Published On: August 2, 2015By
How do you drive revenues with an extended enterprise LMS? Independent learning tech analyst John Leh explains

Extended enterprise learning is all about business.  The business of training people in your business community who are not employees.  The business of accelerating growth, expanding your reach, driving revenues, operating to achieve profits (not just minimize costs), and achieving competitive differentiation.

In a competitive business environment, extended enterprise learning is a weapon that wise companies use to build and sustain communities of customers, partners, resellers and other brand champions, by offering learning experiences that serve their interests while also measurably changing their behavior in a favorable business direction.

If you offer extended enterprise learning programs, you can expect changes that result in more sales of your primary products, services and/or content — along with happier, more loyal participants.

To deliver and manage this kind of training, it’s wise to invest in an extended enterprise LMS — a learning management system designed specifically for this purpose.  An extended enterprise LMS shares many of the core features you’ll find in an employee LMS, but also includes functionality needed to support the unique needs of external audiences who voluntarily engage in training.

In other words, you should expect a mobile-savvy, video-friendly, modern user interface that offers social learning and gamification.  But in addition, you’ll need ecommerce,  marketing automation and other key features that will help you attract, engage, support and analyze learning among external audiences.

So what are some ways to drive profit with an extended enterprise LMS?  Check these examples:

10 Ways to Drive Revenues With An Extended Enterprise LMS

1) 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.

2) 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 by local professionals with 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.

3) Automate Partner 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.

4) 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.

5) Educate Prospects

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.

6) 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, fewer 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.

7) Offer Public Service Education

Corporations, governments, non-governmental agencies (such as 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.  An extended enterprise LMS is a preferred delivery method because the distribution cost is low and it helps organizations measure change in behavior and training effectiveness.

8) 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.

9) Reduce Customer Support Issues

Every time a customer contacts your customer support it costs your organization valuable time and money.  Although you may not be able to avoid all support calls, 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.

10) 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 employee-only training, it’s time to break out and think more broadly about the value your learning organization can add to your overall business success.  Training external audiences as a business can make a lasting, measurable impact.  External learners consume educational content because they want to. And you want them to engage because it has a clear (and often direct) impact on business performance.  Whether you want to empower partners to sell more of your company’s products, provide more value to customers, or offer training as a commercial line of business, it’s worth considering what you can do with an extended enterprise LMS to improve your organization’s bottom line!


Want more training business insights? Join our live webinar:

Paving the Way to a Profitable Learning Business: 5 Strategies


.3There’s never been a better time to expand your business reach and revenue through online training. But what kind of infrastructure is best as a foundation for delivering online courses? And how can you minimize growing pains when demand for learning content increases?

Join Thought Industries CEO and Co-Founder Barry Kelly, and Talented Learning CEO and Lead Analyst, John Leh, as they share five key strategies that will help you drive growth and profit from your learning programs. You’ll discover:

• How to evaluate monetization opportunities
• How to customize a business model for your market realities
• Which content creation approach makes sense for your business
• The fundamentals of learning content distribution
• How to choose the best training delivery platform for your requirements


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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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