We all know that a robust training strategy plays an integral role in driving the success of an organization. In spite of this, in my career of more than 15 years, I have spent quite a bit of time explaining that training strategy is not a bunch of PowerPoint slides thrown together to create “training” for staff and customers.
In fact, there is a lot more that goes into putting together a training strategy. In my experience, developing a training strategy is very similar to what engineering teams do to put a product strategy in place.
Before designing your training strategy, it is important to identify the goal of the training team. Why do you need to create training? Is it to drive awareness and adoption of your product or service? Is it because you want to build and validate the technical skills of your field and customers on your product or service? Or is it because your training team is a P&L organization and you want to make a profit? Identifying the goal helps determine various aspects of the training strategy, such as:
- What is your scale strategy?
- How much do you want to spend on training?
- How do you want to price your training?
- What is the measurement criteria for success?
- How important is time to market for training?
- What is your go to market strategy for training?
Drive Awareness of New Product or Service
If you’re creating training to drive the awareness and adoption of your product or service, then you want to make sure that the training solution reaches the potential customers—not just the existing customers. This requires you to think about a scale strategy, such as using MOOCs to reach an audience beyond your current customer base. To reduce the entry barrier, you might want to consider making your training available for free. Also, you will need to in some way track how many people who took training adopt your products and services. It is equally important to think how you will create customer evangelists that will help with the goal of driving adoption of your products and services.
Validate Technical Skills
If the goal of training is to build and validate the technical skills of field staff and customers, it is important to think how you will validate the skills. Is it going to be through practical hands on experience? What role will certification play in the training strategy? How will your certification impact your business and the industry? How will certification impact your field enablement strategy? Will you require your field to be certified as a part of their onboarding? How will you determine the success of your strategy: number of people who take the training, number of certified individuals?
Make a Profit
If your training organization is a P&L and the goal is to make profit, you will need to consider various selling models such as subscription based, tiered pricing models, training bundles and various promotion strategies. You will also need to plan your training release in such a manner that there is continued interest in training and there is repeat business.
Whatever is the goal of your training organization, take the time to identify the goal and answer these critical questions before you take the plunge because your training strategy has the power to make or break the success of your organization.