Customer Success Leadership Community

Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

  • 1.  Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    Our company mostly works with SMB customers (monthly agreements not annual).

    We are running into an issue where:
    - Sales closes a deal
    - We have the kickoff with the client and schedule client into first training
    - Client ghosts/no shows

    Ideally we would like each client to have a kickoff with their CSM then 4 training sessions with our training team.

    Has anyone played around with incentivizing clients to show up to trainings?

    For example:
    - Every training you attend you get 1 raffle ticket, bonus ticket if you attend all 4 trainings
    - At the end of each month 1 person wins a prize (Peloton app membership, bottle of tequila, Amazon gift card, etc.)

    Has anyone tried this or something similar before? Would love to hear the communities thoughts on Pros/cons.
    #CustomerJourney
    #CustomerSuccess
    #Outcomes
    #Strategy

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    Jordan Silverman
    Vice President of Customer Success
    MarketMan
    9148445775
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  • 2.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi Jordan,
    In my experience incentives do not drive attendance or improve the onboarding or adoption experience. I would ask question like how complicated is it to onboard our product? What is the skill set required to onboard? How easy is our product to learn and adopt? How do our customers onboard and adopt our product without training? How is ondemand training better suited to our customers? How does our community share ideas among each other?

    In many cases companies do not allow gifts from vendors. This is especially true for government.
    /scott

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    Thank you,
    Scott
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  • 3.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    This is an interesting question and one that's top of mind for me as I've recently started overseeing my company's training initiatives. We're currently transitioning from live, webinar, 1:1 training to using an LMS for self directed elearning. In the past, while there will always be a few no shows on training, we have not had major issues with it in the past. Our product is certainly complicated and necessitates training instruction. While I don't know much about MarketMan, my company also services the hospitality space (hotels/casinos instead of restaurants, but many concepts and personalities are similar). I'm happy to chat further and share notes!

    While incentives may help, I'm not sure they will address the underlying cause. As we have overhauled the training function, we have updated the content itself so that training sessions have clear takeaways and the user knows what he/she is going to get out of it. For example, as opposed to "I'll teach you how to use this config" the emphasis is instead on "here's how you manage inventory." As we move toward more automation, this is going to be a bigger issue as we won't have the personal touch that webinar training brings. One of the most common methods is offering certification or badges that can be shared on LinkedIn. 

    Who are you training and how are you training them? It's typically easier for me to train a hotel's revenue team as our products are mission critical to their job, however I've encountered similar issues when training operational staff. They have a completely different schedule, KPIs, and mindset. Assuming that you deal with a similar population, maybe breaking up training into smaller "how to" sessions would work better. Alternatively, I know Open Table breaks down its training by job function (owner, manager, hostess, etc.) so that it is highly targeted.

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    Ashton L
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  • 4.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    @Ashton Liu lots of spot on comments here. We are training end users at restaurants. So chefs, GMs, bar managers, etc.

    In the mid-market and enterprise we really do not face this issue. It mostly happens at the SMB level where as you said ​end user schedules can get crazy.

    What LMS system did you implement?

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    Jordan Silverman
    Vice President of Customer Success
    MarketMan
    9148445775
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  • 5.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi Jourdan, We decided on Skilljar. I looked at a number of others (Docebo, Thought Industries, Intellum, etc.) as well, and Skilljar stood out as a provider that was built for our use case (customer training), had the right amount of out-of-box capability that made onboarding fairly simple, and supported the integrations we need. Docebo was also a strong contender. Open Table uses them (https://opentable.docebosaas.com/academy). Implementation is still ongoing but so far so good.

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    Ashton Liu
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  • 6.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    I also recommend looking into Moodle, Intellum, and Chili Piper. I currently use Moodle and will be also using Chili Piper next month.

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    Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Customer Success Manager
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  • 7.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hey Jordan - 

    Similar to what Scott said, in my experience incentives don't really drive attendance or improve onboarding or adoption rates.

    Having said that, I have a few questions so I can better understand.

    1: In the pre-close phase of the journey, does Sales prepare the customer for what's next?  Do they create any kind of awareness and provide information regarding the kickoff and onboarding?  I find that this is a crucial piece and if missing can cause confusion and misalignment at this most important part of the customer journey.

    2: How long has this been an issue?  Is this something new or has it always been a challenge?

    3: I took a quick look at your website - MarketMan is software for restaurants (i'm simplifying), correct?  Restaurant inventory, invoicing, etc.. 

    If #3 is correct, then my thought is this:

    Restaurant life is chaotic.  They're busy.  Getting them to sit down for 4 sessions sounds like it might be too much.  I speak from experience as someone who worked in restaurants all through high school and college and even in recent years for extra money.  These people are always on the move and time is a valuable commodity than many of them don't have.

    If all of that sounds accurate based on the personas you have, maybe it makes sense to cut the onboarding down, simplify, and reduce the TTFV.

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    Shari Srebnick
    Head of Client Success - US
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  • 8.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    @Shari Srebnick and @Scott Morgan I 100% agree with you making it easier to onboard clients through the product is the most important.

    I am more looking at this as a short term work around/hack. We all know that getting product and dev to build and improve takes time.

    We have a very precise onboarding plan/steps. We go through it with the client both in the sales process and again on the kick off. In addition to this we also have daily webinar sessions live and recorded available if people do not want to attend the full training process since it can be a lot.

    Now one caveat this is only a problem on the SMB side of our business (about 30% of our revenue and 60% of our customer base). Mid-market and enterprise we do not experience this.

    ​​

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    Jordan Silverman
    Vice President of Customer Success
    MarketMan
    9148445775
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  • 9.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Moderator
    Posted 13 days ago
    You nailed it, Shari (Of course).

    In particular for the small size in SMB I found that the more self-service you offer, the better. I established a dedicated community just for new users and a self-service onboarding program that focused on hands-on modules, early successes, and prizes for getting to a specific milestone first. I track that progress and report back to the key stakeholder, and have triggers for users who seem to get stuck.

    Happy to elaborate more offline.

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    Andreas Knoefel
    2020 - Top100 Customer Success Strategist
    Inventor of the Customer Success Performance Index™
    I maximize customer ROI, and boost CS efficiencies and Net Revenue Retention
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  • 10.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hello Jordan,
    There's a lot to unpack here, my perspective is coming from a career sales guy (and a future Customer Success Manager).
    Asking your clients to attend training designed to help them succeed is not an unreasonable request, yet, there seems to be a reluctance for them to show up.
    I'm making some assumptions that may be 100% wrong, but in my opinion, the issue may be Process related.

    1. I would suggest including Onboarding/Training as a Hard Line Item on your SOW and/or Quote.
    Adding Onboarding/Training as part of Sales Process is not a 'sales blocker'.
    Rather. it provides an up front understanding that it's part of the complete solution, therefore, not an optional 'feature'.
    Sales may need to tweak their 'pitch' and set the expectation that training is not an 'opt-out' part of the solution.

    2. Also, is there a logical way to train the client while providing a phased access to the platform?
    This may 'force' training onto the onboarding process.

    3. Does the kickoff include a Mutual Account Plan (MAP)?
    (ie: a mutual agreed upon set of activities and mutual commitments)

    4. I'm curious, what's your churn look like when clients show up for training vs. not show up for training?
    The answer to this may help you change how Onboarding/Training is managed today.

    All of the above, in my honest opinion, hope it's helpful.
    I'd appreciate your feedback if any of this resonates.
    Gracias and Be well,
    CEE

    We are running into an issue where:
    - Sales closes a deal
    - We have the kickoff with the client and schedule client into first training
    - Client ghosts/no shows

    Ideally we would like each client to have a kickoff with their CSM then 4 training sessions with our training team.

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    carlos enriquez
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  • 11.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 14 days ago

    I suggest probing a little further and asking why they are not showing up before pursuing a solution. I suspect, however, that yours may be a very common problem tied to a lack of effective change management--the people making the purchase decision are not the people being asked to show up for the training, or more importantly, to change what they do on a daily basis. 

    People naturally resist change. Why? Two reasons:

    1. Humans are twice as sensitive to losses as we are to gains. Change often involves a perceived loss of status (I'm no longer a recognized expert), certainty (I don't know what will happen next), autonomy (I now have to rely on someone else for help), relationships (I had friends at the other vendor's company), or fairness (I have enough to do right now!). Perceived loss activates our defense mechanisms, and common expressions are disengagement and passive aggression.
    2. Changing habits requires significant time and effort. Our brains automatically shift routine tasks to our subconscious to conserve energy, and an estimated 42% of our day is just routine. Learning a new technology means breaking old habits and acquiring new ones, a process that requires neural networks to reconfigure themselves. Millions of neurons must change their firing patterns, which requires a great deal of reinforcement with new pathways and breaking down existing chemistry in old pathways. The brain naturally resists spending its precious energy reconfiguring itself, leading to status quo bias. 

    So how can you counter this? Prosci defines a framework and an approach to managing change, one that according to their research, increases the odds of user adoption and project success by a factor of 6. ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement) defines the stages of individual change, and most often overlooked are the first two--Awareness of the problem the organization is trying to solve, and increasing Desire among the rank and file to solve it. Individual motivation ultimately triggers the brain to suppress its fears and invest the energy and time to learn and adapt. Executive sponsors and front-line supervisors must play essential roles to make change successful. 

    Large, savvy customers know what change management is and many have fully trained teams working side-by-side with internal PMO groups. Smaller firms and buyers who purchase SaaS solutions outside corporate processes don't. What that means is Customer Success Managers must understand and facilitate the change process where none exists.

    With proper change management, employees will definitely show up for training and remain engaged throughout. I recommend you investigate these practices and incorporate them into your onboarding process.

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    Ed Powers
    Consultant
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  • 12.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 12 days ago

    @Ed Powers We face a similar problem as Jordan I watched the ADKAR method and so Im curious on how you apply it to customers (or theoretically how its applied) because the course is all about internal change management. So I believe I understand it enough to connect the dots but where im stuck is on what point in time do we leverage this method?

    We have 4 discovery questions we ask at the very beginning of the call based on what information we think we need to identify the goal. Should ADKAR be applied in this stage in order to increase adoption rate or are you suggesting this as an outreach method to get ppl to the first training in order to execute other areas of ADKAR for adoption? ​



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    Nicholas Ciambrello
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  • 13.  RE: Incentivizing clients to attend training sessions

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hey @Nicholas Ciambrello

    Yes, ADKAR was developed to help organizations manage change internally, but knowing how it is done and facilitating it directly applies in Customer Success, in my opinion. Without A and D, the rest (onboarding and training new users in K, A, and R) becomes an uphill climb.

    I'd encourage you to think about this in two ways:
    1. ​Develop change management as an an optional value-added, for-pay service delivered by Customer Success or Professional Services. I have helped some of my clients do this. The advantage is that salespeople are highly motivated to increase their deal sizes, and at the same time it helps the customer better adopt the product, realize value, and renew/expand, which helps you. 
    2. Integrate change management into your pre-close Success Plan and subsequent onboarding motion. Prosci's method can easily be adapted and integrated into your standard process, including providing handy templates to make things easier for your contacts. And as you note, it's essential to tailor the plan from the very beginning by asking the customer (namely the Executive Sponsor) how they will manage the change and how you can help. They may opt to do it all themselves, but most would value your guidance along the way. I have also helped my clients take this approach.

    Ideally change management begins as early as possible, even before the customer engages your company, but frequently it's an afterthought. That said, doing something in the form of your Executive Sponsor and Supervisor communicating and reinforcing A and D prior to user training (K) is an absolute must for building motivation among users to attend. At the very least it will generate the type of internal conversation that may have been overlooked and is overdue. 

    Hope that helps. Let me know if I can be of assistance.

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    Ed Powers
    Consultant
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