6 LMS Buying Questions To Ask Before Connecting With Vendors

6 LMS Buying Questions To Ask Before Connecting With Vendors
Summary: If you’re in the market for buying a new Learning Management System, you need to ask yourself a number of important questions before connecting with vendors.

Preparing To Engage With LMS Vendors: LMS Buying Questions To Ask

When buying a new Learning Management System, asking yourself the following questions will help you know where you stand:

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1. What Problems Will The LMS Solve?

Your LMS will serve a specific purpose to help you attain an organizational goal. Therefore, prior to purchase, detail the objective you aim to accomplish. Be solution-focused and precise about your needs by asking yourself:

  • What is the business challenge my organization faces, and how will an LMS solve it?
  • Is the goal to onboard and train my workforce with content easily accessed anytime, any place? Does my workforce need training on a specific product?
  • Am I looking to attract new leads or retain customers by widely distributing new product knowledge and/or industry-wide expertise?
  • Do I want to ensure my channel partners are well versed in my policies and procedures through a training program?

Once you answer those questions, you can narrow down the capabilities to look for in an LMS.

2. Where In The User Lifecycle Will The LMS/Training Make The Most Impact?

Know your target audience and where they stand in the sales funnel or user lifecycle. Consider these questions:

  • Am I trying to build awareness of my product and services to boost the number of applicants? Do I want to use training as a vehicle to appeal to better quality leads and partners?
  • Is training a way to speed up the onboarding process? Will this shorten time-to-value for new employees, channel partners and customers?
  • Do I envision training as a retention tool whereby we continually train employees, customers and partners to boost customer lifetime value, reduce churn and improve satisfaction and NPS?

Your goal may be one of those or a combination of the three. Whatever the ultimate aim, the LMS must guide your audience at some point along their lifecycle.

3. What Success Metrics Do I Want To Measure Through The LMS?

After deciding who you want to train and for what purpose, pinpoint the metrics that will indicate you are reaching those targets.

  • More applicants or leads.
    Will you see an increase in the number of applicants or leads through the LMS?
  • Quicker onboarding.
    Will applicants move through the onboarding process quicker than prior to instituting the LMS?
  • Better retention.
    Will customers and partners utilize the training more frequently and, consequently, continue to stay with your platform and not churn?
  • Higher revenues.
    Will my channel partners, customers and employees book higher revenues after going through a training program?

True LMS success metrics calculate much more than how many learners have completed the LMS program or their scores. The most important LMS metric evaluates whether the program has impacted a defined business goal.

4. What Features Do I Really Need?

Every LMS offers a host of features. Some will be nice to have; others stand out as must haves. Choose your LMS on the must-have features for your organization’s specific purposes. Not sure what those might be? A few more questions to consider:

  • What are my absolute must-have features?
    These could be robust reporting and tracking resources, single sign-on (SSO), social learning, and mobile access, to name just a few.
  • Can the LMS incorporate many media formats?
    Today’s LMSs can handle a variety of learning media formats, from PDFs and slide decks to SCORM files and videos.
  • Do I want to sell my courses?
    Pick an LMS with an eCommerce function.
  • Does the LMS work with my other software programs?
    Organizations today utilize many SaaS products, such as marketing automation, onboarding, and CRM software. Make sure the LMS integrates with those products so data can pass appropriately between them.
  • Is the LMS compliant with industry standards?
    Many standards now exist to ensure the LMS can work with course creation software. Those standards include SCORM, Tin Can, or Experience API. Ask which one the LMS supports.

The features you ultimately pick must be rooted in how they solve specific business challenges. Focus on those points and build your feature checklist from there.

5. What Is The Skill Level Of My LMS Administrator?

Before choosing an LMS, assess the technical expertise of the internal staff overseeing the LMS. Factors to consider include:

  • How tech savvy are the LMS administrators?
  • If they’re not particularly savvy, is the LMS intuitive enough for them to easily upload content and run reports?
  • Does the LMS have a robust and easily accessible support center I can call on when needed?

Experts advise having at least one point-person within the organization dedicated and knowledgeable about the system. If the LMS vendors offer a demonstration or free trial period, by all means take advantage of it. Many LMS vendors tout their product as user friendly, but a test drive ensures your staff members possess the capability to oversee the LMS.

6. How Will I Measure ROI?

With LMS tracking and reporting tools, organizations gain a window into how the Learning and Development program dispensed through the LMS actually impacts the bottom line and, as a result, ROI. For example:

  • More efficient employees, customers, and partners.
    Highly trained employees, customers and partners simply do their jobs/assignments better and act as valuable brand ambassadors. Trained and competent partners also reduce turnover costs.
  • Better operations.
    Users access and complete the program quicker, leading to increased productivity at a faster pace.
  • Reduced support costs.
    When partners, employees, and customers are trained well, they are less likely to file support tickets, meaning fewer dollars spent on a customer support center.
  • Higher revenues.
    Training correlates to higher revenues as your users see higher earnings, which funnels to your bottom line.

The answers to the above questions will improve the discovery conversations you have with each vendor and also make the Learning Management System selection process smoother overall. If you want to know more about buying a Learning Management System, download your free copy of the eBook The Complete LMS Buying Guide For SMBs now.

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3. The LMS Buying Guide: How To Find The Perfect Learning Management System

4. 6 Ways To Conduct A Comprehensive LMS Evaluation