Learning technology vendors, this post is for you.
Extended enterprise learning technology is a big business in best-in-breed global commercial organizations, associations, content providers and public organizations. From creating a a revenue stream to increasing sales preparedness to building brand loyalty to decreasing technical support calls, extended enterprise learning technology efforts deliver measurable results in the business.
It is so much easier to sell learning technology to support non-employees because you can compare training results with business performance and show defensible return on investment. I’ve seen internal HR groups try to buy a LMS for a decade to no avail. I’ve seen extended enterprise learning projects go from RFP to Live in 120 days. I’ve always preferred the latter.
Why have all you vendors forgotten this and chosen to keep pushing the integrated talent management rock up the hill? Please wake up. Why be Sisyphus? Here is my first free tip…find the owners of channel or customer education inside your existing accounts and start talking about extended enterprise eLearning aspects of your solution. You are missing huge sales opportunities.
You have the solution, you just don’t market it because you are trying to prove this integrated talent suite business case and you have forgotten the easier, lower hanging fruit of extended enterprise. I know most of you vendors come from the HR side and eLearning is no more important to you than Time and Attendance software, so let me help with some additional insights that will help you make money and quota.
Prior to the LMS and PM acquisitions of the last three years, large and small LMS providers had a clear focus on extended enterprise business opportunities. It wasn’t an either or type of thing. You could use either route to establish your learning technology at a corporation and try to grow the LMS and LCMS solution to support both internal and external eLearning. Providing solutions to service the extended enterprise learning initiatives were a primary sales target for the following reasons:
- Large number of users: The size of the audience and thus the license potential tend to make extended enterprise opportunities multiple times larger than internal employees. More users = more license revenue. Even you big HCM vendors have to admit that selling 100,000 thousand annual licenses to an external LMS audience is better than selling 10,000 internal employees a multi-product HCM sale.
- Tied to Business Objectives: Organizations don’t implement extended enterprise learning technology unless there are business goals they are trying to achieve. Implementing learning technology to reach more of your audience, train and certify them quicker, deliver consistent content and expand into new markets are all easily measurable especially when comparing to customer and business data available in CRM and ERP solutions. Since these solutions are typically about increasing revenue, customer satisfaction and retention, they are also typically well funded for success as compared to many underfunded internal employee solutions.
- Single System: From a vendor perspective, very often RFPs can be avoided if an organization is already the LMS provider in either external or internal capacity. Organization can achieve economy of scale and better price points.
- Growth Potential: Unlike most internal employee LMS initiatives, extended enterprise projects are almost always growing or at least trying to grow. Organizations can never have 100% of potential users voluntarily come to the LMS and access content and pay for content. Therefore, there is always the realistic potential of incremental licensing and services as the solution grows.
Don’t keep pushing the internal employee rock up hills folks. Open green pastures await your focus. If you want to get a little smarter on this topic, check out our free Extended Enterprise 101 series of blog posts.
Thanks for reading,