The Customer Education Playbook – A Great Addition to our Customer Education libraries!

For Leaders and Practitioners, there are few books out there on the market which appeal specifically to the Customer Education Market which is why we always put the spotlight on any new seminal work on the subject.

With this episode we welcome Barry Kelly, CEO and Co-Founder of Thought Industries and Daniel Quick, SVP of Learning Strategies at Thought Industries to discuss their new work – “The Customer Education Playbook: How Leading Companies Engage, Convert, and Retain Customers“. This is a brand-new reference book that we at CELab will come back to time and time again.

Join us for a fun and insightful discussion that follows the “origin story” of the book, and dives deep into the challenges that Barry and Daniel have seen in our emerging industry and how this playbook, with it’s 12- step approach, can help you build an impactful, scalable Customer Education program.

Click here to get your copy today, and enjoy this amazing conversation!

How does the next generation of Customer Education leaders prepare for their roles? How can you become a Customer Education Leader? What can we, as the current leaders, do to prepare them? These meaty topics are close to our hearts, and Dave and Adam discussed them with Stephanie Pellegrino on CELab episode 77: The Next Generation of Customer Education Leaders.

If you want to become a Customer Education leader, this is a prime time: demand is outpacing supply for leaders who have “seen the movie” and been through several cycles building and leading teams. This means there are more opportunities for current CEd specialists to move into leadership roles.

But this isn’t easy today, as new leaders are expected to come up to speed quickly. It wasn’t easy for us either, when we were getting started. We grew into leadership positions at a time where there was very little information out there on how to run a Customer Education function in a SaaS business, especially one outside of more traditional Education Services.

Now there’s much more information out there: more books, podcasts, communities, and leaders working out loud and sharing their experience. But what these resources still won’t tell you is what you’re actually walking into as a CEd leader, or how to prepare to get into that position.

We’ve put together a few tips based on our discussion in the podcast, as well as our experience as Customer Education leaders.

Continue reading →

Over the years, many Customer Education practitioners have come to us at CELab asking, “How do I move up in my Customer Education career?”

  • What are some of the big mistakes we’ve made or even big questions that we couldn’t answer?
  • How can you as a new leader avoid them?
  • How can we as Customer Education leaders help set up the next generation for success?

And for this episode we talk with the one and only Stephanie Pellegrino – Director of Customer Education and Training at!

Join us for another incredible episode of CELab where we talk candidly and honestly about what we’ve learned, mistakes (happy accidents) we’ve made, and how you can avoid them.

While Customer Education has been around for many years, we at CELab attribute it’s re-emergence to the Customer Success movement. And with that, we invite special guest Nick Mehta – CEO of Gainsight – to the stage!

In this episode we take a macro perspective on Customer Success today – where it’s at and where it’s headed – and question the role that Customer Education plays. Companies today grow much faster, and this conversation takes a direct look at how Customer Education is at the core of Customer Success. In short, if you’re not putting Customer Education and Enablement programs in place early – then your “Crossing the Chasm” experience will be much more challenging.

Join us as we talk about:

  • The growth curve of Hypergrowth B2B SaaS
  • How Community, Documentation, Education, and Enablement factor in to support that growth
  • What are the 4 key areas for Education in SaaS to address going forward

And who knows, we may even talk about TikTok!

Thanks to Nick and the Gainsight team. This is a foundational episode you surely don’t want to miss!

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

For this episode, we welcome Melissa VanPelt who leads Seismic’s Global Education and Advocacy program at Seismic. We’ve hoped to have Melissa on the show for some time, and this is an episode you’ll truly enjoy.

And because of the depth and complexity of this episode, here’s a special introduction read by Adam:

Adam Avramescu  00:00

Hey everyone, Adam here, just doing a quick introduction before this episode, and we don’t usually do this, but I wanted to focus in on a specific part of the conversation. That’s coming a little bit later. Now, as you’ll hear, we had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa Van Pelt, who is an amazing customer education and enablement leader over at seismic. And we had a great conversation with her.

But towards the end, she makes a certain comment about faking it until you make it. And we talk about it in the context of the episode. But I think this is a really important point, for anyone listening, who’s thinking about growing their career in customer education, or perhaps in some cases rising through the ranks of a company.

In the conversation, she’s talking about the idea that she didn’t necessarily come from a customer education background, and how she had to learn customer success, and then learn customer education, learn community.

I think, in the middle of that, and the way that she was able to take on this increasing scope is not because she was a specialist in learning or customer marketing, or product marketing or any of this, but because, as her company, kept building strategic programs, they trusted her as a leader who could commit to learning everything she needed to learn about that field to make it work.

So the phrase she uses is, “fake it till you make it.” And I think that’s a phrase that cuts both ways. Because often, when we think about something like that, we think, oh, you know, just just pretend you know what you’re doing. And, you know, then eventually, you’ll, you’ll know what you’re doing. And I don’t think that’s actually how it works.

In a lot of cases, the way that she uses the phrase, fake it till you make it is really throw yourself in, start learning, commit, apply those skills, and then figure out how to fill in gaps until you’re doing the thing, you know, quote, unquote, the right way. So, because Melissa works really hard to understand her customers need, how her business works. That I think is how she’s gotten the opportunities to continue to expand her scope. And frankly, it’s what I see a lot of other leaders do, who have continued to expand their scope within and even outside of customer education. It’s not about pretending you know, everything is not about puffing up or posturing.

And frankly, I think as our field grows, you’ll continue to see people who who choose to take that approach where they’ll kind of like pretend they know what they’re talking about, but they don’t actually know. That’s not the right kind of fake until you make it think the right kind of fake it till you make it is exactly what we talked about in this episode where you really roll up your sleeves.

  • You actively listen,
  • You learn and you take a fundamentally humble approach to learning about how to make this thing work at your business.
  • And that’s how you’ll continue to get great opportunities as time goes on.

So with that said, let’s get into the episode!

It’s Valentine’s Day and our gift to the CELab Community was intended to be a “Mini”. Turned out, both Adam and Dave got on a roll and at about the 31 minute mark, Adam can be heard to say, “Let’s wrap up Marketing, okay? In a fairly effective amount of time, and then our next episode, can be on Product.”

This always happens!

Well, we made the entire talk about the intersection of Customer Education and Marketing! In particular we talked much about how Customer Education can help Marketing and Product Marketing teams to educate a market, how we create opportunities to develop educational programs about a B2B SaaS or other business’s industry and skills.

We get into Demand Generation, Lead Generation, Events, and all the messy stuff that always comes up. But when it comes down to it – your Customer Education team is your Trusted Advisor for educating your market. Let’s work together more … it’s fun, and it’s a powerful combination.

Check below for a full transcript!

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Are you wondering how to move from K-12 to Customer Education? Or academia to corporate learning? In this episode, we’re diving into how Customer Education professionals get into the business. Many professionals make a move into Customer Education from teaching, K12 or academia. Others move from Customer Success to Customer Education. Today’s guest has actually worked in each of those worlds! So tune in for a discussion with Monica Sindwani from AgentSync.

Monica made the move from teaching to Customer Success and Customer Education. In this episode, she shares tips for teachers and academics making the move into instructional design or corporate learning. We discuss the paradox of transferable skills and how intellectual humility plays a big part in reskilling. And we talk about how programs like Salesforce Trailhead and other credential programs can be a huge asset for anyone looking to move into the technology field.

Episode Links:

Pivoting out of Edu Podcast

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Join us for Part 2 of our crossover with another great podcast: He Said, Dee Said with Dee Kapila from Miro and Ryan Roch from Cisco. We continue our Pop Culture thread on how Video Games, Music, and Video does or doesn’t apply to Customer Education. We range far and wide with this final episode of 2021!

Happy New Year from CELab and all of us in the Customer Education community!

And as always, check below for a full transcript of the show!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

In previous years, our year-end episode is where we like to kick back and have some fun! We’ve done episodes on what Radiohead and David Bowie can teach us about Customer Education.

But this year we thought we’d mix it up and do a crossover with another great podcast: He Said, Dee Said. Where the Dee in question is our friend Dee Kapila, who leads Customer Education at Miro! And the He in question, is her husband Ryan Roch who a Customer Success Executive at Cisco.

Join us for Part 1 where we share a Pop Culture topic – something we’ve enjoyed in the last year (or in the pandemic) and debate how it does/doesn’t apply to Customer Education!

We range wide over a ton of subjects and there are true gems! Make sure you catch He Said, Dee Said too. How are Roguelikes like Enterprise SaaS software? Well … you’ll just have to listen to find out!

It’s one thing to say that you “Lead with Data” (emphasize air quotes).  It’s another thing entirely to build the kind of dashboards and reports that will allow you to do it.

In this episode Christy Hollingshead, Senior Director of Customer Education at Heap, guides us into safely into that territory. While many of us lean on metrics like Completion Rates or attempt to use the Kirkpatrick Model to assess the performance (and value) of their content which doesn’t take into account how one’s educational material impacts the business.

In B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses we gauge performance through a different kind of vocabulary, using terms such as Adoption, Churn, Retention, which are often new and perhaps alien concepts to those new to the discipline of Customer Education. Focus on these kinds of metrics can and do earn Customer Education and Enablement leaders a seat at the executive table.

We think that anybody can easily work with data they have about their program to build helpful Reports and Dashboards or simply gain insights into how customers’ are using educational material to help their businesses