Increasingly, learning professionals are being asked to demonstrate the business value of their Customer Education programs. It’s important to uncover these insights to understand what training works best for your customers as well as to highlight your team’s worth. Overall analytics are great, but it’s also effective to compare different customer accounts to identify who’s using your training and how that correlates with business outcomes (NPS, CSAT, retention, etc.) for those customers.

In CELab’s 100th episode (about 10 minutes in), Christy Hollingshead, VP of Customer Engagement at Heap, a Skilljar customer, shared how the true turning point in her career came when she shifted her focus from output to outcomes. Rather than focus on how much content her team released each week, month, or quarter, she set out to analyze if the content they produced could be correlated with desired business outcomes.

I really think the turning point in my career where doors started to open and seats at the table started to be offered was when I could talk with leaders about how customer education was going to improve their adoption, improve their user and account retention, drive more expansion dollars, and reduce support tickets.— Christy Hollingshead, VP Customer Engagement, Heap

Companies invest in customer education to drive deeper engagement with their products through training. Trained users lead to higher product adoption which leads to sustained customer retention. In the ideal scenario, companies and their customers realize the full potential of their relationship when customers are getting the full benefits of a product or software. Customers are far less likely to slash the budget for a piece of software that their entire organization uses on a daily basis, compared to one that no one is using.

The value of account-level training data

To correlate customer education to customer retention (or higher customer satisfaction – a crucial step before retention), we need to start tracking customer training on an account level. This can be accomplished by tying account-level data from a Learning Management System (LMS) to data that the company houses in its own systems. Very often, the key measures of success when it comes to satisfaction, engagement, and retention are Gross Revenue Retention (GRR), Net Revenue Retention (NRR), NPS (Net Promoter Score), and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction).

Many Skilljar customers use our comprehensive Salesforce integration to pull data from their training platform into their CRM so they can build granular analytics dashboards. But building reports in Salesforce often takes specialists that aren’t always available. The Customer Education leaders may not be using their company CRM, and some of them don’t even have access. Their platform is the LMS, it’s what they are specialists in and where they can make the greatest contributions. However, the LMS on its own does not provide direct access to customer health scores, customer renewal information, or NPS data.

There is a way to marry the two information sources – training data and business impact metrics – and it doesn’t have to be difficult or require technical expertise.

Measuring the business impact of customer education

Here is how Skilljar helps our customers tie training results to business results.

  1. Configure your LMS to collect training data on the account level. (In Skilljar, this is accomplished with Student Groups. Customers who don’t have SSO can automate account groups by email domain. This is a great proxy for “account”. Group Analytics, in effect, then becomes “account analytics,” where you |compare the performance of your accounts based on metrics like active users, session time, enrollments, and completions.)Account-level reporting in Skilljar LMS
  2. Use the Skilljar/Salesforce integration to make granular training data available to a broader audience; for example, your Customer Success team. A custom report in Salesforce will enable you to include training data in an account-level report.
  3. Use Skilljar’s Customer Education Business Templates to visualize the whole process of correlating this data without relying on technical resources. (Customize the definition of a “trained customer” to demonstrate how trained customers compare to untrained customers on key metrics like GRR, NRR, NPS, and CSAT.)

    Skilljar's Customer Education Business Impact Template measures NPS scores for trained vs. untrained accounts

    Skilljar’s Customer Education Business Impact Template measures NPS scores for trained vs. untrained accounts

  4. Share this dataset with your CS leaders and prove the value of your training program by linking training performance with business performance. (For some creative inspiration, see how one Skilljar customer, LaunchDarkly, communicates customer education program impact to stakeholders.)

A lot can be learned from looking at multiple data sources side by side. Do your trained accounts really renew more often? Do they have a higher NPS score? How do you define trained? You can start answering these questions by visualizing training data at the account level.

Is your LMS providing access to account-level data? If not, you could be missing the opportunity to claim your seat at the table when it comes to creating business value.

Skilljar customers: Reach out to your CSM to learn more about how to create account-level reporting using Skilljar Groups.

Suanne Mueller is a Senior Product Manager for Skilljar.