If you're an operator in the B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ecosystem, chances are you've heard the phrase "sales enablement." It's a relatively well-established practice based on the core principle that you can accelerate revenue growth by ensuring your salespeople have all the information, training and data they need to be successful.
When you think about it, the concept of sales enablement is a no brainer: To be successful in any position, one must have the proper knowledge to be effective. As sales enablement becomes mission critical for more of today’s B2B SaaS companies, many are discovering the value of a well-defined sales enablement strategy.
Some companies, however, are way ahead of the curve. They’ve already implemented effective sales enablement strategies and have begun to support their customers directly. These savvy companies focus relentlessly on educating, support, and delighting their customers. Those customers, in turn, share their experiences with their peers.
Successful customers beget more customers; such is the fundamental promise of customer education.
Yet, despite the countless ways customer education can benefit a business, it's all too often relegated as a "nice to have," which is a critical mistake. Customer education has not yet achieved the widely accepted "necessary" status enjoyed by sales enablement.
If this sounds like you; if you're actively debating — or are struggling to justify — a customer education program, read on. Consider how customer education can actually directly support your sales enablement strategy.
Below, we'll show you three ways you can leverage a customer education program to support and augment your sales enablement efforts.
#1. Providing Information
At Northpass, we’re believers in the thinking that “knowledge is king.”
With a rapidly growing number of products and services available on the market today, consumers look to arm themselves with as much information as they can both before and after making a purchase.
Your customers had enough information to choose your product, but that doesn't mean the learning ends as soon as they sign on the dotted line. They will want to know how to best use your product to ensure they’re getting the most value out of it. For example, they'll want to know about the latest upgrades and changes.
The onus is on you to deliver a constant flow of valuable content to continually earn their business. Otherwise, they’ll begin to ask themselves why they should stick with your product compared to others on the market.
Related webinar: Why You Need a Customer Academy.
#2. Product Training
An online learning program can also cover the product training aspect of sales enablement.
However, complacency in this area is not your friend. Not all training programs are created equal and if you implement one that is too complex or difficult to use, your customers will shy away from it. If that happens, it might as well not exist.
A robust online training portal that is easy to use can help guarantee customer success.
Remember, a successful customer is one that can evangelize your product. Pretend every customer will soon be answering phones at your sales desk; ensure they’re up to the task.
#3. Gathering Information
Innovative businesses today treat data like gold.
That’s because, when analyzed properly, quality data can provide actionable insights about your business and customers. This feeds your company’s competitive edge.
When customer education takes place online, that training program continually generates valuable data about your customers. Take, for example, their strengths and weaknesses, and any friction points that might exist in your product or the learning program itself. This data is generated through the courses they take, the questions they ask, how they perform on assessments, how often they log on, how quickly they progress, how they interact with instructors and other students, etc.
That data can be leveraged by your product, sales, marketing and customer training teams to make better decisions and inspire improvements to your product and processes. You can even open up an online course to potential customers, allowing you to learn more about your target market as well.
When it comes to sales enablement, think outside your own sales staff and look to your customers — Those who can preach your brand to their colleagues and friends. Even if they’re not selling on your behalf, the additional goodwill you build through training will inspire them to become long-time customers.
Looking for more details about how to get started? Check out our eBook: The 5-Point Checklist to Kickstart Your Customer Education Program.