Preflight Conversations

Who should own user training in the post-sales org?

In a recent conversation the Preflight Community discusses who should own end-user trainings when the product is complex.
March 21, 2023
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Mukundh Krishna

End-user training educates customers on effectively achieving their goals with your product or service.

No matter the complexity of your product, end-user training is essential for the following reasons:

  1. It helps maximize the value your customers see at every stage of their partnership with you
  2. It accelerates product adoption, particularly for complex products or those that have a steeper learning curve
  3. When done correctly, end-user onboarding helps reduce the number of support tickets that come your way out of a lack of product knowledge
  4. Customers are more likely to know the capabilities of your product when they’re trained thoroughly
  5. End-user training helps you keep your customers up-to-date on new features, improved capabilities, and bug fixes 

In a recent conversation the Preflight Community discusses who should own end-user trainings when the product is complex. And what happens when there is an organic shift in the responsibilities when product complexity calls for a break-up in how much end-user training is taken up by each team in the post-sales org.

User training is usually owned by multiple functions in post-sales departments, like Implementation Managers, CSMs, or product trainers. In some cases, the process is broken down between two teams - one initially running the training and another taking it over to see it through to completion. For instance, Kaelon Russell, Manager, Customer Onboarding - 15Five, recently posted an interesting question: If after product launch, training is done by implementation managers, and after that another round of training is done by CSMs, it demands a significant chunk of time to be invested by both teams. Should teams consider having speacialized trainers who will conduct product webinars?

When there are delays in implementation due to a prolonged period between configuration and launch or projects getting drawn out due to other reasons, it might be a bottleneck for the Implementation Manager. The advantage of having Implementation Managers run user training is that once all the configuration and integration work is done, they can close the project they own. The product adoption and value delivery journey could begin with the CSMs.

Preflighters weigh in with their thoughts and experiences: 

Kristine Kukich, Senior Director of Customer Marketing @ Thought Industries

Coming at this from the customer education point of view - you really need a dedicated trainer and dedicated content to manage user training. CSMs should be dedicated to strategic success and adoption roles, not support or training. If you're large enough to have a specialized trainer in the one-to-many role, a couple of questions you could ask yourself to make sure the responsibility of user trainings is assigned to the right person are:

  1. Why is user training not considered one-to-many? 
  2. Has it really been one-to-one? or has it been a private one-to-many?

Sri Ganesan, Co-founder & CEO @ Rocketlane

For large accounts, there is no escape from having the Implementation Manager on this call as there will be questions from the users that would be specific to how things are planned for that customer, which only the implementation manager will have more context on.

I’d recommend still having a separate trainer/training team - to do the heavy lifting on these meetings for the following reasons:

  1. Implementation Managers still have more energy to do the rest of their work throughout the day
  2. We can make training content creation also their responsibility - which will make it easier to take training async (consumed independently) and do more Q&A with Implementation Managers after watching training videos 
  3. Implementation Managers can also use the training videos to do “hybrid” training- show a video and then add your commentary on it for the specific customer.

I think the ideal scenario could look like this: Implementation Managers give the trainer enough context. The trainer does training, and Implementation Managers join for the Q&A.

Anna Heaney, Global Client Implementations Manager @ JobAdder

A good way to ensure Implementation Managers aren't getting bogged down by training is ensuring customers watch a new user webinar or a version of it ahead of the training session. This should capture all of the basics. We also have different walk-me learning accreditations within our system. We ask customers to complete the essentials (a section for essential product training they need to get started) ahead of the session. This way, both the customer and the Implementation Manager have a more effective (and quicker) session focused on the customer's unique scenarios and questions as opposed to the basics.

Although we don't measure it, there are indicators that our user training strategy is successful for the most part. We try to enforce it for all of our customers.

Our product is simple to configure, which means that when it comes to training, the customers have already gone through a lot of self-learning; the session is more focused on educating the customer's admin users on how to utilize their accounts. Still, there are times when customers don't do their pre-training work, and in those cases, we'll either try to push the session back or just run a standard session.

Gary Hoffman, Customer Success Lead & GTM - Delino (LegalTech) @ Munich Re 

Customers sometimes say that they don't want to talk to the CS team. However, we see better outcomes with the customers who engage with the CSMs. We're always looking for better ways to get customers to educate themselves.

How is user training done in your company? Who owns what part of user trainings? Do you have a dedicated team that owns user training? Join the discussion on the Preflight Community!

If you have ideas, suggestions, and questions for the larger customer onboarding, implementation, and CS community, we’d love to have you join the Preflight Community and share it with our members!

Further reading

  1. Do your CS and Product teams share joint KPIs to drive customer adoption?
  2. Customer Onboarding to Customer Success Handoff
  3. Pre-implementation and why it might be relevant for your business
  4. Tactics for complex customer onboarding journeys
  5. What is the difference between customer onboarding and customer implementation?

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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