6 Tips To Gain Executive Buy-In For Extended Enterprise Learning

How To Gain Executive Buy-In For Extended Enterprise Learning

Shifting the focus of your online corporate training programs beyond your internal employees can bring a lot of benefits to your organization. As a learning professional, you might very well understand these advantages; however, your executive team may not immediately see the value of investing in extended enterprise learning.

In order to launch an extended enterprise learning program, you’ll have to build a business case that communicates the value it will bring to your particular organization. A well-constructed and convincing business case will show that you understand leadership’s priorities and objectives. More importantly, it will connect the dots to demonstrate how extended enterprise learning will help them overcome the challenges they might face.

Follow these 6 steps for building a compelling business case for extended enterprise learning.

1. Understand Management’s Objectives

In a recent survey by Brandon Hall Group, participants revealed that the top three most common objectives of extended enterprise learning include training for new/existing products (69%), delivering new product or service information (68%), and compliance training (62%).

Ask to understand your executive team’s collective and individual goals so you can tailor your business case and gather data that will help you speak specifically to how extended enterprise learning can help meet these objectives.

2. List The Benefits As They Apply To Your Organization

There is a number of business benefits that extended enterprise learning can bring to your organization, including:

  • Opening new streams of revenue.
    Training channel partners will help improve their performance and increase sales, while training customers will help to prevent churn.
  • Decreased costs.
    According to the aforementioned study by Brandon Hall Group, 30% of those surveyed said that extended enterprise learning covers more than 50% of the costs of their learning technology.
  • Improved productivity.
    Deliver training materials (such as new product information) efficiently to provide more value to your learning audiences.

Get to know the tangible business benefits of extended enterprise learning and present these according to your executives’ priorities. When presenting these advantages, be sure to manage expectations about success – communicate that learning programs take time to show value.

3. Support Your Case With Real-Life Case Studies

Case studies are key resources for your extended enterprise business case as they will help to answer the potential question “This all sounds good in theory. How do you know it will work?”. They will fortify the benefits you present, as well as create a sense of urgency by leveraging the fear of potentially getting left behind by a competitor.

John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, includes several case study examples in Win Your Competitive Race with Extended Enterprise Learning, such as:

  • How 95% of VeeamSoftware’s trained partners agree that training helped them to boost their knowledge and ability to sell, improving results and productivity.
  • How International Parking Institute uses an extended enterprise LMS to train, certify, and report on learning for global parking professionals from member organizations in every industry.

4. Create A Financial Case

One of the most important parts of your business case will be outlining the resources that will be required to launch and maintain your program. Work backwards from your executives’ main objectives to define the anticipated costs and estimated ROI of your extended enterprise learning program.

Consider numbers such as the cost of managing a paper-based system, the cost of updating training documentation, the average time and cost of onboarding partners and customers, and the cost of customer churn. Speak to how your extended enterprise learning program (and specifically, your extended enterprise LMS) will account for these costs. (The ROI Checklist in Docebo’s LMS Project Toolkit will help you build your financial case.)

5. Discuss, Don’t Present

It’s a good idea to create a presentation that outlines the data, key points, and overall argument you’ve put together. When making this case to management, be sure to facilitate a two-way discussion as opposed to a one-way presentation.

For a productive discussion:

  • Be prepared and don’t make assumptions.
    Ask to determine the goals of your executive decision makers, but don’t assume what they need to reach these objectives. Instead, offer the value of extended enterprise learning.
  • Consider context and timing.
    Leveraging timing and context can help increase the effectiveness of your case. For instance, be mindful of your fiscal year, annual budget approval dates, recent technology purchases, etc.
  • Be an active listener.
    While the myth that people typically remember around 20% of what they hear has been debunked, the fact remains that active listening is key to effective communication. Gaining buy-in likely won’t be easy, but active listening might help you get your point across more clearly to your executive audience.

6. Be Ready If You Receive The Executive “Yes”

You’ve officially been given the green light from management – now what? Be prepared with an overview of your next steps, timelines, and the resources you’ll require to move forward. Your extended enterprise learning initiative might take some time to get on its feet, but the benefits will be more than worth the time it takes to get started.

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