunchDarkly customer:
“We might have purchased an enterprise plan if we had this training sooner and knew everything that was available.”
Quotes like this feel really good. And that’s something we want to make sure our internal stakeholders hear. Why not celebrate the impact you’re having on your customers?— B.J. Schone
8. Create a monthly feedback report
B.J.’s team uses Typeform to conduct sophisticated surveys for all of their courses. With this tool, they can dig deeper into feedback by using conditional logic to create question branches based on users’ answers, including hiding questions if they’re not relevant based on a response. For example, if a user gives a low score on something, the system can send them more questions to help understand why the score was given.
For example, the first question they ask is whether the respondent is a customer or prospect. Depending on the answer, they can ask questions specific to current or potential users.
Key questions in the feedback report include:
- As a potential user of LaunchDarkly, has taking this course increased your interest in our software?
- How useful was the course content in understanding the features and capabilities of LaunchDarkly?
- Has taking this course impacted your confidence level in using LaunchDarkly?
Along with the other measures discussed, B.J. compiles these results on a monthly basis to communicate program progress and impact to executives.
9. Put reporting into the hands of Customer Success Managers and Account Execs
B.J.’s team created a report in Salesforce to show where customers are in terms of completing courses in their Academy. They then share this report with CSMs, AEs, and anybody else in the company that has Salesforce access, and train them on how to filter the report. For example, CSMs can filter by email domain of a customer and see how many end users are completing training.
It’s important to empower teams to go in and get their own data by creating analytics dashboards and teaching them how to find the information they need. Skilljar helps give us this ability.— B.J. Schone
10. Build dashboards to monitor and share progress
User data from Skilljar is connected to Salesforce via the Skilljar Data Connector. The Salesforce instance will be configured to flow into Snowflake. Looker is able to pull any data that exists in Snowflake and populate dashboards. (Every other data set in their company flows into Snowflake, so it’s important for internal teams to see results there.)
Starting with Skilljar data, we will be able to understand metrics such as support tickets opened, expansions, renewals, customer satisfaction, CSAT, NPS, and more – for our customers that completed training.— B.J. Schone
For B.J., the top questions to help assess the business impact of their training program are:
- Are Academy users more likely to use more features in LaunchDarkly?
- If they’re using the training, are they adopting the product more holistically?
Their team will look at the data they have in Snowflake and pair it up with their Skilljar data to create the ultimate impact dashboard to answer these questions.
In summary, here are B.J.’s suggestions for creating and showing business value for your education program.
First, make sure you have a clear idea of who your audience is and what they want and need. And then come up with ways you think will work best to keep them updated on the progress and impact of your program.— B.J. Schone
Ready to understand the impact of trained customers vs. untrained customers for your product?
Here are some resources from Skilljar: