The importance of customer education cannot be understated. When done right, a customer education program can increase brand awareness, empower sellers, decrease TTV, drive product adoption and create ultimate brand champions.
When done right, customer education can increase brand awareness, empower your sales team, decrease time to value (TTV), help your customer success managers (CSMs) and so much more.
5 Reasons Why Customer Education's Important
Customer education is often considered a post-sales tactic, but that’s not the only point in the purchase journey customer education can have an impact.
Customer education content, including blog posts, videos, webinars, certifications and quizzes can also help increase brand awareness.
Think about the purchase journey.
Unless someone has some preconceived idea and opinion of what they’re looking for, their path to purchase will include some Googling, talking to colleagues and scrolling on YouTube.
These touchpoints are chances to get in front of customers with content that can influence their purchase decision.
With ungated content (or gated content if it’s super high stakes, like an advanced certification), you can get in front of prospects before their first true touchpoint with sales, effectively reducing the sales cycle and helping prospects frame their thinking.
HubSpot does this well.
When you search for “inbound marketing,” HubSpot is one of the first companies you see.
When you search for “inbound marketing software,” again, you’ll see HubSpot.
This is one of the major reasons why HubSpot is synonymous with inbound marketing and a primary driver that helps it keep its pipeline ful
Pre-sales Power (and Faster Sales)
For most customers, their path to purchase takes place on a long and winding road.
By the time they reach out for a demo or otherwise engage with a company, they’ve likely already done research and have some idea of what they want.
As a result, someone who landed on a piece of customer education content has a level of knowledge, which likely means sellers won’t have to spend as much time on the basics. Instead, they can get right down to selling.
Check out this example from HubSpot.
If a prospect read this before meeting with a seller for the first time, the seller wouldn’t have to spend a significant amount of time talking the HubSpot’s value.
Instead, they can speak to differentiators and advanced tactics that’ll help close the business.
Beyond that, customer education in itself can be a selling point because it shows prospects you’re not going to abandon them after you win their business; you send a clear message that you’re invested in the relationship and want them to succeed.
The long-term success and retention of a customer hinge heavily on their onboarding experience.
If someone doesn’t know how to fully take advantage of the product or service, they’re not going to use it — or at least use it as intended.
A customer education program ensures this doesn’t happen and empowers people to realize the value.
Let’s dive deeper into how customer education enhances the onboarding process:
Support for CSMs
CSMs are one of the linchpins that keep companies afloat — and they always will be.
To remain effective, however, they need to master your product or service and understand how to transfer that knowledge to customers. If they can’t, there will always be untapped value and missed opportunities.
To help CSMs achieve mastery, they need access to relevant knowledge and resources. A customer education program provides this in aces, ensuring CSMs are always “in the know” and ready to help customers.
Reduced Support Costs
As a growing company onboarding more customers, you have two options: Hire a ton of CSMs and support reps to assign to every customer OR use a customer education program as a supplement to your current team.
Do the latter.
By using customer education as a pillar of your onboarding process, customers can learn on their own time without as much necessary hand-holding from CSMs (and without hiring an army of them to keep up).
For younger companies with smaller customer bases, throwing CSMs at every customer is a realistic solution.
This approach becomes unrealistic ridiculously quick, and when it does, one scenario will likely play out:
You’ll spread your CS team too thin and leave a lot of your customers without adequate support.
If (no, when) this happens, product usage drops or even worse, they churn, making it nearly impossible to scale.
In addition to scale, a streamlined customer education program standardizes learning, ensuring that every customer receives the same (albeit, personalized) onboarding experience. This is especially important if you have a large CS team and struggle to provide consistent experiences because CSMs deliver information different, forget certain items, etc. Said another way, the success of a customer hinges almost entirely on the CSM.
Let’s be clear: You need CSMs. They’re instrumental, but you absolutely cannot expect each of them to remember everything necessary to get customers off on the right foot. guiding customers along their journey and helping to find new paths to value with your product.
Product and Feature Adoption
Getting customers up and running and minimizing time-to-value is important, but so is turning your attention to getting them to maintain product and feature adoption.
Extending a customer education program beyond pre-sale and onboarding stages can do this. Imagine Apple launching a new iPhone without any support resources to help people use all of its new features or updating its operating system without explaining what on earth all the new features did.
What would happen?
Fewer people would use them than they would if Apple didn’t provide easy-to-follow and readily available resources. (Obviously, Apple does a fantastic job with customer education, especially at this stage of the customer journey. We just like to use them as an example.)
Post-onboarding customer education can come in many different forms — think in-app education, webinars and learning paths — but the goal is all the same: Keep customers engaged and using the product. doesn’t detract from the value it can have on the overall health of your customers and accounts.
More than 20% of people talk about their favorite products with friends and family daily.
Nearly 90% of people had the highest level of trust in a brand when a friend or family member recommended it.
Word-of-mouth drives $6 trillion in annual global spending and is responsible for 13% of all sales.
Word-of-mouth results in 5X more sales than paid ads.
28% of people say that word-of-mouth increases brand affinity.
So, how does customer education apply?
Let’s take a look at HubSpot again. #SorryNotSorry
Scroll through your LinkedIn feed and see how long it takes before you come across someone posting about a HubSpot certification.
Probably not long.
Certifications are a big part of advanced customer education programs and have the unrivaled ability to get people talking.
This is due to two reasons:
When people achieve something, they want to share that with their peers. In a social-first world, this often comes via social channels.
When people see their peers “leveling up,” they’re more likely to take the same path (i.e., “Hey, my colleague just got certified. I better do the same so I can keep up and not get passed over for that promotion because we’re not at the same level.)
When done right, customer education gets people talking, sharing their experiences and ultimately driving customers back into your academy or new prospects to the top of the funnel.