The Key People You’ll Need To Build A Killer Customer Training Program

September 21, 2015

Building a customer success training team

At its core, customer success management for a SaaS company aspires to make a customer’s company more profitable by using the SaaS more effectively. In the past, SaaS companies dispatched trainers to customer locations for on-site instruction. Fortunately, today’s digital learning platforms have replaced traditional in-person training sessions that meant expensive travel and scheduling restrictions.

But building an online customer training program necessitates teamwork from a variety of experts, not only in the subject matter but in technology as well. Before you create the content, here are five key responsibilities you should think about assigning to people in your organization or hiring for specifically.

Related reading: How Advance Auto Parts Converted from In-Person to Online Training

Subject Matter Expert

The subject matter expert possesses the comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the product and how the system works. The SME then translates that information into a logical training curriculum your customers can easily digest. The SME also reviews the program for accuracy and suggests updates when needed.

You’ll most often have to turn to product managers or engineers for subject matter expertise in a SaaS company, and you’ll need to budget time for them to assist on the training project.

Instructional Designer

Working closely with the SME, the instructional designer structures the courses so a new learner can quickly learn the software’s features and how to incorporate the solution into his or her workflow.

Typically, the instructional designer interviews the SME and conducts additional research. In the development stage, the instructional designer brainstorms the content through storyboarding and then writes the actual script if audio and/or video will be used. Even though the course goes online, you need to document the course development process in writing first.

Related reading: As Education Grows Beyond the Classroom, How Will the Role of Instructional Designers Evolve?


The technologist of the group, the designer converts the concepts of the courses, creates the graphics and develops the course navigations and tracking, as well as any interactive elements such as quizzes or games.

The designer usually knows what software to use to create the graphics and has back-end coding knowledge as well, though you may require a web developer’s assistance in some cases. Collaborating with the instructional designer, the designer ensures the courses accomplish the goal of providing proper instruction to end users.

Related reading: A Practical Guide to Logo Design for Online Schools

Beta Testers

Before rolling out online customer training, enlist a group to test drive and troubleshoot the program. These beta testers can be individuals on your staff, outside experts or your most engaged customers. Ask them to give honest feedback on the training so you can correct any deficiencies or technical bugs before the program is officially launched.

Project Leader

Building a customer training program for the long haul means someone will need to be in charge, of course. Even in the short term, some kind of project leader will need to drive the work.

As customer success programs grow and become more mature, companies are starting to appoint a high-level executive or training manager to supervise their entire training program. In the early stages, a customer success manager may oversee training.

The training manager corrals all the various personnel involved in creating the instructional program to guarantee the program meets the needs of the customers and achieves the internal goals set for the program. That individual is also responsible for tracking the effectiveness of the training program and reporting those results to the C-suite.

For the customer training program to succeed, everyone on the team has to take ownership and ensure training is not an ancillary, ad-hoc offering, but an integral part of the entire customer success journey.



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