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Podcast Episode 2: Linking Customer Training and Business Success – With Sandi Lin

Why do organizations invest in customer training initiatives? And what factors should decision makers consider when developing, delivering and measuring the business impact of customer training? Listen to The Talented Learning Show

Podcast - How to link customer training with business success - listen to the Talented Learning Show with learning tech analyst John Leh


Earlier in January, we launched this podcast as a convenient way to hear directly from experts about how you can achieve more from modern learning solutions.  On a regular basis, I’ll be interviewing some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the field of extended enterprise learning – including vendor executives, consultants, customers and more.  And you’re invited to join me on this path of discovery!

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This week, we look at the strategic role that customer training plays in successful businesses of all sizes.  We also discuss what distinguishes customer training initiatives from employee training programs, and how those differences are supported by specialized customer learning systems.

My guest, Sandi Lin, is deeply familiar with customer training business and technology needs.  As CEO and Co-Founder of Skilljar, she has devoted the past five years to investigating critical issues and opportunities that influence onboarding and training of extended enterprise audiences — not just customers, but also channel partners, contractors and others.

Prior to founding Skilljar, Sandi was responsible for onboarding’s third-party marketplace sellers, so she knows first-hand just how vital it is to engage and educate external business constituents.


What drives organizations to invest in customer training initiatives?

In today’s world, individuals are increasingly committed to lifelong learning, thanks to innovation that makes online training much more accessible and affordable.  But why are so many business and consumer brands choosing to offer product-oriented training and certification to customers — often at no charge?  Three key drivers:

  • To propel product adoption
    • We absolutely know that training is the key to successful product adoption. Once customers know how to get value from a product, they’re much better equipped to realize that value.
  • To retain revenues from existing accounts
    • Recent stats show that about 30% of software licenses go unused, or underused.  In today’s highly competitive subscription-based software market, that kind of inefficiency won’t last forever. So it becomes vital to win back existing accounts, year-to-year or month-to-month.  And research shows that trained customers are more likely to renew if they have taken training.
  • To create product or service differentiation
    • For many brands, customer training is integral to an exceptional customer experience.  Together, they lead to measurable and sustainable customer success outcomes.
What factors should decision makers consider when developing, delivering and measuring customer training for business impact?

Among other things, LMS integration with other business systems is essential for customer training programs.  For example, when an LMS shares data with a CRM like, organizations can more efficiently and effectively analyze data to understand precisely when and how training and certification lead to business revenue.

Where does certification fit into today’s customer training mix?

Certification programs can be a highly effective business tool.  It’s important to know the market’s expectations and requirements.  It’s also important to choose a customer training system that can support those goals for either “lightweight” scenarios (with simple digital badging solutions) or “high-stakes” environments (with credentials that demonstrate verified professional knowledge and competency).

What’s ahead for customer training and enablement, and how would you recommend companies get started with this kind of strategy?

Unlimited opportunity!  Two recommendations:

  • Start with a modest scope and an agile approach.  Crawl – walk – run.
  • Whatever your scope, be sure your data foundation is solid.  You probably don’t need a “Cadillac” system initially, but be mindful of the basics you’ll need to support and grow your programs for at least a 2-3 year horizon.
To hear all the details, listen to the full podcast now.


Want to learn more about the LMS-Salesforce integration? Read our recent post:  Salesforce Learning Solutions: AppExchange Buyers Guide


Curious about how customer education helps strengthen customer relationships in the real world?  Read our post:  Customer Education: How Smart Technology Companies Lock-In Value 



Interested in learning more from Sandi Lin and me? Replay our recent webinar:

Customer Education Meets Customer Success

We’ll explain and illustrate why and how you can realize measurable results by combining the power of a modern customer-focused learning platform with  In this dynamic one-hour session you’ll learn all the essentials:

  • What the Salesforce platform is and why it is vital to so many organizations
  • What Salesforce-LMS “integration” means
  • How to decide if you should use Salesforce-approved apps
  • Top ways to apply Salesforce-LMS integrations
  • How to prove customer learning success from your integration efforts


John Leh
About John Leh (131 Articles)
John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, LLC. Named one of the Top 20 Global Elearning Movers and Shakers of 2017, John is a fiercely independent LMS selection consultant and blogger who helps organizations develop and implement technology strategies – primarily for the extended enterprise. John's advice is based on 20 years of industry experience, having served as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to more than 100 learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $65 million. He helps organizations define their business case, identify requirements, short-list vendors, write and manage RFPs and negotiate a great deal. You can connect with John on Twitter at @JohnLeh or on LinkedIn.