Article written by Christopher Pappas, founder of eLearning Indsutry
Choosing an LMS for external partner training versus in-house L&D involves a unique vetting process. In this article, I share 7 insider secrets to find a user-friendly enterprise LMS that’s just right for your extended sales channel.
Your external sales team doesn’t have to be left out in the cold when it comes to online training. In fact, an enterprise LMS can give them access to the same skill-building resources as your in-house staffers. After all, they may need some help sealing the deal from time to time. And JIT online training resources are the only thing that can bridge the gaps and get them in the know about your latest products and policies. But how do you find a user-friendly extended enterprise LMS when they have such diverse needs, preferences, and tech experience?
The tricky thing about Learning Management Systems—and tech tools, in general—is that everyone has their own definition of “intuitive”. What’s user-friendly for one sales employee might involve a steep learning curve for another. For this reason, it’s wise to take a team test drive and give everyone the opportunity to participate in the free trial/demo. Invite a select group to try out the extended enterprise LMS and provide feedback. Did they find it difficult to use the dashboard? Was navigation a breeze, or did it bring on a headache? You can use their input to find a Learning Management System that accommodates everyone. At the very least, you know which points you should cover in your LMS tutorials/demo videos to maximize functionality.
Develop distinct group profiles for your sales channel to get a clear idea of their expectations and must-have features. For example, some of your remote sales employees or contractors have minimal experience with online training. They also have a specific skillset they need to perform their duties as well as unique learning preferences you must consider. These individuals form a group that can help you choose the best LMS based on their requirements and background.
Some people grew up with smartphones, and tech is second nature to them. Others had to acclimate to modern technology and endure a learning curve while the rest are still a bit behind when it comes to tech mastery. You need to assess your sales channel’s level of tech-savviness to select a Learning Management System that involves minimal familiarization. For instance, a more advanced LMS that’s fully customizable but has a less intuitive interface might exclude certain members of your team.
The enterprise LMS you ultimately choose should be able to support interactive resources that impart real-world experience as well as increase sales channel engagement. But it must also make accessibility a top priority. For instance, team members can get the simulations and branching scenarios they need on any browser, device, or platform. Choose a Learning Management System that allows you to deploy JIT online training resources that are bite-sized and easily digestible.
Your sales channel is probably on-the-go meeting with clients, scheduling sales calls, and working remotely every day to improve your profit margin. This means they need an enterprise LMS that travels with them and is accessible on any device. Namely, a responsive LMS that makes the platform more user-friendly for mobile users who need information anytime, anywhere. This also makes life easier for your L&D team, as they can design specific breakpoints to deploy multiplatform-friendly content. The Learning Management System detects the employee’s device, then automatically displays the best version to give them the full online training experience, without having to scroll, pan, or swipe to view an oversized image on their smaller screen.
Your external sales team and your in-house staff are probably already familiar with LMS solutions. They’ve used them in the past to give and receive online training, depending on their background and employment history. So, why not ask for their input to find a user-friendly enterprise LMS for your sales channel training? They can even help you narrow down your shortlist by eliminating options that are less-than intuitive, based on their personal experience. This also gives you the opportunity to delve deeper into their LMS requirements. For instance, a survey or poll discloses that most of your sales partners would like to personalize their dashboards or auto-enroll to expedite the online training process.
Trusted online reviews and ratings give you a good idea of how user-friendly the tool is in practical training environments. The key word is “trusted.” A well-established LMS directory gives you the ability to not only read what others have to say about the UX but verify their use case. For instance, they’re in a similar industry or they have the same amount of experience using LMS platforms. Evaluate the overall satisfaction rating and usability score. Then assess the written reviews to determine if the pros/cons pertain to your organization. For example, a user mentions that the tool requires extensive LMS experience and lacks customer support features. Thus, it may not be a good match for your sales partners, who require a more flexible and intuitive tool with advanced support options.
A user-friendly extended enterprise LMS evens out the L&D playing field. Every member of your team (in-house and remote) has access to the valuable online training tools they require to accomplish their goals. This even applies to your extended sales channel which needs to seal the deal and bridge skill gaps without stepping foot in your office. Make it mobile-friendly, quick to consume, and targeted to their online training needs to improve ROI.
Christopher Pappas is the Founder of eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning field. Christopher holds an MBA and an M.Ed. (Learning Design) from BGSU.