CELab – Ep 63 – Customer Education State of the Industry 202…

Fri, 6/11 10:25AM • 1:08:37

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

customer, education, report, training, teams, product, adoption, consumption, people, tsi, content, leaders, companies, important, adam, talked, respondents, thinking, services, build

SPEAKERS

Adam Avramescu, Dave Derington

Adam Avramescu  00:00

Welcome to see lab, the customer education lab where we explore how to build customer education programs, experiment with new approaches, and take all of those myths and bad advice and send them promptly into the rehabilitation center. I’m Adam sq.

Dave Derington  00:17

And I am Dave Derington.

Adam Avramescu  00:20

And today is one of our absolute favorite international day jobs. It is National waitstaff day.

Dave Derington  00:28

National waitstaff day, I love it, again, don’t get a lot of respect in COVID times.

Adam Avramescu  00:34

Absolutely. They I mean, they’ve been essential workers in every sense of the word.

Dave Derington  00:42

So let’s uh, let’s get into this today, we’ve got a really great episode ahead. And here at CELab, one of our main goals is to keep you updated on also the research and reports that are coming out of the customer education world, especially, especially when they addressed the state of our industry, our new practice of customer education.

Adam Avramescu  01:04

So today, we have a little world of customer education.

Dave Derington  01:07

The funky little world. Today, Adam, what we have two great reports, right? We have TSIA is 2021 state of education services, and thought industry is 2021. state of customer education. So a lot to cover today.

Adam Avramescu  01:22

Yeah, that’s the it’s really the state of the state. And we like these reports, because they come at the research from slightly different angles, TSIA, a third party Industry Association,  technology services industry association, we’ve covered their reports many times on the show. And so they’re able to take that more independent perspective. Whereas you’ve got thought industries, who is a customer education company, right? So they’re talking about their customers doing the work they can, they can see what behaviors their their customers are putting into practice with both of them. And we’ll talk a little bit about the methodology can still cast a wide net as far as talking to customers who are at, or companies, I should say, who are different sizes, different industries. So it’s interesting, just seeing coming at it from a couple of different angles.

Dave Derington  02:14

Yeah, so well, let’s dive into these reports. And, and I think what’s most important to us, Adam, as you know, peers and thought leaders in this industry are I guess we could call ourselves that to some degree. We want to know what the trends are for. You can

Adam Avramescu  02:30

I self identify as a “thought laggard” personally …

Dave Derington  02:33

A thought laggard, I kind of like that.

Adam Avramescu  02:37

I’m just along for the ride. So getting into this, we’re going to recommend that you download these reports go on to each of the TSIA and thought industries website and check them out, read them in detail. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, material that you can share with your leadership and your peers and your team. We’re deliberately not going to spoil all the information in there, because we want you to read the reports, the TSIA report, is at tsia.com, and the resources section, thought industries report.industries.com. They have an E book and report section on their site.

Dave Derington  03:14

All right, well, are you ready to dive in?

Adam Avramescu  03:16

I’m ready as I’ll ever be.

Dave Derington  03:18

Cool. Okay, let’s dive in and start with the TSIA report. So this is the yearly report that Maria Manning-Chapman does. It’s from TSIA’s Education Services Research practice. So tell us a little bit more about your, your perception of this going into it?

Adam Avramescu  03:38

Well, so we’ve had Maria Manning champion on the show, I’d like to think she is a friend of the show, she leads this practice and writes the report from a perspective of having really deep industry expertise, as well as from the perspective of TSIA is member organizations who are primarily, as the name implies, education services organizations. So right, you’ll see, when we think about this report, some of the perspective here skews towards teams who are offering more services based education programs, and typically teams who are generating revenue.

Dave Derington  04:14

Yeah, that’s a I think that’s worthy of a little bit of sidebar discussion here, Adam, that when we talk education services formally, what comes to mind for me is education service has been around for a while, right? It’s, I mean, I think going back all the way to the good old butts in seats, days, you know, where we’re going to big on site trainings for a week at a time and stuff like that. And now, where we’ve entered as a new practice or discipline, serving more of those rapidly scaling companies and the differentiation is that we call ourselves customer education. There’s differences and I think what this these reports can do is help show like how the thinking and the emotions that we have in education are shifting More skewing more towards these sort of the practices that we do. Now it’s super interesting to consider going back to the TSI this perspective, because this year, Maria in particular challenges customer education orgs pretty directly to be like this term shot ready? What the heck does that mean?

Adam Avramescu  05:22

I didn’t know either when I read this, because I’m not like a big, I’m not a big basketball person. But here in Oakland, we are big fans of Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. And, you know, Steph Curry specifically is known for his ability to pretty much land a shot at any time, right? Because like a great shooter, you do it in a moment’s notice. And so that’s what being shot ready is all about? Like, no matter where you are on the court, you’re ready to make that shot?

Dave Derington  05:50

Cool. Well, I think what comes to mind for me, and you know, I’ve read this report as well. How does he do that? You know, he does that he does his job well, not by really being incredibly flashy or showy. Right? I mean, we think of that as a superstar hero, you’re the leader on the court in the basketball industry. But even what he says it’s through deep practice, on the fundamentals, practice, practice, practice. Oh, and in this report, Maria challenges customer Ed leaders to be shot ready by mastering the fundamentals. And argues that, and this is this is a hard swallow, I think, but I think it’s honest, that most of us just aren’t actually shot ready. We’re not ready. What do you think about

Adam Avramescu  06:36

Are you saying this is kind of like the Hamilton problem? You’re saying a lot of customer education teams might not be young, scrappy, and hungry, and they’re throwing away their shot?

Dave Derington  06:47

Yeah, pretty much. It’s interesting. We got to go get into this.

Adam Avramescu  06:51

Yeah. So I mean, you you kind of call this out, right? Like she’s talking when she talks about those fundamentals? Well, we’ll kind of pull this away from the basketball analogy for a moment. It’s it’s the idea that these education teams are chasing this really lofty goal of product adoption, driving product adoption, growth. And infirmity. For many of these teams. That means moving away from this older world, where they were focused on being the standalone p&l generating their own bookings, margin revenue, right services teams that services teams do. But increasingly, we’re starting to realize, okay, as education services teams, maybe we don’t just exist to perpetuate ourselves, maybe we really exist to grow our SaaS products, and really to grow customer adoption over time, because that’s really what our company is trying to do. That’s what gets us a seat at the table. But, but for all these teams, who maybe are making the transition, or for some who are starting from scratch, and just haven’t really built up that maturity, yet you call this out, like education services has been around for a while, but these teams still aren’t getting the basic mechanics. Right. What do you make of that?

Dave Derington  08:02

Well, is bothersome for one, and it’s really interesting for to that. Okay, we’ve been around for a while things, it shows that things have palpably changed. And, you know, one of one of my like, overarching thoughts is that we actually have kind of adopted and ingratiated ourselves into this world of customer success, where we’re thinking about time to value adoption, like all the things we want the customers that we have to be like us, we want to use the product, right. And that’s really the North Star that of everything that we can do we want to be see people actually using that product. So, you know, I think we should start dipping into these fundamentals, as Maria calls them out, when we can start with the first one, which is actually getting training into the hands of the customers. Yeah, that Yeah. Without exploiting too much of the actual data in that reporting, and we want you to read it, you definitely do check it out. Training attached rates, let’s talk about that. And attorney attach rate is, you know, how many people are from an account, who actually went in consumed your training on demand live, whatever format that you have? Well, these rates are really low still, and they are not trending upwards at all. That’s, I mean, what do you think about that? That’s, that’s pretty bold and interesting.

Adam Avramescu  09:26

Yeah, it’s, it’s stuck at a ridiculously low rate. And I mean, anecdotally, we know that that’s kind of true in the sense that you talk, you go and talk to other customer education programs, especially those who are offering customer education services, or those who have their their content gated. And you ask, you know, hey, how many of your customers are getting trained? And those who can even answer the question, that’s a struggle for them, right, like both to answer the question because the data isn’t always available, but also, when you can’t answer the question, usually The the attach rates are still pretty low because customers are signing up to use your product, but they just aren’t getting trained. So I agree. I mean, I think it’s a pretty prevalent problem Maria’s hit the nail on the head, but it you know, there could be maybe some sort of, there could be something to the structure of this question, right? Because it’s like, education attached here as measured by actual, like education that is getting sold, either with a product, like as part of a net new sale, or with an expansion where the company releases a new product, and then training gets attached to that. So that’s, that’s kind of defining it specifically, are there other ways maybe that education is getting into the hands of customers that aren’t reflected in that? Number?

Dave Derington  10:50

Yeah, I mean, there’s other ways you could package up your training, if that’s what you’re alluding to, like? How do we want to get training in the hands of a customer? Well, you could be packaged with other offers? Or? Well, heck, he could just deliver it in the product itself. You know, we could have, we could have little, you know, pop ups and things that help guide people. I think there’s a lot of ways to do it. And it’s just a matter of like, we need to think more, we need to think broadly. I mean, it’s not, I’m kind of going off script here a little bit from thinking, you know, our thoughts and responses to this. But when I think about engagement, it’s really not a training is never done, education has never done, what was it? azimoff that said something like that, you know, you’re on a journey

Adam Avramescu  11:38

for us for cloud robotics.

Dave Derington  11:40

Yeah. I’m glad you had that tip of your fingers, or at least the internet helped you out. But we want to continue a journey, a conversation with a customer over time. You know, I know my trainer say this to me all the time, that we’ll have a 60 minute session or a 90 minute session, and you know, what, everything’s getting stuffed in your head. And then you forget it, you know, we know after attending devlearn, and other training classes, like on micro learning, they say you lose like 90% of everything you’ve learned in a day. So we’re thinking all these other packages, and all these other ways to get the content in the hands of the customers, or at least have them Cognizant and aware that it’s there. So they can come back and use it when they’re when they need to, or it’s there in front of them in the moment.

Adam Avramescu  12:20

Yeah, I mean, while while we’re while we’re very off script here, like 90 90% stuff. It’s It’s true. And it’s not fair. Yeah. Because a lot of that 90% stuff is based off of Ebbinghaus, the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve. And the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve is based on someone’s ability to remember nonsense syllables, it’s not actually based on their ability to mean to retain information that was relevant to them, or information that’s going to fit any schema in their brain. So like, in a way, right? You know, weigh all of that research that’s predicated on the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, or on the idea that if this information just leaks out of your head, it’s true, but it’s true for the wrong reasons. It’s in for information that’s not relevant to you, or doesn’t have any any, like grounding, in your prior knowledge or in relevance to Yes, of course, that’s going to leak out of your head, because you’re not going to do anything with it. So we have to be careful here. Right. And we’ll come back to the report, probably after this, because this is going to turn into a huge instructional design tangent. But the reports actually do talk about relevance. I think the point here is yes, there are other ways to get training in front of your your customers, but often, you know, and I think the low training attach rates here kind of reflect this is it we’re probably not doing a good enough job. Bringing customers are training in a way that really feels relevant that will provide value to them and will ultimately lead to better consumption. I think that’s that’s part of where the failure is here. We’re like doing training to check the box. Yeah. Yeah. So which is not what you really

Dave Derington  13:59

want to do overall?

Adam Avramescu  14:01

Yeah, yeah. So I don’t know Dave, like this is this is a thorny issue, like, what, what else do we have to say about education attached here?

Dave Derington  14:14

Well, let’s talk a little bit more about how we put this. This is just really interesting, right? You know, many of the folks that are listening today to our podcast, may not even have education services packages to begin with. And they may not be thinking we’re just starting out, right? We’re just starting to get material surfaced and in the hands of the customers. And as we’ve said, what’s really important is like, well, let’s just get that there. And there’s not necessarily a training package that a sales team can sell along with, like, let’s say we’re doing it for free, if included in subscription, we’ve got training, we’ve got on demand content on university, maybe we’ve got something we can offer, but it’s really it’s kind of like part of our thing it’s not actually outright called out. And that’s its own problem, because in many cases, we don’t know how many customers are actually getting training, who should be. And if we generalize from the report, we’re coming back to the report now, when kind of conclude the no matter what sort of Education team are running, you gotta aim to figure out what percentage of your new customers or customers are purchasing, purchasing new products or existing customers. But now, like at outreach with this launch, Kaia and insights, we’re launching plans, all these new, fundamentally meaty things, how do we ensure trainings actually getting to the end goal? Like getting to the customer in the hands so they can see it? Right?

Adam Avramescu  15:38

Yeah, I think that’s the good, that’s the good analogy to draw here. Because if you’re an if you’re like a pure education services team, which I think a lot of TSI is, customers are certainly not all TSIA to say TSIA, excuse me, initialisms are hard, has a variety of variety of programs in their in their membership base. But if you’re a pure education services team, then kind of like the fundamental unit that you’re thinking about is what is my offering? Like, what is my skew that I can add onto an order form and sell like, have the account executive sell along with whatever software I’m selling, and this is, this is like a foreign language for a new customer Education team, and especially a new customer Education team, who’s not really focused on developing anything that is sellable, right, like if your primary charter as a team, yeah, is to deliver knowledge based content and a free Academy and ongoing webinars and like, yeah, that stuff needs to get into the hands of the customers, but it’s not going to be pitched and sold the same way. So that’s the analogy that I draw in my in my head is instead of thinking about, like, training, attach, you used to, you’re still thinking about training, consumption.

Dave Derington  16:53

consumption. Yeah, that’s a second point, right? That driving that content consumption is actually kind of difficult. I mean, it should be simple. But what, you know, if you’re training people to adopt adopt the product, then you then to your point, we need, we want we desire for our customers to actually consume the training that we have.

Adam Avramescu  17:14

Yeah, that’s, I mean, and then do to measure that fundamental and not everyone knows the the answer to that, you know, the, I think the report argues it’s, it’s not just about getting training, training into the hands of the customers, it’s not just about attaching it to a deal. It’s really about actively consumption planning, and making sure that if you delivered training to someone, or if you’ve given them the option to take training, that they’re then actually going and doing the training. Is this not? Is this common sense? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe it is.

Dave Derington  17:49

Well, actually, actually, I’d argue that it is common sense. But it’s hard. You know, I think about you’re just starting out, and you don’t really have like, I’ve talked to people pretty pretty regularly like you do, and particularly those who are just starting out, but what do I do? Where do I start? And it’s in the thing that I always recommend is okay, don’t worry about LMS. Don’t worry about all these highfalutin things that you could have your tech stack, make some training modules, get some on demand courses, use GoToMeeting, whatever you got, just start and record them and start working from then that’s where we start, right. And you can measure how people are consuming that you can export your go to webinar or zoom trainings, you can go through like, if you actually do have, I mean, might be able to get not individual stuff. But let’s say you use Wistia or Vidyard, or something like that to serve as videos, you can see who’s consuming them. And even some of them have really good information about how much consumption is going on. not tied to an individual, but you can do it.

Adam Avramescu  18:48

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I was talking to someone earlier today who was trying to figure out how to measure engagement on their program, and they didn’t have an LMS. And they don’t know if they’re going to get an LMS. But what they do have and can start to plug into is a marketing automation system. So they can at least see, you know, when people are getting queued to do a certain thing in the product or taking the next step in their implementation. They can be queued via their marketing automation platform to go take the next step. Because that is a trigger that the marketing automation system can tell if the customer did or didn’t do it, it can branch them off to the next step based on that. So you can see, at least based on that information, like not necessarily in your LMS but in your marketing automation platform, which emails are getting opened, which people are on which step and you can start to respond to that data as well.

Dave Derington  19:42

Yeah, I like some of the dtsi is research here. They said only 26% of the respondents have a consumption scorecard. You know, something that you’d use to defend, identify who is consuming who is under consuming and what’s the number 28% Have a playbook that, to your point what you’re just talking about that can be used to prompt learners along the path. Yeah. So for teams that don’t have that in place, the first question might be something like, Well, how do I know if my customers are actually getting trained? And how do I drive them to take the trip or if we’re using a marketing automation system, we can start getting that, chances are that you have the information, but it just might be a manual process at first that you run once, like, I used to do this at first, when I first started out once a month, I would go and gaps, get all the data sources, I can munge them together and then go, look, you know, I can see this many people went through and looked at this video and did this and I’m getting this feedback from surveys. So you can you can sidle up to it. But I’m not gonna say it’s not hard. It’s it’s definitely not trivial.

Adam Avramescu  20:49

No, but you know that that 20% number, that’s it’s pretty low. Right? what that’s telling me is that less than a third of the people that TSI surveyed here, even really had a, like a strategy, essentially, around how they were going to drive consumption. And so what you’re talking about here is really connecting all the dots, closing all the loops, making sure that there was a way right to, you know, button this up and automate it. But you don’t necessarily need to be at that level, like have a manual consumption plan and have a way for your CSM to check in on whether their customer has done training at a certain point and prompt them to do it. If they haven’t. Like that stuff. That’s not easy. But you kind of need that in place before you’re really doing the more automated version of it anyway.

Dave Derington  21:36

Yeah, yeah, I agree.

Adam Avramescu  21:39

So I don’t know. I mean, I think those numbers are low. And I think that’s exactly what the TSIA report is responding to here, the fact that you’ve got all these education services teams out there saying, Hey, you know what, our Northstar is product adoption, but they’re failing to even get customers to purchase training or to consume the training once they purchased it. And it’s like, well, how are you going to drive product adoption as a training team, if you aren’t even getting people trained? But I think it goes into more. Go ahead. Go ahead. I just saw, you know, I

Dave Derington  22:10

was just thinking, yeah, I’m reflecting on this. And I’m thinking more about it. Yeah, I think he said something in our, you know, in our notes, and our thought process about building this session, about a consult, even having a consumption plan, you know, I, I’ll be totally transparent about this. There have been times in my customer education career, where I don’t have time for a plan. I’m just like, Oh, my God, we got a lot to do. And I’m grinding, grinding, grinding grinding to get the content out, right. But in in those moments of our media, I call it like a remediation effort in, you know, I’ve had a couple of those where I just need to fill in the gaps, get the material there. And sometimes I have moved forward so fast to get that content that I haven’t forgotten or neglected it, but deprioritize the consumption strategy at that moment? And that’s easy to forget, then, right? If you’re not thinking about these proactively, I want to know, okay, well, I’m gonna it’s, it’s your classic. I don’t think you mentioned this yet. But it’s your classic. If you build it, they won’t come, you know, phrase where

Adam Avramescu  23:14

I don’t know if I’ve said it, I’ve thought it several times during this conversation.

Dave Derington  23:17

Yeah, you thought it, I thought we were at that reading mind stage, that’s great. Just because you build the stuff, it doesn’t mean in any way, we fall back into this mode of, we have to be marketing, we have to be promoting and advocating for our own content. Because to be frank, a lot of times education teams, kind of get put into the periphery, you know, as long as you can check the box, and the leader says I’ve got education. That’s enough, but it’s not enough. We need to be brought to the front.

Adam Avramescu  23:44

Yeah, so so I’ve been going along those lines, if you build it, they won’t come. So that means that we’re constantly in the position of really needing to make sure that we’re we’re marketing our own tools effectively. So yeah, some of that is consumption planning. And again, doesn’t need to be like a huge built out strategy. You could even be saying to your CSM, hey, you know, before we have more automation built out around this, you’ve got a customer, they’re gonna hit their 30/60/90 day milestone with the product. Why don’t you check in with them at the 30/60/90 days, see which of the cuts which of their individuals were trained, which of their individuals weren’t trained, make recommendations to them about what to do next. Again, not, that’s not easy, that’s not scalable. But that is something that you can do that is a consumption plan that is arguably much better than doing nothing. But you can start to get a little bit more sophisticated about the way that you market this to and a lot of it is positioning and having the right offerings in your portfolio to be able to do it. So we talked about relevance earlier. And if you’re offering training that doesn’t meet the customer’s needs and isn’t compelling to them. For instance, a lot of orgs just offer this very generic 101 product knowledge content. it’s it’s a it’s a knowledge dump. It’s an info dump. It’s everything that the company or the subject matter expert thought was relevant for the customer to learn but does nothing to To dress, what maybe they actually found relevant as they were learning the product for the first time, it’s just like what they think needs to be stuffed into the customer’s head. So if you’ve a program like that, you are going to have a hell of a tough time getting learners to actually consume the training in a way, you have to continue marketing to them at every stage. So this is where like a consumption plan or a playbook can really help.

Dave Derington  25:26

Yeah, that’s, that’s for definitely in going back to one of the points we made a little earlier, keeping learners engaged, keeping them consuming content. You know, again, we’re not trying to spoil the data here. But the prompts show a huge meaningful impact on consumption as well. And then when they’re when we’re tying all this stuff together, and learners receiving the prompts. You’re seeing that, you know, a huge spike in the total hours that learners consume.

Adam Avramescu  25:54

Yeah, go go look at the report, like the numbers are dramatic here with prompts versus without prompts. Because meaningful.

Dave Derington  26:00

Yeah, that’s, that’s a good one. Yeah. What’s the third? What’s, what’s the third call out here?

Adam Avramescu  26:06

Yeah, well, this is this is kind of where we were headed. It’s around aligning training content with offers. So in other words, the training you create should align to a stage of the customer journey that the customer is in. If you’re doing all of your training, that’s just either just based on the implementation or the launch phase, or if you haven’t really thought about how a customer is going to continue to engage with training as their their journey goes on, then you might be missing the mark. So you know, this is this is kind of about aligning your training to a product adoption curve, or a customer journey map, and making sure that really feels relevant to what the customer is actually trying to do.

Dave Derington  26:46

Yeah, that’s cool. You know, the report actually offers up a content development methodology that I like, we know we’ve at length talked about Addie, we’ve talked about Sam, we’ve talked about all these things, but talked about this is Yeah, we’ve It was interesting to see TSI, his own model of you know, discover, design, create launch grow, you can see that report, I won’t know dwell on it. It’s only a little bit of a different twist. And based on what your customers actually need to be successful with your product. I think that’s super cool.

Adam Avramescu  27:18

Yeah, like, it’s not just a content development methodology. It’s a market research methodology. So you’re actually doing the work to figure out where the gaps are what what will actually make your customer successful at using your product. And now, instead of just going and saying, Hey, we need course, A, B, and C, and D, because there’s these pieces of content that we have to deliver or like these topics that we have to cover, you’re actually saying, hey, look, we’ve looked at what our customers need, and what’s going to help them grow and what’s actually going to help them adopt the product. And therefore, we are putting together these pieces of content that will that will address that. But you’re even going beyond just content. An offer doesn’t need to be just a course it can also include ntsi, suggest some options here, like coaching hours or q&a with instructors, basically different value adds that you can add into a package to make it more compelling. And to really help make sure that it’s relevant and is going to get consumed. So it’s like thinking beyond what any element is needed, beyond just content to really accelerate the customers time to value.

Dave Derington  28:19

Yeah, that’s super cool. Now, I love this atom, because it really puts you in the customers shoes. So you know, if you’re thinking about what they may night might, might need to be successful to use your product. And here’s something I wanted to take a moment of like, authenticity for this episode, in particular, because for one stave,

Adam Avramescu  28:43

you get an authentic. Let’s drop the veneer.

Dave Derington  28:49

I think a lot of companies fall flat here. You know, you want to tick that box and say, Hey, I had an education team. Yeah, we’ve got this and we’ve got it ticked the box. And okay, hold on. I gotta put this in pause, standby. I got emergency. Okay, so, Adam, this is where I’m thinking that, you know, without intentionality, without some kind of analysis going into this process of building a customer education function, a practice a discipline. Yeah, I’ve talked to companies, I’ve actually talked to a bunch of leaders who are thinking about building their own team or in the act of doing so. Yeah. And you know, if any of them are listening out there, you know, I welcome like, further discussions, of course. But the thing that I want to compel everybody to do before you make your first hire even, is think about what your what problem you’re trying to solve and use some of your own data of like, you should have product information like surveys NPS, whatever it is. What I like to do when I start at a new company, is first get the lay of the land. Say, you know, what’s the voice? What is that voice of the customer? What what are they really what is the customer’s asking and don’t assume anything,

Adam Avramescu  30:09

and your customer actually find out what they need.

Dave Derington  30:12

Yeah, and I find this remarkable. And there’s a number of cases where it’s not just even the customer, that you’re talking about interdepartmental communications and alignment on what education needs to be. Yeah. And what I mean by that. And, you know, I don’t want to take it too far, no sidebar here. But the thing that I will compel anybody to think about and do is just say, look, I am hiring a customer education leader, and I’m building a team, because this is the problem I want to solve. I know that my product adoption is abysmal. And, and where people aren’t using it, I’ve got high churn, you know, my CAC/LTV ratio is out of whack, you know, whatever it is, and if you know it, bring that to the table, and then scope out what things you want that leader to start with, because and I say this for a reason, because it’s so easy for a training and education team to become training monkeys. And just say, just train them, just train them, just train them.

Adam Avramescu  31:07

What and then it becomes the solution to everything. It’s when when you know, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Dave Derington  31:14

Yeah, and this problem, and this actually, you’re going to come back to this over and over again. There’s been moments hard solid moments that I’ve experienced throughout my tenure at each company I’ve worked for we’re like, okay, now what, go back to the customer, let’s pivot, let’s see where we’re going. So the point is that, you really need to get yourself into those customers shoes, and make sure they fit. We want to deliver the best material, but you can’t know that if you just say just build training, you can assume it might not hit the mark, and you might be phenomenally disappointed.

Adam Avramescu  31:46

Yeah, yeah, I agree. And you know, this will kind of be a spoiler alert, I guess for what we talked about later in the thought industries report, you’ve got more customer Education team spinning up then than ever before, which means there were more leaders to hire for their customer education leaders. And what I would recommend is if you are that executive, who is hiring your first customer education person, it’s amazing. First of all, that more people are getting that lightbulb moment like, Oh, we need customer education. But there’s another step, you don’t necessarily need a full vision. Before you hire for this first role. The person you bring in as your leader should have some vision. But you need a perspective. And you probably need a stronger, more defined perspective than the one that you have today. So I think start asking questions, start digging in with your customers like really figure out what to you know, date to your point, like what what problems you’re solving with customer education. And I think this also helps get you out of that feature first mindset. So you’re not just like knowledge, dumping all the information you have about every feature just because like we need, we need the training monkeys to produce the train. I think it’s like training elves, we need the training elves to

Dave Derington  32:53

“training elves” … I like elves better!

Adam Avramescu  32:56

Right? Like, it’s about tailoring. The educational offerings reflect where the customer is in the journey, what they need to be able to do what’s most important to learn at this point to be able to do the thing they’re trying to do. So yeah, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a really common pitfall for customer education, you’re designing content first, instead of learner first. And so the report offers some some other ideas that we won’t go into here on how to structure the offers, based on the customer journey, what else you can include, and I just really love that what they’re thinking about here is how to make the offerings more relevant to the customer.

Dave Derington  33:33

Yeah, I think that’s key. Because if that content isn’t relevant, you’re not likely to consume it. Period. Like, I don’t understand what this is for. I’m not going to even look at it. I’m a busy person. not lazy, right.

Adam Avramescu  33:48

Sounds like our Manifesto.

Dave Derington  33:50

It sounds like our Manifesto. Wonder if you should check that out or not. If you haven’t, you know, just click the manifesto button at the top of our website, customer dad education. Little, little advertisement right there in the middle.

Adam Avramescu  34:03

Special thanks to our theme song written by Alan Co. We’re not done yet.

Dave Derington  34:09

All right, well, let’s stay on track. The final fundamental is one that, you know, I know, I like him personally. But we always harp on it together. It’s that collecting and analyzing data is supremely important. And perhaps we should even stress that analyzing part above all things that you know, collecting data, I think is actually really freakin easy. No, get an LMS put content in it. Cool things are being tracked. I mean, there’s more to it. But that’s a dramatic oversimplification. You might have Google Analytics and it’s pointing to the content, you have a tracking code you’re you’re getting, you’re most likely getting data. insights is so much harder, in many organizations aren’t actually report or aren’t actually reporting that on the impact that education has on productivity. You know, yeah.

Adam Avramescu  35:01

Which is collecting data, it’s about connecting data as you always Yeah.

Dave Derington  35:04

Yeah. I mean, I can be transparent, you know, in all the companies I’ve worked for this is really hard to get to insight. And, you know, occasionally pepper and things about, we have written things about the products that we work on. And then I can say that at outreach, one of the big products that we’ve been working on is insights, how to report on the sales motions and activities in an ad and engagement with a prospect. And that’s hugely important. And oh, my gosh, you know, that’s a whole product that is a whole product in and of itself, the insights on the product adoption, and like how we’re interacting with people in training is very much the same way education is very much that same way. We have data, but that insights like how did I impact cset? I mean, what am I see SAT scores, did they go up? Did I have any implement or any impact on our overall quarterly revenue? If I could prove that, like we did a talk just a couple years ago, I think we did a talk together. And we were talking about, like, how these could get you a promotion how these, but problem is, is that insights are very difficult to munch together and get a clear, de convoluted understanding of how education actually does make an impact and change. It’s the second time

Adam Avramescu  36:20

you use the word munge. In this mind,

Dave Derington  36:22

I know it just come come to the title, we have new vocabulary words introducing,

Adam Avramescu  36:27

I like when you’re in early stage customer Education team, you’re not necessarily going to be able to connect all that data and really tell the impact story, but there are things you can do, right Dave? Like you can get somebody even manually if you if you really want to manually

Dave Derington  36:39

write, you know, let’s, let’s do one stat here from the report. Okay, only 11% have actually done this analysis at a certain level

Adam Avramescu  36:52

with the analysis of like training data to Yeah, product adoption data.

Dave Derington  36:56

And I even think Maria had said, this is just shocking, you know, for particularly for education services team that claim their product adoption is their Northstar. Oh, my God, you know, that means 89% of those organizations don’t have it. And I also feel compelled to say here that it’s, you know, like, again, it’s exceptionally hard to get to insights. You know, sometimes you’re talking a data scientist level kind of stuff, which most of us most of the time, somebody who knows how to manipulate data is important. But there’s things that are hard to measure it takes in and the other thing in here, Adam, that you and I both know, well, and our peers know, well, text champion, we have a fight for resources, particularly because many of us in our in startups, many of them are growth organizations. And well, who’s just like, the conversation I have is what’s more important, the sales, revenue marketing or sales, revenue information, or education, sales and revenue? Probably I don’t disagree with that at all. But education is up there. And this is it’s a stealth metric, right? It’s going to take you a long time sometimes to get that to win that fight. But you can start it manually.

Adam Avramescu  38:06

Yeah. And this is this is about really proving the the role that education plays in the bigger picture, right? Like how does education more effectively support the license revenue. So this is, it’s a bit of a chicken in the egg where you have to start figuring out ways to tell the stories, you can get the resources to report on it more programmatically. But I you know, I think the main thesis of the report here and this is this is spicy. This is provocative, and I appreciate that Maria is being provocative about this is that education services teams want to be in the business, a product adoption, but what they’re actually doing is saying they want to be in that business while actually just generating activity and possibly revenue for themselves. But they’re not really doing the legwork to get training into the hands of their customers, making sure they complete it, making a context sensitive to what the customer is really trying to do. We’re actually analyzing the connection between customer education and product adoption. So they’re they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

Dave Derington  39:04

Yeah, yeah. Agreed. This is a hugely product, provocative report. I love it. I think we need more of it. Maria, great work on this. We definitely, again recommend you check it out on TSI a.com. Amazing with that, we want to transition over let’s talk about that industries report. Yeah, another really

Adam Avramescu  39:26

tight 20 just so we don’t don’t go over the hour mark. I think we can have some meaningful discussion. This is thought industry’s 2021 state of customer education report, like tsaa they publish this annually. So this is the third one and I think we’ve covered the previous two on the show we’ve at least done last year’s on the show least least last year’s as I recall. Yeah.

Dave Derington  39:47

Yeah. So what is this report looking at? The real focus here is on how I like the flip here a little bit of a different change of the change of perspective that how organizations are invested In customer education, and that’s neat, you know, what are their goals? What are their priorities? And how do they measure the progress against those goals? It’s really cool.

Adam Avramescu  40:09

Yeah, this year’s report pulls out some really interesting trends. So first of all, it shows that customer education is growing faster than ever before. And anecdotally, Dave, we’re seeing that two credit.

Dave Derington  40:20

Yeah, oh, my god. So I’m gonna take this moment, just to tell a nice story is pretty short. But Adam, it was a couple of three weeks ago, and I woke up. And sometimes in the morning, I’ll just sit there and just, this is terrible practice, probably terrible. home work from home hygiene, I’ll check my email, look at some stuff on LinkedIn. But it was such a great moment. Because that morning alone, I saw five different things, like two or three new job openings with customer education in the title. Right? different logos, different companies doing it. A couple of people have been promoted. And then somebody else had had like, been on a podcast, I guess, I think there was two people that were on two different podcasts that weren’t arts. And like, I can’t contain my excitement here. Because that’s different and cool, because that means that we as a community, and you know, particularly if you are in product, you’re in customer success, you’re in leadership, you’re contributing this conversation, that’s really important. So yes, we are seeing more education, jobs open up, we’re certainly seeing more activity in our customer, education, communities, a lot of activity, lots of really amazing questions. And we’re seeing more attention from ever and this than ever. And I think this is something you and I have been working on intentionally, Adam this year, is customer success, leadership, we’re seeing, see us leaders and executives. And actually, I’ve been really blown away if if those of you who are listening today, thank you for your participation, because we need you as leaders to be resonant and challenging your teams in your own organizations to invest in this function.

Adam Avramescu  42:02

So loosely, and we do well, speaking of customer success leaders, we have some spicy data coming up around what what department customer education rolls into. So we’re going to be challenging those exact same listeners that we’re very thankful for. It’s about taking the next step, right, you’ve decided you need customer education. Now, how do you really make it go? How do you make it work? But these numbers really point to increased investment. So first of all, there’s more new programs out here, like I said earlier than ever before. 30% of the respondents in this year in this year’s report had launched their education program within the year. So you’ve got a lot of new programs popping up that just never existed before. And it’s a huge uptick from previous years. And in both a lot there. I know. Yeah. I mean, granted, some of that could just be who responded to the survey. But I think we could anecdotally, we also know from having talked to leaders who are looking to build their programs for the first time, this is getting more and more common, more people are deciding that they need a thing that is officially customer education. And in both last year, in this year’s reports, respondents were reporting that their programs were growing significantly. So the ones that did exist, are gousto growing rapidly, over 90% of the programs grew in the last five years and 45% of those, not 45% of the 90 – 45% of the total – reported significant growth.

Dave Derington  43:28

Yeah, well, let’s get to the money here. Bottom line stuff, as you can imagine, the organizations that had those highest rates of product adoption, okay, again, this product adoption is key in SAS, in particular x as as Bri will remind us to start saying for sure that it customers, companies that invest in this at this high rate of investment, see a lot higher product adoption, and then they continue to invest in it because it works. We have the data to prove it. And that’s a virtual cycle.

Adam Avramescu  44:02

Yeah, so so let’s let’s dive into that specifically, because that’s really important. Yeah, identities looked at the respondents who said they had the highest product adoption growth. So again, let’s follow the the hypothesis or the or the central thesis of both of these reports. If customer education teams, Northstar is product adoption, then what we need to see is what are the companies who had the highest product adoption doing with their customer education programs? Right. That’s how we start to look at that attribution. So they split out the cohorts who had the highest product adoption, and the lowest product adoption. The ones with the highest increases in product adoption, were the same ones who were increasing their investment in customer education.

Dave Derington  44:46

Alright, I get it. So in other words, are you saying we can use some numbers here? The company is saying 50% or more increase in product adoptions are the same ones that are investing in customer success by more than 30%

Adam Avramescu  45:01

huh? Those are big numbers. Is that causal? Is that correlative? Well, it’s correlative, we don’t know if it’s causal. We don’t know if it’s causal. Yeah, we don’t know if it’s causal. And often we argue that that’s not the most important thing to figure out. Because customer education data is inherently messy, there’s no, there’s not a great way to save for most companies, at least unless you have millions of people being trained. And you can do a true regression model. A lot of the times you kind of have to look at the the effect here and say, okay, for our customers who are increasing their product adoption, like what reason do we believe that, you know, to be able to say that customer education played a strong role in that, we can go talk to your customers and ask them, you can look at how some of that correlation works. But like, just the fact that we’re seeing that correlation, I think, is really significant. And, yeah, and so, you know, the, the report also asked, you know, where businesses are seeing this effect? Why are they Why are they investing in customer education? Well, one is improved customer onboarding and retraining. You know, we hear that pretty commonly. And we need to button up our onboarding. We talked to Donna Weber on previous episode about the orchestrated onboarding and the role customer education plays there. 62% of the respondents said that that was one of the biggest benefits of customer education, followed by increased product usage, and faster time to value. So to me, those are all packaged up, right, it’s about having a more streamlined way of the customers using the product, using it more over time. And getting to those value points in a more streamlined fashion.

Dave Derington  46:37

Right, interesting enough, the benefits that were the least common, were around churn and positive ROI. So in other words, it’s hard to detect that customer education was actually really generating ROI. And, you know, Adam, I feel this palpably like, I know, I’ve had leaders in the past, asked me like, Well, can we get to the ROI? Like, what’s our customer education? Like? Hey, I want to be transparent, and how difficult that can be like, What do you mean? Like in what context? So interest? Yeah,

Adam Avramescu  47:09

I know, really, it’s really interesting. And I’ll tell, I’ll tell an anecdote, at the risk of getting a little closer to our self imposed time limit here. I was talking to an executive not too long ago, a CRO. And this CRM was looking to invest in customer education. Nice, I believe, I believe she was a CRM, maybe she was a csio. Either way, she owns all of the essentially like customer facing portions of, of the company’s operations. And it was thinking about customer education as a way to scale as a way to drive a more consistent customer experience across their segments. And they have a really large customer base, especially of self serve users. So how do we really channel that into more effective product usage. And so they were talking about different modalities, and they were talking about different options and ways to approach their their program. And as he was working cross functionally with some of the other groups, they were starting to ask questions like, Well, you know, what’s the ROI on this? Like, why? Why do we think that this is something that we should invest in? Why is this something worth picking on? And what she said to me was, she’s, you know, she said, I had a gut, I had a gut feeling that this is something that we need to double down on. This is something that’s important to me. And it’s important to me to advocate for this. So in a way, you have to have an executive sponsor, who is willing to circumvent some of those early questions about ROI. Because you have to build the program. Before it’s really generating those results. I was just so pleased to hear that her instinct as an executive sponsor was to say, No, this is important to us as a company, this is something that we’re going to invest in. And when we invest in it, that’s how we’re going to see the results and be able to measure them. You don’t have the ROI case beforehand. And my comment was, Well, yeah, it’s like building a product team. When you’re building a product team, you don’t ask, what’s the ROI in the hiring engineers to build my product? You need to build your product!

Dave Derington  49:24

Uh huh. Yeah. The ROI comes later.

Adam Avramescu  49:28

Yeah, so I don’t know there’s there’s definitely some echoes here of the TSIA report. Product adoption is the Northstar for most of these programs, but they also look for impact on other metrics like brand awareness, expansion, retention, revenue market share. And you know, 48% of the respondents said they saw a measurable impact on product adoption at renewal rates and customer satisfaction scores or other areas saw measurable impact, but but there’s a there’s a counterbalance here, isn’t there, Dave?

Dave Derington  50:00

Yeah, there is, you know, and again, I don’t want to add too much the sidebar but I find it interesting that was a really interesting story about a CRM, you know, C-level exec thinking about that, because some of the conversations I get it as well, there’s a there’s a mix up between the differentiation between enablement and education. And a lot of times I find enablement is looking in while edge customer education is looking out. And there’s a lot of strategic alignment between the two of those. So the only sidebar comment that I make on that is actually when you’re thinking about that you’re thinking about the future and building that program and you are an exact, you should pay attention be attentive to that like, because, yes, getting the customer enabled, is is I want to say enabled, educated, because that creates a whole bigger picture. But the internal enablement actually plays into that, because it’s resonant as internally, we understand the product, we can use that as, you know, a testbed for a lot of our programs. But it’s simply knowing where that you know, like a part of enablement, is actually being able to tell a direct a customer to your education to so it’s really interesting. So going back to this the counterbalance, it’s absolutely true. Right. You know, while more teams are pointing to value and measurable impact, only about 57% of respondents were actually measuring it 57. But that’s, you know, well, more than half okay. So in a way that backs up that TSIA report, where you see high intent to bribe drive product adoption, but less ability to actually be able to measure it.

Adam Avramescu  51:33

Yeah, and in a way more important for having some of that executive sponsorship not just to build the program before you have strong ROI calculations, but also to get the resources to be able to do those calculations and to be able to measure the impact. So I don’t know it’s it’s interesting, Dave, like it’s a similar sample, I think, to T essays in the sense that there’s a lot of B2B software companies represented. So I’m not surprised to see a lot of similar themes across the reports. Both groups of respondents also have at least some focus on monetized education services, I would assume I could be wrong about this, the tsaa has more of a monetized education services population, then the thought industries report captured, but 43% of the respondents on this report, monetize their programs in some ways, primarily elecard, just selling ala carte offerings. But there were also some subscriptions, some bulk purchases, as you’re seeing, you’re seeing them find ways to bring their products to market, especially for the more tenured programs who are responding to this. Those are the ones who are more likely to monetize.

Dave Derington  52:38

That’s really cool. And I think there’s a mix of that monetization is actually pretty important. One thing I thought was different, though, in that industries report is that they have a lot of professional associations as well as customers, right, then the association pretty much it’s like, kind of in stark contrast from our universe, that they definitely include monetization as part of their model. Right. And I think that’s largely because they, that’s much a much bigger piece of what they’re trying to do.

Adam Avramescu  53:07

Yeah, if you’re a professional association, being able to train your members and give them development opportunities is exactly what they’re, they’re paying you for. It’s like TSA, right? TSA is a professional association. They want to train their members. Okay, now we’re getting to Mehta. Let’s, let’s just let’s get off that it’s 2021. So of course, we’re going to talk about the pandemic. If you remember, last year’s reports, they were all coming out just as the pandemic was hitting. So you were getting a lot of commentary on how people were quickly pivoting. Now, we’ve had a chance to see how companies are doing a year after such dramatic change and where they’re where their priorities have shifted. So Dave, what, what does the report have to say there?

Dave Derington  53:48

Well, this is great. This is one of the rewarding parts of the report 77% said, other respondents said that online training is now more important. And beyond that, the priorities of those, most programs are now around expanding that content, enhancing the learning experience with different kinds of content, like moving in person, online and retaining customers in different ways. Now, I can tell you that from practical experience going through this myself, you have to we’ve had a radical shift, where as we were going were traveling the world, we’re going all over the place. We were you know in seven different countries at one point in the year proceeding COVID. But now the on demand, and we’ve actually introduced the VILT version, one to many. Anybody can join live sessions that are just running at a certain time. Those have filled up deal University has exploded, and we’re still doing training. But now the custom training is more on like in a VILT format. So that’s, it’s really cool to see.

Adam Avramescu  54:50

Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see I’m sure next year in the reports. They’re going to talk about how in person training has returned and to what extent it has. I think there’s you know, some of the idea that Is the the death of in person training and the death of the IoT that’s probably a little bit overblown. But it’s going to be interesting to see how people reincorporate it as they’re able to, and to what extent it still remains the center of people’s programs. And so I think it’ll, I think it’ll come back. But I think it’ll, it’ll have less prominence as it comes back. It’ll be part of the mix.

Dave Derington  55:21

Yeah, I’m looking forward to next year, because one of the things that I think about is, it opened up a conversation for us where we many customer education folks know that VI, lt works wonderfully. But there’s times when you need that in person touch. And now I think we’ve given opened up the space to have that critical conversation and say, when does it provide the most value? You know, that’s our

Adam Avramescu  55:43

strategic portfolio.

Dave Derington  55:46

Well, we know we can do this,

Adam Avramescu  55:48

like TSIA said, yeah, that’s Yeah. And so the report also pointed to this right there. So they’re, they’re saying what, what are your strategic goals for the next year, and one of the big ones are in this past year, I think, and one of them was actually retaining customers. So think of it as volatile time, people, customers are turning left and right, people are running out of budget, people are running out of operating expense. What’s most important, retaining your customers so they don’t churn? And so that’s kind of cool, because I mean, not that it’s happening, because it’s terrible that it’s happening. But what’s cool is that the leaders of these companies are turning to their customer education teams and saying, hey, what can you do to make sure the customers don’t turn, it’s a good opportunity for customer education to step up in dark times. So much uncertainty, it just becomes a big issue for companies who were in growth mode or and are now in protection mode. It’s good to see the customer education is a valuable way to do that to accelerate that strategy.

Dave Derington  56:45

Yeah, but also, Adam, I think we could say that customer education can do better, you know, most people in a good number of people in this report said that fewer respondents said that learners are adequately trained. And that’s, that pains me right in. This is us, the other us is the people we’re trying to connect, again, remind you if you’re out there, and you’re listening to us, and this is new to you reach out to us, we want to learn more from you. But most of us think that we underperform on education, customers get more value to become product experts to become product champions that that’s what we want. In brand, champions, I think is even one so maybe we’re our own biggest critics, maybe we’re actually doing a pretty good job overall. Or it might be might have the alternative that customer education leaders are realizing that same critical point that TSIA made clear that we really need to do practice that basketball shot over and over and over. That’s why Adam, I think you and I are kind of similar because we’ve had a trajectory over the past five, six years, we’ve gone from program to program to program we’ve been we’ve seen the guts of how the program is built and articulated. And we’re seeing trends there. You know, we’re getting the fundamentals, that’s what many of us are trying to do is like practice that. How do we get the basics in place fast and correctly?

Adam Avramescu  58:13

Yep. And and, you know, make sense in the overall landscape. Customer education is growing faster than ever, the pandemic accelerated its importance accelerated the move to online. So now there’s increased importance placed on the impact the customer education has in the next.

Dave Derington  58:28

Yeah, so you won’t be surprised to hear that, according to Florida, also, the top challenges for respondents were reporting on customer success and revenue metrics. You know, we’re kind of talking around that point, again, tying to customer education efforts to a business impact. Even measuring the success of education programs, was a struggle for a lot of folks.

Adam Avramescu  58:46

Yeah. So we alluded to this, but the report also gets into where customer education teams report, we get asked this all the time, where should customer education report. And, in fact, we got to weigh in on the report we have, we have a nice little poll quote, in the report itself. But the survey found that 40% of teams reported into customer experience or customer success, which is far more than any other department represented.

Dave Derington  59:12

Yeah, that’s, but there’s interesting nuance to that right. Again, thought industries looked at the teams that were more likely to drive a product adoption and growth, and it wasn’t the customer experience or customer education or customer success teams, the teams then this is, this is fun, actually, this is pretty meaningful. I mean, the teams that had higher product product adoption growth, were the ones who were either in freestanding departments. What does that mean, we’re not ascribe to any particular department whatsoever.

Adam Avramescu  59:40

So the customer is a top level department.

Dave Derington  59:43

Yeah, I mean, that will be refreshing for many of us to see or they reported into marketing.

Adam Avramescu  59:49

And it is it’s very interesting and kind of also speaks to the trend of customer experience. Customer Success teams are often the ones to sponsor customer education. That’s it definitely continue to happen. But it’s interesting to see that when marketing is the one sponsoring it, which is happening more, although it’s not the most common one, there’s a correlation to increase product adoption. Now, some of this might be the survey methodology at play. So for example, if the bulk of the respondents were reporting into CX and CS teams, then maybe that’s the effect that we’re seeing here is their product adoption results averaging out a little bit, because the the median of the report is going to reflect on where most of the people reported into anyway. So there’s a little bit of like law of averages here. But it’s, it’s interesting to see the freestanding customer education departments outperforming the average probably means they have more of a seat at the table in driving their goals. But But what about marketing?

Dave Derington  1:00:45

Right? What’s up with that? Well, marketing teams also seem they seem like they’re good candidates to drive product adoption, not because they’re necessarily closest to the customer, right. But because they have higher budgets, and more tools to drive and engagement education for an automation. For example, in I spent time at Zuko, which it was a short stint because we got acquired pretty suddenly, and, and that was great. And we were a big part of that. But what I found myself having access to was the direct line to the customer. Right, I had all these tools to be able to do an email campaign or whatever. But I didn’t have to go through a second party or convince everybody because I reported directly to the chief marketing officer. It gave us so much more power. It mean think about it this way, Adam, that a lot of the times like we’ve launched the certification program. And as you have promoting that ends up, it’s sometimes because you’re buried into a different organization. This is a huge win for marketing. I’ve got a certification. This is a market differentiator for our product. Please take that and run with it. Yeah,

Adam Avramescu  1:01:49

right. Access to marketing can be tough when you’re when you’re somewhere else.

Dave Derington  1:01:53

Yeah, yeah. So it’s interesting.

Adam Avramescu  1:01:56

Yeah, well, and you know, we even talked about this earlier, right? Like, marketing, you are in a state of constantly marketing, your own programs, the TSI report talked about this, I think that the customer dirty section, we’ve all got to get better at marketing our programs, and really figuring out how to get them into the hands of our customers. And if we’re responsible for doing that ourselves, and we don’t have a marketing competency, then it’s going to be much less likely that they get exposed to our training, that they take the training, and then that the training has the intended effects that we want it to have, which is leading to product adoption. So I think I think there might be something there. And so for the customer success leaders who are out there listening to this and are offended right now, I think like the call to action is don’t don’t stop answering customer education and like just give it to your friends in marketing. I don’t think that’s the right answer. But it’s, you’re probably going to need to really drive alliances with the marketing team to make sure that they understand the importance of customer education, and are really on board to promote it as if they had developed it themselves. Well, that’s it. I think I like that. Okay. final topic. We’re at a time, thought industries asked what goal is customer education programs had for the year ahead. Compared to last year’s results, the top priorities are largely the same and have even increased in terms of the percentage of respondents. So the things that were like top categories before now just more people are saying that it’s the top category for them. What is that primarily expanding content, beyond feature functionality, and beyond onboarding? So really, you know, just expanding the scope of what customer education does. pretty constant, but

Dave Derington  1:03:37

it’s also really common every Yeah. Everybody who’s built a program wants to keep expanding it, maintaining it, creating more offerings to their customers, in once you solve the problem of how we, how do we streamline onboarding? You know, that’s going back to Donna, that’s super important to do

Adam Avramescu  1:03:55

was any smart thing that they said they wanted to create a customer education program to do in this recording?

Dave Derington  1:03:59

Yeah. Then you start thinking about what, how to create more training that drives maturity. And that’s one that I think that that’s lesser, is not as nearly obvious to anybody that, like, what are the kinds of things that come next, you know, it’s you talking about 200 level 300 level, things like that.

Adam Avramescu  1:04:17

Yeah, and this is exactly the point that TSI report was making about creating content that ties to the customer journey, not just having it all relate to onboarding, you have to look beyond onboarding.

Dave Derington  1:04:27

Right and and we’re kind of lightning round mode here. Another big theme is which has jumped more than any other priority from last year in particular is incorporating online training within the platform and the product itself. You know, in product education continues to be a hot topic. I know we’re talking about all the time in ties to TSI, his findings to write that about consumption about delivery your product is a great channel in and of itself, to drive customer you know, education consumption, and make customers aware of what kind of training might be available to them anytime, you know. You’re in the product, every your customers are in the product, what better way to getting their attention doesn’t mean you can’t have a separate university or something. But go micro, get, get some little bits of of content.

Adam Avramescu  1:05:12

It’s the front door, it’s a channel to deliver customer education and to expose those offerings to customers who might not otherwise know that they exist, you got it. And so the final priority for the year ahead was really around setting goals around measuring ROI. Again, not surprising, given everything that we’ve talked about. There are some we’re looking to monetize training, again, ties very closely to the TSI theme of developing offerings. These all points to customer education teams looking to mature and expand over time, but like, just again, even more broadly, thinking about these two reports put up against each other. It’s amazing how many areas of overlap they have they tell very similar stories, just from two different perspectives.

Dave Derington  1:05:55

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think, Adam, we’re starting to wrap up, you know, I did want to say this, again, a couple things again, that that we should tap on one of them again, make sure you get out there and download those reports, you know, save them, read them and hail them, they’re really good is there they should be required reading, share them with your manager, share them with your senior leadership, because they’re really important. The other thing that I just wanted to take a moment, and I said this earlier in our discussion, that in speaking to new leaders who are speaking to leaders who are building a program, and hiring that first customer education leader, I think this is a PSA, you may get FOMO you know, that fear of missing out on something cool, hey, let’s get a customer education program, check the box, no, go back and really think about building apartment with intention. We again, we talked about that previously. But think about what problem you’re trying to solve. What are your customers asking for? Before you really get into building that program and hiring somebody right off the cuff? It will help that person become and develop a good leader and develop into that role?

Adam Avramescu  1:07:02

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, with more customer education programs coming up and ever think having that vision, having that perspective, really knowing what the goal is. You can’t You can’t leave it to faith just to sort it all out. So I love I love that PSA. Dave and I think this takes us to our outro

Dave Derington  1:07:23

Whoo. All right, no, do it.

Adam Avramescu  1:07:28

If you listener want to learn more than we have a podcast website at customer dot education simplest URL in the world where you can find show notes and other material on Twitter, I am at MSU

Dave Derington  1:07:42

and I am at Dave Derington are both on LinkedIn, you probably know it but reach out to us. Special thanks to the wonderful Alan Coto for our theme music, which still is amazing. And if this helped you out, let’s take a moment here to say, make sure you subscribe in your pod catcher of choice. Now we actually have a YouTube channel as well. please consider leaving us a review. We haven’t seen too many reviews recently. We’d like to change that. So if you have a moment you listen to this episode. You go, Wow, this really helped me out. Well help us out by making us a review, giving us five stars telling us telling the world why you think this is great. And let’s close it out

Adam Avramescu  1:08:23

to our audience. Thanks for joining us, go out and educate, experiment and find your people.

Dave Derington  1:08:31

Thanks, everybody.

Adam Avramescu  1:08:31

Thank you

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