Every SaaS has stockpiled a treasure trove of proprietary information, everything from detailed technical specs of the software to in-depth industry knowledge and data.
So, what can a company do to get more value out of this “secret sauce”? More and more SaaS enterprises are sharing their proprietary information and data with customers through online education and academies.
Here are five reasons why your organization should do the same.
It builds brand loyalty
SiriusDecision’s research found that 67 percent of buyers interact with a brand digitally. Allowing those prospective clients to take several free sample courses, download white papers, or otherwise engage with your content marketing efforts provides an overview of your company.
More importantly, it shows how your services can help customers become more efficient and profitable in their business. By providing free courses, your organization demonstrates its interest in assisting prospective clients rather than merely booking a sale.
It shows off your expertise
Once you’ve whetted their appetite with some freebies, customers may crave more knowledge. You can share it with them by offering a subscription to an online course package for a fee.
If your elearning contains enough relevance to their business operations, customers won’t mind paying for it — and you’ll have gained an added revenue stream. It can also be offered as a value-add and rolled into the cost of the overall service.
Be sure to engage customers as they progress through the courses, especially if they have questions or appear stuck on certain lessons.
It establishes your credibility
Many SaaS companies have launched online, self-service academies where customers learn about industry best practices.
Instead of merely providing customer success training, although that is a fundamental part of these academies, they go above and beyond to teach customers how to succeed in their specific industry, say, inbound marketing.
Hubspot, for example, has taken a commanding lead of the marketing automation industry, in part by awarding certificates for learners who complete their training program. HubSpot reports they certify north of 2,000 marketers annually and they project certifying 5x that amount in 2016.
In fact, many of the biggest names in cloud services or SaaS have built their customer base -- and their revenue -- by offering highly valuable insight and information through online "customer success academies" of some kind, including:
It builds community among users
Online academies and other elearning initiatives facilitate interaction among users. Through a digital community based on your product, users swap insights and the expertise they’ve accumulated by using the software.
In a sense, they are building their own “proprietary” knowledge and there’s no reason they should keep it to themselves. Designate your most knowledgeable customers as experts and empower them to share their expertise with the rest of your customers. If your organization receives any revenues from their proprietary expertise, give them a portion of that revenue.
Customers today want more than just technical knowledge of a software taught through a few online courses.
They demand more collaboration with their SaaS providers and brands in general, and your proprietary information is one of the few points of differentiation that you may have. In today’s ultra-competitive SaaS world, where users can unsubscribe with a mere keystroke, your organization can no longer afford to hoard its proprietary knowledge.
As a SaaS enterprise, your organization has attained a vast amount of industry know-how. Use that information to set your organization apart from competitors and craft a fee-worthy learning program. Distribute that proprietary information with customers with the aim of showing them the ways your product and service raises them to new heights.