The value of corporate training extends far beyond education. When training is strategically aligned with a company’s larger goals, it can bolster customer relationships, boost sales and increase the value of partnerships. This is the business of learning. Of course, such business requires a comprehensive understanding of internal and external training goals and learning delivery. The strategy driving any training program should be bigger than a simple knowledge transfer. Training should add value to the employee experience by providing growth opportunities. Training should connect customers to better experiences with your brand. Training should let your partners get a greater depth of your products or services.

The critical puzzle piece in this equation is technology. Learning technology is the thread that connects stakeholders to the value of your brand’s training initiatives. Without a complete, well-developed training tech stack, learning cannot be distributed effectively. Tech even bridges the gap between live, synchronous training in physical classrooms and trade events and asynchronous, digital training on a mobile or desktop device.

The rapid digitalization of the last decade has pushed training technology to a higher level of development. We now have more flexible tools available to us so that learning does not exist in a silo and is not limited to a single location. With learning technology, companies can connect training data to sales initiatives, enrich client experiences with personalized recommendations and collaborate with channel partners. Each of these initiatives drives business for the organization and can even become a critical component of your company’s business development.

Enriching the Client and Partner Experience

Training is often considered an element of the employee experience, an internal process that serves a company’s team members. But training can be just as important for the client and partner experiences, especially in industries where clients engage with the brand after the purchase of a product or service or when a partner distributes a product. With an abundance of options, brands and products available to consumers at any moment, standing out from competitors is simply more challenging in today’s marketplace. Companies can enhance client and partner experiences through training, ultimately cultivating loyalty and boosting the sales pipeline along the way.

Brands will rely on learning technology to connect the dots between the client relationship and customer training which is a value addition. Companies that offer customer training will enrich their clients’ experiences and create stronger long-term relationships with a broader network of clients. There are two keys to ensuring strategic alignment and return on investment (ROI) in customer training: value and accessibility. First, training must be valuable to the customer. To create value, companies need a clear understanding of customer needs and an efficient way to create learning experiences tailored to the individual. In short, companies need data connected to the training experience and technology that enables personalization. Tech can and should support both of these objectives.

A digital learning management system (LMS) platform, for example, can be used to both distribute training to customers and collect essential training data in the process. When the LMS is built with provisions for artificial intelligence (AI), personalized course recommendations can be automated — and customers are served with tailored learning experiences that suit their needs. As they take and complete training, the technology can track, manage, and report learning engagement, enabling companies to determine where there are learning gaps, which topics learners prefer and the rate of engagement each course receives. These learning strategies can come together to enrich the client experience, extend the partner network, bolster brand loyalty, and drive revenue through client retention, ensuring that your training initiatives win a positive ROI.

Connecting Learning to Sales

Learning and sales can also work together to drive business growth and improve training ROI. Learning is a vital part of sales team effectiveness; without a clear and targeted ramp strategy, individual sales representatives cannot be effective. Companies that have already leveraged a digital training platform (like an LMS or a skills development platform) for internal employee training should likewise use that platform to bolster their sales strategies.

Tech, again, is the thread that connects learning and sales. Return on investment in learning technology is maximized when companies choose platforms that integrate with or offer extensible apps for multiple business-critical platforms. For example, companies need tech that can connect with a customer relationship management (CRM) platform so critical sales information can be tied to training objectives. If a sales representative is working in a new-to-them region and has an upcoming sales call or meeting, they need easy access to learning materials that are targeted to that region. Learning technology ensures that sales representatives have access to the information they need at any time to be prepared for a spontaneous sales call or a quick turnaround.

The business of learning is all about adding value. Corporate learning is often initiated in the internal, employee-centric space — and it should add value to the employee experience — but the value of training can also extend to sales, partner and customer sectors to drive revenue for organizations. The only way to ensure that your training yields a positive ROI is if it is tailored to your company’s needs and driven by technology. Companies can no longer afford to invest in one-size-fits-all training technology and apply standard training plans, especially not if they are looking to boost engagement and create meaningful relationships.

Next-generation training technology can ensure strategic alignment across your organization, resulting in more efficient achievement of company goals. A digital learning platform connects internal stakeholders to customers and channel partners by acting as a source of knowledge, a means of communication and a location for substantial interactions between brands and partners. Learning technology ensures that your training strategy coincides with your business objectives and that you can track, measure and report on progress along the way. If you want to see a return on investment for your training, you need the right technology to support you. Look for training platforms that offer personalization, extensible apps, learning flexibility and avenues through which customers and channel partners can engage. By connecting all of your business-critical functions through learning technology, you’ll gain value for your company and your internal and external stakeholders.