Been There, Done That: CLOs on Struggles with Choosing the Right Learning Solution

At Rallyware, we’ve been working with dozens of CLOs across the globe for more than six years. We understand that one of their main concerns is making sure that they choose the right L&D solution for their company’s specific needs. And after interviewing all the global training leaders we’ve worked with about their experiences in looking for and choosing the right learning solution, we thought we’d share our findings with you. We’ve also created a guide with the answers to most burning questions about choosing the right learning and development system for your company.

To start, let’s meet Frank. He is the Chief Learning Officer at a large company with more than 13,000 distributed workforces in 11 countries. Frank’s experience mirrors those of dozens of the training leaders that we’ve worked with. Here’s what we learned from Frank.

The Challenge

When I joined the company, there was a huge need to update the way our sales professionals are trained. Prior to my joining, the company used a generic learning management system to deliver training content and…Let’s say, it was far from boosting our salespeople’s skills and productivity. The only case when sales teams actually used it was when they needed to get updates on newly launched products. However, their retention of information left much to be desired. And ‘trackable’ ROI was limited to cutting costs on travel, printed manuals, and instructors because of eLearning.

The company had also tough times due to high turnover since a lot of new recruits didn’t stay longer than two or three months. I knew we had to fix our onboarding strategy first to deliver a localized experience to our distributed sales teams, making it personal, consistent, and scalable. I also knew that I couldn’t let the company make another mistake and spend money on learning technology that doesn’t meet our current and future needs. The financial stakes were too high.

1,300+ learning solutions: steering through the hype

In 2019, there are more than 1,300 learning systems to choose from, my friends. So, the first question that came to my mind was how to choose the one that best suits our needs? Actually, it was the second one. I was afraid to get lost in the first place.

If we consider these 1,300 learning systems, the best way you can sort through them is by narrowing down your search by defining specific requirements and using services like Capterra or G2 Crowd. However, you will still have a huge array of options. That’s why the most crucial step is to understand exactly which features you need, helping you to cut through the clutter of LMS vendors’ promotions.

Remember this simple truth: you don’t need a learning system loaded with features you won’t use. Your L&D team should be focused on training your workforce and not be distracted by shiny knickknacks.

Also, don’t let cool names blind you. Yeah, we know that LMS is a thing of the past. Now we have learning experience platforms, microlearning platforms, employee engagement platforms, video learning platforms, VR and AR learning solutions, and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, these are awesome training tools! The problem is that some vendors hide their old LMSs behind these buzzwords.

List it up! I did my homework. I’ve scanned through most popular learning technologies out there to compare their features and make a list of want-haves. Let me explain. In 2019, the availability of things like mobile learning, user-friendly interface, gamification, and integration with a company’s internal systems is a new normal. Think wider. Think like your team members. What do I need to succeed? How should I learn when I’ve got urgent tasks to do? I know, I have to finish reading that boring compliance update policy but there are five more potential customers I gotta reach out to by 5 pm.

Last summer, I came across Josh Bersin’s article about the evolution of corporate training.

The evolution of learning solutions

A New Paradigm For Corporate Training: Learning In The Flow of Work.

I thought, my people need to learn in the flow of work now. There’s no way our 13,000+ sales rep can wait till 2020 to have their needs supported. That was a starting point of my want-have list.

  1. I want my team to enjoy a clear, custom experience once they’re in.
  2. I want my team to turn to our learning system to find all relevant information whenever they need, not Google.
  3. I want my team to stay engaged every day and feel support even if they’re thousands of miles away.
  4. I want my team to seamlessly collaborate, share their experience, and ask for help. But I don’t want them to use a bunch of communication tools to only lose that precious knowledge shortly afterward.
  5. I want a learning system to grow with my people’s needs and with the needs of our company. No. I want this system to be ahead of our needs to avoid any standstills.
  6. I want to see that our investments are not in vain. Let’s start with a 22% increase in sales productivity and a 10% increase in retention by the end of the year, and keep raising the bar year after year.

This is just my example. Your company and your people might strive to achieve absolutely different goals. Just make sure your want-have list supports these goals and leaves space for more.

How to ensure you’ve picked the right learning solution

Once I was all set with my list, the options that could satisfy my wants narrowed to eight. It was time to get to know vendors better. Demo is key, this is my philosophy. Not only you get to see the product in action and the team behind it but you can also get practical insights, ask experts in the L&D industry questions, get introductions to other vendors or services, and learn something new. If you left the demo without at least one of those things pass on that solution – you want to work with people who are the leaders in their space.

While you’re getting impressed by the features of a potential learning solution that will fulfill your wants, don’t forget to find out more about the company behind it. And it’s not only about scanning through its website and reading reviews (this is important too). Talk to vendors.

The following three reasons explain why our company eventually chose Rallyware.  

  1. The platform resonates most with the company’s needs.

I’ve seen a lot of demos. The common thing I’ve noticed is that some vendors try to stuff into their 30-something minutes every possible feature their platform has. Though they might sound cool, I just can’t get the hang of how these features will exactly help to solve our problems.

The Rallyware team was upfront with us. They started with a few clarification questions to make sure we’re on the same page and then framed their demo only around those features and tools that were key to reaching our goals. No time wasted. All questions answered. No unnecessary tools discussed.

  1. The platform is supported by a dedicated customer success team.

Knowing that we have a large distributed workforce across 11 countries, the Rallyware team described in detail how their platform will automatically scale and personalize training to unlock the full potential of every sales rep. They also assigned a customer success manager to work directly with us and support during the whole collaboration period.

What I find truly important is that Rallyware runs a regular program review after the launch. Through ongoing update calls and data-rich reports, they keep track of whether we’re getting closer to our objectives and offer improvements to the flow of the program if needed. I trust the Rallyware team because these guys are industry experts and have a vast experience in delivering the right training to the right people at the right time.

  1. The platform offers a data-driven approach to talent development.

The explanation of how every built-in feature is driven by years of accumulated data was, for me, the cherry on top. This is when I understood that these guys don’t simply follow modern learning trends. They test them, assess their effectiveness, try different combinations, and then deliver the most suitable options to every customer. The elaborate machine learning algorithms that power their platform helped our company achieve our goals in the most efficient ways and break new grounds in our growing business. It was incredible to see how we could supercharge our workforces by integrating learning into our daily operations.  

I hope these tips for choosing the right learning solution for your needs and wants help you make the right choice. Keep calm and grow your talent.

If you’re looking for a learning solution that will grow with your business’s needs and support your people at every step, ask Rallyware for a demo!