As a trainer, you need a learning management system (LMS), but how do you know that you’re choosing the right one? When faced with decision fatigue, you may find it tempting to settle for a generic, off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all system. But not all LMS are created equal. This is particularly true when it comes to offering online training. As a training provider, you have different needs than many other LMS users. For example, you will benefit from an LMS designed with a simple UI and a seamless purchase-to-enrollment process. An LMS tailored specifically for training providers will help you reduce development time, integrate your content with client-side LMS, and easily produce reports. Here, we explain why training providers need a niche LMS and what to look for when deciding on one.
Why You Need an LMS Designed for Trainers
While there are hundreds of LMS products, many are designed for K-12, higher education, and corporate audiences. Many will support SCORM and other e-learning standards, whereas others will take an all-in-one approach with their own built-in content. As a training provider, you should look for a standards-based solution that provides the flexibility to service all your customers while avoiding being locked into a proprietary platform.
So, what is unique about training provider requirements? The answer to this question will largely depend on whether you are selling to direct individuals (B2C) or other organizations (B2B). Even B2B sales may differ from one client to the next, as some will purchase for a small number of individuals, while others will purchase for a large proportion of their employees. Similar to a B2C transaction, a B2B sale for a small number of users may be efficiently accomplished via an e-commerce transaction. Enterprise clients, on the other hand, may require a more traditional sales team. Ideally, you want an LMS that is going to support these different scenarios.
In summary, a training provider is likely servicing multiple distinct populations, and there is often a requirement to maintain the data and business rules for each separately. The standard corporate LMS is typically designed to service a single population where the business rules are common and there’s no provision for keeping the data collected for multiple populations separate. If you run a training business for B2B and B2C sales, you should choose an LMS that is customized to your specific needs and flexible for different clients’ needs.
What You Should Look For in a Training LMS
There are plenty of reasons that training providers need a niche LMS, but two stand out in particular: access to support and sales-oriented design.
Never Take LMS Support for Granted
Many LMS come with only a modicum level of support. User forums and discussion threads may work well for schools and nonprofits, but when you’re running a professional business and have an issue, waiting for a good Samaritan to answer your questions (perhaps incorrectly) isn’t ideal.
It makes far more sense to choose an LMS with training-specific, company-managed support. You want to find an LMS company that designs its platform for training clientele. The support that training-focused LMS companies provide is focused on speed and efficiency, so you don’t have to spend time placating upset clients.
Beyond being built to support your business, the ideal LMS accommodates your company’s and your learners’ common needs. Look for an LMS provider that has experience supporting training companies. You want a company skilled at troubleshooting unforeseen but sometimes common issues—e.g., course-scoring settings or student data retrieval.
Aspire for More Than an Off-the-Shelf LMS
It makes sense that an LMS focuses on the learning experience. But your business depends on sales. An LMS doesn’t have to be 100% committed to learning. The best training LMS offer your business much more.
Look for a training LMS that can help you market and sell your training to B2B and B2C customers. Ideally, it should help you sell your entire ecosystem of training to new and returning customers. Demand two things from your LMS:
- Client sites: the ability for your B2B customers to brand the LMS as their own
- Ecommerce integration: the ability for both your B2C and B2B customers to find and purchase access to your training seamlessly
Client Sites Will Increase Your Sales Potential
The best training LMS enable you to create client-specific LMS sites or portals that can be completely white-labeled. Custom branding and domains will enable you to sell your training to companies that want all training to appear as though it is completely in-house.
The best training LMS will also enable you to offer different admin access privileges and user grouping rights (e.g., by job title, location, or department). You need to find an LMS that enables you to control client access and automate updates.
Additionally, the LMS data, users, and content will all be independent from one client site to another. Your LMS should enable you to offer what appears to be a separate LMS experience for each B2B client, even though you’re only paying for a single LMS.
There are three things to look for in a training-specific LMS:
1) Multi-tenant Capability
Multi-tenant capability enables you to provide each of your clients with their own branded LMS site and manage all of them from a single interface. Simply grant course access to each client without having to reload content and build new courses. When you need to update a specific course, the update will be reflected for all clients who have access to that course.
2) Client Course Customization
The client site feature should also enable you to customize individual courses for specific clients. You may, for example, have a client that would like more modules added to a course. You can add these modules to only this client’s version of the course.
Perhaps your client would like to have unique prerequisites, certificates, or assessments in their course. You should be able to provide your client the ability to change these from their central interface.
When you’re selling training to B2B clients, the ability to integrate with your clients’ systems will open up new market opportunities and ultimately, save time and administrative costs. Two such integrations often used by training providers are Single Sign On (SSO) and External LMS.
SSO enables you to set up a B2B client site with a single log-in using corporate credentials (e.g., the same username and password used on trainees’ work computers). This is convenient for the trainee, and it saves administrative time and lets your clients track their employees’ use of the training.
The best training LMS also enables you to export your training content. This feature saves you massive amounts of time and money should a corporate client wish to embed your training content in their own proprietary or external LMS. The ability to integrate with your clients’ desired LMS opens up markets to clients that may otherwise go elsewhere.
Online Training Kindled by Ecommerce
A training LMS should enable you to integrate ecommerce via a reputable service, such as Shopify. Automating purchase-to-access for your online training will land you more conversions, and it can automate enrollment, making customers happy too.
Ecommerce integration using Shopify, as found in Firmwater LMS, makes it easy to market and sell immediate access to your training and courses. All it takes is a click of a “Buy” button. Shopify also enables you to create a branded online store for your training, where shoppers can make multiple training purchases.
Transactions are fast and seamless. Businesses can purchase multiple seats for their employees. B2C customers can gain immediate access to the training that they desire.
Data is the real benefit of using an LMS with ecommerce integration. For example, data from Shopify can help you determine whether your training is priced competitively. You can follow converts through the course and track learners throughout the customer lifecycle. You can even use the insight into your customers’ behaviors to target-market them for new training offerings in the future.
Choose an LMS Based on Industry-Specific Support and Sales Integration
Designing stellar training materials isn’t enough to stand out from the competition. You need to pick the right LMS to help you create a stellar training experience and distribute the training with the least amount of work possible.
This is why training providers need a niche LMS.
Avoid an off-the-rack LMS, and make sure you pick a learning system designed specifically with trainer-specific customer support and service. Better yet, choose one with ecommerce integration. It will help you market, enable customers to immediately access your training, and provide invaluable data for you to use in future marketing endeavors.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!