Extended enterprise learning is all about business. The business of training your non-employees. The business of making money, accelerating growth, furthering your reach, streamlining your processes and achieving competitive separation.
Extended enterprise learning is a business weapon wielded by the wise to build communities of customers, partners and resellers and provide them learning interventions to measurably change behavior. The measurable change results in more sales of your primary products and/or your content and happier customers.
To push out and manage training to external audiences you need an extended enterprise LMS which is a special kind of LMS that does most of what an employee LMS does but also much more. Mobile focused, NextGen user interface, social learning, ecommerce, gamification and marketing automation are just some of the key features needed to support external audiences.
So what are some ways to drive profit with an extended enterprise LMS? Here are ten good examples:
- Sell Content – If there is one thing that an extended enterprise or training for business LMS must do – it must be able to sell content to individuals and/or organizations. Continuing education, assessments, aggregated content, proprietary content, books, kits, conferences, instructor-led, webinars or guides can all be sold to relevant audiences to create a primary or complimentary stream of revenue for your organization.
- Certify External Partners – Many organizations distribute their products and services via external partners, distribution channels, value added resellers, agents, dealers or franchises. Partners are certified as an organization based on a certain number or percentage of management, sales and service employees that are individually certified. The end customer gets the advantage of the best technology, restaurant or retail solutions delivered with local professionals that have the proven knowledge, tools and business processes at their disposal. Organizations utilize an extended enterprise LMS solution to create programs of study and assessment to ensure a certain level of mastery to achieve a certification.
- Automate Partners’ Employee Onboarding – Once you have a certified partner and an extended enterprise LMS in place, best-in-class organizations provide the training and tools to help partners shorten the onboarding time of their new employees. The faster your partner’s employees can start effectively selling or servicing your product the more value. Most organizations have an internal employee onboarding process and training programs that can be inexpensively modified to be applicable for the external channel for a fee or free.
- Accelerate New Product Rollouts for Channel–With every new product and service released, a targeted training and certification program is a fantastic way to drastically reduce time to market, maximize channel awareness and positively impact rollout success. Tying LMS gamification and awards to partners that certify on the new products the quickest or the best is a great motivational strategy.
- Prospect Education –Continuing education providers, universities and corporations are now utilizing MOOCs (massive open online courses) and other free content as a loss leader to bring in new potential customers. The content needs to be relevant and great to convert prospects into customers. Prospect learning helps the selling organization accelerate the sales cycle by letting prospects do most of the sales work by educating themselves. As customers educate themselves they voluntarily absorb knowledge about products and services without costly active involvement from the sales force or channel.
- Onboard New Customers – Many companies use an extended enterprise LMS to provide free and recommended content based on their recent purchases. Helping your customers use your products better results in happier customers, less support calls and a more engaged client base. Once you have your customer in your LMS, you can then cross-sell and up-sell by providing complimentary product training or engage in drip marketing to broaden customer awareness of your products and services. There is no easier place to get another sale than from an existing customer.
- Public Service Education – Corporations, governments, non-governmental agencies like the Red Cross need to educate the public on a multitude of topics. Emergency responders, veterans, business owners and job seekers are all examples of the public audience that needs to be trained and it’s not always for free. The extended enterprise LMS is a preferred delivery method because of low cost of distribution and the ability to measure effectiveness and change in behavior.
- Avoid Contract Workforce Compliance Violations — Compliance violations can cost lives at the worst and significant fines in the least and can be solved with a good extended enterprise LMS. In the retail, energy, transportation, construction and other regulated industries, many workers are an ever rotating group of contractors or seasonal help. An extended enterprise LMS allows organizations to easily deliver compliance content and verify compliance in a case of an audit or accident with these audiences.
- Solve Customer Support Problems — Every time a customer contacts your customer support it costs you. You may not be able to avoid all support calls, however, you can minimize the volume of support incidents by designing targeted learning that gives customers all the tools they need. You can even push training to targeted groups based on call center interactions. Decreased support calls and trouble tickets translate directly into higher profits – more importantly it translates into more satisfied customers.
- Expedite Global Expansion — In today’s world of cloud based LMS solutions, any organization can afford a global platform ready to support new channel partners and customers. Through the use of language localizations for both the LMS platform and content, multi-currency commerce and global tax management, it is cost effective to penetrate into new regions at a fraction of the cost of just a few years ago.
If you are stuck in HR training, break out. Training external audiences as a business is the way to go. With external audiences learners consume content because they want to and you want them to because it has a measurable impact on your business. Whether you want to drive partners to sell more, provide more value to customers or engage the public, get yourself an extended enterprise LMS and start making a difference!
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