Posted by Ann Fuerst, Ph.D., TCC Chief Learning Strategist

This is the first in a multi-part blog series on the business benefits of training an external audience.


This is the age of demand democracy. Employee and customers like to be in control. As opposed to traditional customer experience practices where product lifecycle used to govern customer engagement, today customers demand what they want, when they want, how they want. Highly successful organizations have evolved from a learner-centric organization to a customer-centric organization. This is based on the fundamental of delivering a personalized lifecycle experience to both internal and external customers.

Learning and development teams manage colossal depots of knowledge and experience within an organization. They work relentlessly creating meaningful interventions out of these tangible and tacit knowledge and experience bytes. Training interventions created and delivered to internal employees are proven to improve business performance. Highly successful organizations have realized the potential of training external audiences as a differentiator in a highly competitive landscape. In this whitepaper, we will explore disruptive ways of training an external audience.

There are many compelling reasons to consider opening your training library beyond the walls of your organization. Companies often consider selling training to supplement, and even subsidize products and services offered, or, as a staple in the company’s product offerings, such as third-party e-learning content providers. Companies such as IBM and Microsoft made a highly successful business of selling training. Therefore, it makes sense to create a business case for training external audiences around revenue generation, as well as cost savings. As we move towards a completely digitized world, the creation and sale of knowledge as a consumer product makes a more compelling business case than ever before. eLearning drives revenue through customer, channel and distributor channels, increases sales and market penetration, and accelerates the time to market.

Furthermore, training could be an excellent source of revenue when you charge the audience. You can offer various pricing models from course bundles to subscription based models—the strategies to commoditize your training are limitless. Later in this paper, we will delve into those details.

Another business benefit is customer retention. According to the marketing outfit Invesp, it takes 5x the effort to gain new customers than it does to retain the ones you have today. The longer a customer stays with you, the more you benefit from organic marketing. Your ability to meet the training requirements of your customers and keep them engaged leads to customer loyalty and accelerated time to value. Success in maintaining long-term customer relationships leads to customer base expansion and increased revenues from renewals and new enrollments.

You could also leverage your training as a marketing tool, to generate leads and further the business of selling training. Partnering with organizations who offer certifications or other training in your industry, or even empowering them to sell your training can ensure substantial revenue growth.

To download the entire paper, please visit our website


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