Does your training and certification business matter?


The only way to answer this question is to have an honest conversation about WHY you’re training your customers. It is the only thing that your customers really care about, and the only thing that truly drives revenue, and allows everyone to articulate the value of the training and certification program. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Do you require that the customers actually learn something?

In other words, do you have a product or service that relies on your customers having the knowledge to use that product or service, and their lack of retention will have a negative effect on revenue for your core business?

It’s important, to be honest about this one; it’s easy to be noble and talk about the value of learning and education and improving the world. Let’s assume we all agree, and now you need to determine how you’re going to measure and quantify the success of the customer’s learning and retention. If you don’t have a way of doing this, then you must create one.

Do you currently have a training program or do you just have subject matter experts (SMEs) do presentations?

Having SMEs present PowerPoint slides, or consult, is not training. End of story.

If you have certifications, assuming they are not mission and life-critical (health care) or enabling someone to continue in their profession (real estate), do they really have a value for your customers?

The best way to create value for certifications is to make them exclusive. Think of them like a luxury brand that everyone wants, but instead of buying it, they have to earn it. Rewards must be recognizable by the community and not attainable through any other means. The best way to achieve this is by finding a partner who sees the certifications as valuable and meaningful. In the IT certification world, your partner should be the industry; if your certifications can drive income for the individual, either directly or indirectly, it’s the best endorsement you can get. Don’t forget you can market to the industry to illustrate the value of the certification.

Is your training a cost centre, cost relief, or do you run it as a P&L?

Don’t fall into the trap of not understanding what is required to quantify your business and deem it successful. A proper, effective program requires investment, and if you can’t quantify the value to the company, then it will make it impossible to justify it through the number one business question; ROI, or return on investment.

If you can’t quantify your business though ROI dollars, can you quantify it through training leading into revenue growth of the company’s primary service or product, and/or customer retention?

Having access to this information is critical, especially in these times of SAAS and training as a subscription service. Providing a subscription service, with access to all your products and services, exposes the customer to new things they perhaps didn’t even know they needed. If you can track the adoption of new products and services from the customer training portal, then you will find your training service may actually be your best sales and marketing tool.

About the author

Tim Mabey
Brand strategy and customer engagement

I am a partner and a coach for senior leaders, helping them to overcome obstacles in order to carve a new path forward.  I ask them tough questions to clarify the real issues, help them make difficult decisions and work through challenges.  In times of turbulence and change, I can assist leaders to clarify and position their brand to be their “North Star” to guide them, their employees and their customers.

I have over 25 years’ leadership experience in premium IT Training, software, and hardware solutions organizations, specializing in branding, marketing and strategic design/execution. I co-founded an IT training company, spearheaded growth from 0 to 100 employees, led the organization through a full transition following the 2008 financial crisis, and on to the sale of the company to a Public Fortune500 company.

Colleagues and team members would say I’m extremely positive, calm, adaptable and quick-thinking in a crisis or fast-changing environment. I enjoy working with people and am genuinely interested in building relationships and lasting connections, which has helped me secure strong partnerships and negotiate lucrative revenue-generating contracts.  I am energized by challenges, enthusiastically embracing the unknown and applying perspective in order to help others consider fresh possibilities, increase revenue and create efficiencies. I can turn problems into opportunities by providing both strategic direction and tactical, measurable objectives.

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