Episode 92

3 Ways SaaS Product Companies Win with an Online Course Strategy

Online courses are a great way to grow your SaaS business. In this LMScast Chris Badgett will show you 3 ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy for customers, employees, and overall business success.

Software as a service is delivered online, usually by subscription. Support courses delivered online are a natural fit for SaaS as there’s a learning curve for new users, plus software upgrades and added features your customers will need to get up to speed with. Websites, blog posts and YouTube videos may be helpful on the surface, but a course will take your clients in-depth to really understand how to get the most out of your tools, and can serve as a sales incentive as well.

Everybody gets too much email, but if you offer something of real value like a free introductory course you’re going to get customers to opt-in and create an account. Then you can follow up with offers that build from there. The same course can serve as customer onboarding when they purchase your software. Always be improving that course, and provide the other support and resources your customers need to fully benefit from your products. Otherwise they’ll simply drop their subscription and go elsewhere.

The very same course can serve as your employee onboarding tool to bring new employees up to speed with your products and services. You can then create other internal courses for tasks like providing support, outbound sales, and prospecting for customers. Plus the teacher who builds the course will know more about your core processes and be better at what they do after documenting these steps for beginners.

Online courses help you grow your company by consistently providing customers with the tools and information they require for real success with your software. This generates leads, reduces churn, and solidifies customer loyalty. It also represents an investment in your employees who then deliver exceptional customer experience, steadily improve your products, and help build your company the way you want it to grow.

Even if your business is not SaaS you will find that online courses help customers and employees learn about your products and services for a better user experience. Our LifterLMS course development platform is a great choice, and our professional team can get your courses online in as little as five days with our Boost service. Go to LifterLMS.com’s SaaS Customer Onboarding Courses page for more on the 3 ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris: Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Christ Badgett. This episode, we’re going to be talk about three ways SaaS product companies win with an online course strategy. SaaS stands for software as a service. These are like those monthly applications and things that you subscribe to on a monthly basis, companies like that. We’re going to be talking about how they can benefit by integrating online courses into their business growth strategy. Now, it’s really important to note too that if you are a different type of product company, maybe a physical product or even a brick and mortar business, you can still use a lot of the same concepts we’re going to talk about here. But for all intents and purposes, we’re going to be talking about using online courses with a SaaS company.

One of the biggest opportunities with an online course for a SaaS company is for inbound marketing. That’s content marketing. It’s content that helps drive leads which drives sales. A lot of companies are creating YouTube videos. They’re making blog posts. They might have a podcast. But when you create an online course, you give your potential perspective user or customer an opportunity to experience or learn in depth about the product and how it works and what it can do for them in a way that just a sales page on the website just cannot really give the full experience, it more hints at it.

The website is going to have like features and benefits and things but it’s not going to show you like fro the beginning, you got it, here’s how you install it, here’s how you set everything up, here’s how to use it, here’s how to get the most out of it. A lot of that stuff is highly underrated as a sales tool and what people end up looking at often times, perspective customers is documentation especially in a software community is know to be of not the best quality for a lot of reasons.

One, it’s not necessarily that fun to create. Number two technology is always changing and evolving fast so it’s hard to keep the documentation current and that sort of thing. But if you slow down, you take a step back, you really focus on wanting to get those greater leads and sales and really invest in creating an online course around your product, it can be highly beneficial as a sales tool. Of course, in that scenario, I would recommend making that online course free and not like a paid product if your goal is to get more perspective leads and sales.

When you make that course, if you’re using a tool like LifterLMS, you can … you’re also capturing an email address when someone creates their user. Not only will the perspective customer have the opportunity to go see all the content and experience what it’s like, what it would hypothetically be like to be using the product but also you have the email so that you can now have a follow up campaign if you want to see if you can nurture that sale that way. You kind of get the two wins. A lot of people collect email with some kind of opt-in bribe or content upgrade, download this free report or just subscribe to the mailing list. There’s no real strong reason for the people to give up their email address which they’re historically becoming more and more tight with giving that out because we’re all getting overwhelmed with too much email.

But when you offer an online course, you’re really justifying and giving them a reason to give you that email to create that user account to invest that little step of trust in you and your company. Then if your online course is good, it’s really going to help nurture that sale. That’s using online courses and SaaS companies as form of inbound marketing. The other piece is you can use that exact same course of how to use my product as also customer on-boarding. Even after the sale, the same course is still available, still free and it walks people through how to set up, use and get the most out of your product.

Again, if you take the time and you really get into the mind of instructional design and really help approach your student with beginner’s mind of like, “This is one, A to Z, we’re not going to skip any steps. This is how to best use our course or our product,” and continually improve that course over time, you’re going to develop a really strong customer on-boarding asset that’s a lot more powerful than just documentation that’s a little stodgy and dry and you’re just kind of really help those customers succeed because a lot of people, especially in the software as a service world, people sign up for something or try not to use it, if they’re not like getting the support and the resources they need, they’re going to drop it and refund or just stay on for a month or two and then they’re gone.

That’s not what you want to see happen. Really focusing on that customer on-boarding. That’s really great when you can do the two birds in one stone there of creating an in-bound marketing asset and also a customer on-boarding asset with the exact, same free online course.

Now the next benefit is employee on-boarding, if you’re running that software company and let’s say are bringing in new level one support people to man the chat or the support email, you can use that exact same course, again, the free course as a tool to help your new people get up to speed without necessarily needing a mentor to step in and walk them one on one through everything when you have this online course as a way to help them get up to speed and be able to best help your customers. Again, there’s that same course for another use, for employee on-boarding. It’s also cool too because it forces you in the employee on-boarding sense. You can create other courses about this is our outbound sales process. You’re training a new prospect in your company like how do we prospect.

Now, this isn’t a course that you would necessarily make public but you would use internally but when you create that course, it forces the teacher to have to really document the process which is not necessarily a fun thing to do but once people people slow down and actually create a process that can be put or designed into an online learning experience, you’ve not only made that teacher better at what they do because they had to really focus and figure out what it is they actually do that works but you’ve also created an asset that can used over and over and over again unlimited scale. That’s the power of online courses for employee on-boarding.

Now, the big thing with SaaS companies is so how does this actually help the company grow? Well, you’re going to get more leads if you have an online course in your in-bound marketing and you’re going to give customers what they want which is the ability to kind of window show without having to get on the phone with you or send emails asking questions because it wasn’t clear exactly what your product does. Then you’re also creating a tool that’s going to help on-board those customers. You’re getting more customers when you actually on-board your customer instead of just walking away after the sale and just having email conversations with them if they need a customer.

If you have a true customer on-boarding sequence, what you’re doing is you’re reducing churn which is where people, the lifetime value of the of the customer, where do they fall off, where do they turn out of the business, what is the average churn. Let’s say you have a churn of 16 months or 8 months. After your customer on-boarding, I would hypothesize that you would be extending the lifetime value of your customer and they would churn further and further in the future because you gave they tools they needed to be successful with your product.

Then of course investing in your team and your employees is a really powerful way to just build a company and improve your product and improve the customer experience. If those people are trained in, I think we’ve all worked at a company and know people who worked at a company where there is no real training. You just got thrown into the wolves and there’s no real process in place. While that’s good and that forces people to either grow or fail quickly, it’s not really the professional way of doing things if you care about success and efficiency.

Well, that is it for this episode of LMScast. That was three ways SaaS product companies can win with online course strategy. Even if you’re not in the software business but you’re in business, period, you can still take some … the same concepts and run with them and use online courses. Unless it’s like its own product that you’re going to use to try to grow a new revenue stream but rather to support your existing business because online education isn’t just about making new products, it’s also about helping people better use the products that are already out there.

If you would like to find out more about all this, I’m going to give you a link here. We have a service at LifterLMS where we set up an online course platform for you in just five days with or without your content and if you’re interested in discussing that, we can absolutely go down that road. What that’s all about is you as a software product owner, you may not be the … you have have technology and be into technology but you may not want to invest in learning the new skill or making mistakes while building an online course delivery system or learning management system.

If you want to work with professionals who do this sort of thing, check us out at LifterLMS.com/my-saas-customer-onboarding-courses and we can go into more detail about what it would be like to work together and you can hear a little bit more about the opportunity with all the stuff. But again, thank you for listening to this episode of LMScast. I wish you all the best success in getting your product company going and successful. If you like to connect at a deeper level again, you can check us out at LifterLMS.com/my-saas-customer-onboarding-courses. All right. Thank you and have an awesome day.

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