Difficulties managing and marketing commercial training can leave some providers in the dark about the potential contribution of their CPD, short course and commercial training offering, and missing out on revenue opportunities.
In conversations with our customer base, some common themes emerged about how their current technology is standing in the way of them creating an informed and efficient commercial course strategy.
Here we explore some of the most common challenges we heard, and offer some strategies to overcome them.
1. Your website has barriers to booking
Some providers noted that it can be difficult for prospects to find their short course or CPD offering, as there is no centralised place listing these options. When researching commercial courses, we found that many organisations require their prospects to complete a lengthy form or send an email for more information, before doing enough to convince potential customers of the course’s value. By obscuring the booking process behind a form or email, you might quickly lose the interest of your audience.
For commercial training providers to attract an audience that has grown used to sophisticated e-commerce options and online self-service, it’s no longer enough to simply list your courses online. Those that stand to win the greatest share of bookings are those that consider the overall learner experience, giving prospective customers all the information they need upfront, offering intuitive navigation and letting learners book and pay instantly.
You can drive conversion by providing an online home for your commercial offering, which clearly displays your courses, dates and pricing. With clear options to apply, book and pay, your learners know exactly what the next stage of the journey is, and can complete this in a single sitting, increasing the chance of them converting interest into action.
2. You don’t have a clear understanding of your commercial portfolio
Many providers told us that pockets of commercial training exist around their organisations, making it difficult to gain full insight into what is being delivered, to whom, and the impact that this is having. It’s highly likely that some organisations are underestimating the value of their delivery, due to a lack of transparency and reporting.
Not having key data at your fingertips may also mean any decisions you make are less informed. It’s difficult to know where to invest, without insights into how each course or faculty is performing.
3. You’re missing opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell
Many learners will happily purchase additional services and materials to help them complete their course smoothly, but it’s not always obvious what’s recommended. By giving your learners guidance about what they might need upfront, and offering a clear way to book and make payment, you can increase your chances of catching your learners before they make other arrangements for add-ons like parking and accommodation. Providers can also leverage the enthusiasm and sense of achievement learners often feel after completing a course, by suggesting other relevant courses they might like to book next.
4. You lack the evidence to quantify your value to employers
A lack of reporting doesn’t just affect providers. It can make it difficult to demonstrate the value of your agreements with employers. Worse still, it might mean that money is being left on the table, as a lack of real-time tracking may mean budgets are underutilised.
Being able to clearly demonstrate exactly what has been delivered to each of their employees may help you in conversations with your employers, particularly when it comes to negotiating new contracts. Making improvements to your course booking system can also pay dividends when attracting new employers, as you can offer a more streamlined experience for them, in which they can easily view and approve bookings against their contracts.
5. Your team is overburdened by administration, making it impossible to scale your offering
Spreadsheets, emails and legacy systems can make the task of onboarding a single learner incredibly time-consuming. This can be exacerbated by differences in process across different departments or employers. Your team is kept busy with the admin required to keep your current courses running, without the bandwidth to look for improvements or increase the scale of delivery.
The good news is that technology can dramatically reduce this overhead. Your team can put course booking on autopilot, enabling them to focus on strategic planning and offering an excellent learner experience. With systems like Aptem Commercial, you can set up and publish your courses, then allow learners to self-serve when browsing, booking and making payments. You can even automate communications such as pre-course emails, to make sure your learners have the information they need, without the admin overhead.
6. You’re reliant on specific skills to keep your listings up to date
When researching commercial course offerings, it wasn’t uncommon to find outdated listings. This is understandable if your set-up means you’re dependent on someone with website skills to publish, update and remove each of your listings. However, first impressions are key, and displaying outdated content doesn’t align with the professional experience your learners expect from your brand.
Luckily, keeping your courses up to date online needn’t be a job for a web developer. Solutions exist that mean anyone can create, update and remove course listings from their website using a simple interface, regardless of their website or technical skillset.
With many of our customers exploring ways to diversify income and reduce operating costs, we wanted to create a way to streamline how providers manage and market commercial courses. The result was Aptem Commercial: a slick and scalable course booking process, offering built-in reporting, without the administrative overhead.
So, how does Aptem Commercial help you overcome these challenges?
Aptem Commercial delivers on our goal to create a more streamlined and professional experience for all involved, be that your own team, your learners, or your employers.
With Aptem Commercial, your team can:
- Save time by enabling self-service course booking
- Easily set-up and manage course listings and catalogues to be displayed online, then allow learners to browse, book and pay for courses anytime, anywhere.
- Gain full control over your commercial course listings
- Publish, edit and delete online course listings from within one intuitive interface, with no requirement for web development resource.
- Reduce administration time by automating basic processes
- Such as sharing emails with pre-course information and location details.
- Maximise revenue and enable proactive capacity planning
- Track applications and set restrictions on cohorts to make sure you’re filling your courses.
- Increase upsell and cross-sell opportunities
- Promote revenue generating add-on services at point of sale, such as accommodation and course materials.
- Utilise all budget against employer contracts
- Make sure you’re not leaving funding on the table, by tracking your delivery against each of your employer contracts in real time.
- Promote your experts
- Share online profiles for your coaches, including expertise, interests and course offerings.
- Gain full visibility of your commercial offering
- Use pre-built reports to view key metrics, from real-time purchases to attendance and revenue
Your learners will:
- Get the professional experience they expect from your brand
- By browsing your online course catalogues, then booking and paying for courses within a couple of clicks.
- Receive recommendations for other courses and add-on services
- Based on their interests and previous booking history.
- Have the option to request payment by their employer
- For employer-funded courses, using a simple request process at the point of booking.
Your employers will have the tools to:
- Create tailored learning journeys for employees, to support career development pathways
- Displayed using branded course catalogues and custom pricing.
- Easily facilitate employer-funded course bookings
- Using an effortless approval and payment process when requested by employees.
- Offer pricing flexibility
- By listing courses with bespoke pricing, and specifying whether certain courses are chargeable or employer-funded.
- Gain enhanced transparency about the service you deliver as their provider
- Thanks to built-in reporting about courses, enrolments and budgets.