Customer Spotlight: Taking Matillion Academy From 0 to 10K
April 20, 2023
Learning Tips Straight to Your Inbox
Creating a customer education academy is an effective way to empower users to get the most out of your products and services. It’s also a great way to show prospects you care about their success.
But launching an academy is a huge undertaking, and ensuring you’re creating the best resources to help your customers is challenging. In this customer spotlight, Erick Ferreira, Senior Academy Manager, shares his experience creating Matillion Academy and offers pro tips and best practices for developing content and keeping users engaged in your program.
Tell us a little bit about you and your role at Matillion
My name is Erick, and I am the senior manager of Matillion’s academy. I have been with the company for five years and have a background as a data practitioner with experience in real live implementations using Matillion ETL.
Given my existing product and field knowledge, I started out leading training for customers and partners myself. Eventually, there was a need for more scalable education, so my role evolved to managing those efforts, which led to the creation and launch of Matillion Academy.
Matillion Academy recently hit its 10k-user mark, which is a huge milestone in two years, so first of all, huge congratulations. Let’s get into the journey from the very beginning. What was your original vision for customer education at Matillion? What guiding principles did you follow to bring this vision to life?
The first priority for building out Matillion Academy was to scale customer learning. In the beginning, I was leading live training sessions for up to eight people per week. It was great to be face-to-face and have a personal touch, but only being able to train a few people at a time was a huge blocker.
Related to that, it also wasn’t sustainable to keep repeating the same training live over and over. With an academy, the resources are there 24/7 for your customers to access, so creating high-quality content to deliver really great learning experiences for our customers through our academy was the second big goal.
Finally, we wanted a place for customers to continue getting hands-on experience with our product. When I was leading live training, people had the opportunity to work on the product alongside me to get real-life experience with the platform. When I built out the academy, I wanted to replicate that experience because getting hands-on really helps with retention when you are learning.
So, in summary, scalable and sustainable learning, high-quality learning experiences, and hands-on practical experience were things I was really focused on when starting to think about customer education.
What was the process like when you first started to build it out? Where did you start with content? What was a priority for you to get out first? What did that process look like?
So we now have two team members who support us with producing video content, but at the very beginning, it was just me working on content. To get content out the door quickly, I was using Iorad and leveraging their partnership with WorkRamp to embed tutorials into our courses, which was huge.
I also looked at feedback from my previous live trainings and basically recreated online, asynchronous versions of the most popular sessions. This allowed me to launch the academy as soon as possible with trainings that had already been well-received and that helped me gain traction quickly.
As soon as people joined the academy, they would leave feedback, and we could analyze the data and think about what steps to take next. Basically, go live with something, gather proof that it works, and then make the necessary adjustments.
I love that you started with trainings that you knew people liked. That’s a great way to get people in the door, and then you can figure out from there how to keep them engaged.
Absolutely. And previously, those live trainings were paid, so if people were willing to pay for this material before, there was no doubt we’d have interest now that we’re offering it for free through our academy.
How have you approached rolling out additional content since then?
We send a survey at the end of every session to gather feedback, so we leverage those results to fill any identified gaps in existing core training.
Also, as our product evolves, we create trainings on new or enhanced features to make sure customers know how to use those properly.
We also look very closely at our product usage data and compare that with how many people are going through training. Areas of the product with low usage might need more training, or if people are going through the training and adoption is still low, we might need to make content adjustments or roll out additional content on that topic. So analyzing the data helps inform us what people need and want to learn.
Definitely. On the topic of content, what are some best practices you’ve used to make your training engaging and impactful for everyone who comes through your academy?
That’s a great question. I really try to vary the content and resources we put out and basically have our academy serve as a centralized place where all our resources are connected to help you gain the knowledge you need to be successful.
Throughout our courses, there are a lot of hands-on practical exercises because we want learners to be confident with the technical side of the product. Additionally, if you need more specific details on something or you want to learn more, we link out to help documentation or other resources like blog posts or marketing material throughout the training that can supplement learning.
I love the variety of channels that you use. You have your video tutorials, hands-on exercises, longer form documentation that you link out to…that’s always so helpful in keeping the learning interesting while also being really comprehensive. How has implementing an LMS like Work Ramp helped you achieve your customer education goals?
We’ve utilized WorkRamp’s certification paths within the Customer Learning Cloud to roll out our training courses, where learners can earn badges and diplomas at completion.
This allows us to funnel learners who have completed and passed our trainings to go through our formal certification program, which requires a proctored exam.
How many customers have you seen get certified after going through your academy?
Yeah, so as you know, we’ve recently reached 10,000 users in our academy, and out of the 10,000, we’ve certified 881 to date, which is great because we’ve only been administering the proctored exam for just over a year at this point.
Being able to send people to the academy to prepare for the exam has been huge.
What’s your typical engagement like in the academy? Do you have much drop-off or do your learners stay fairly engaged once they get started?
At the moment, that hasn’t been a big problem. We have about 7,000 people with at least one course completion, so ~70 percent of users which is pretty great.
We make sure to collaborate with our marketing team regularly and create campaigns to promote the academy as a whole, any new training courses we launch, and our official certification as well.
Promoting the certification is especially helpful in getting people into the academy because they’re motivated to earn that achievement.
What are some of the big lessons that you’ve learned throughout this whole process of building an academy from scratch? It’s a huge undertaking, especially when you’re starting out as a team of one. What advice would you have for fellow customer education leaders doing the same thing?
Yes, absolutely. I would say a couple of things. You need a great learning management platform like WorkRamp, and you need to create really high-quality content, which can be challenging.
You have to think about how to distill everything about your product into digestible lessons. Tutorials have to be clear and easy to understand. You have to think about the length of content–if it’s too long, you will see loss of engagement. So there’s a lot to take into consideration.
I would also say–know when to add to your team. After a certain point, I realized that we had great technical content to get the academy started, but it needed to look nice and be engaging as well. So when I knew the caliber of content I wanted, that’s when I had to graduate from just creating the content by myself. I looked into adding our first video creator to the team, who could translate my technical knowledge into something that looks clean and is also entertaining.
Now we have two video creators on the team, and while we still have a lot of room for improvement, our content is 20x better than what I was doing at the beginning on my own.
Love that. Speaking of improvements and next iterations, what is next for your academy? Are any new courses coming soon that your customers can get excited about?
We’re a data company, so we serve a lot of different personas–data analysts, data engineers, data scientists, etc. A big project that we’re working on is creating learning paths for each role and being able to deliver tailored, relevant content for each role.
Tailored learning experiences are such a huge differentiator for a business. Really looking forward to seeing that go live!
In the meantime, if you’re a data professional looking to fast-track the delivery of business-ready data and unlock new levels of productivity, head to Matillion Academy and get certified today!
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