How to Secure Budget for Your Customer Education Program
November 30, 2022
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You’re excited to kick off your customer education program, but there’s one little thing standing in the way: budget approvals.
Your organization has limited resources, and you want to invest in initiatives that help you meet your goals. Fortunately, recent data shows that 75 percent of programs saw a budget increase from 2020 to 2022, suggesting that more executives recognize the value of customer education.
That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, though. You must demonstrate the program’s success and impact to get budget and buy-in.
Discover proven ways to get more funding, whether you’re planning a new customer education program or expanding an existing one.
What to consider for new programs
How will your customer education program help you achieve your business objectives?
Some examples include:
- Reducing support costs
- Improving customer retention
- Reducing time to value
Outline your program’s goals and how they align with your company’s goals.
How will you measure the success of your customer education program? These could be support tickets, customer satisfaction scores, or product usage.
Show the impact your program has on key business metrics with concrete numbers.
Why customer education is the best approach
You can accomplish your revenue goals in a variety of ways. Why is customer education the best solution? It might be the most cost-effective or the least risky option. Provide a comparison of different approaches and why customer education was the winner.
How much will the project cost
Make sure you have a detailed budget for your customer education program. Don’t forget to factor in one-time costs like content creation and ongoing costs like platform fees.
A clear, concise budget will help decision-makers understand the financial investment.
Are there any risks associated with your customer education program?
It’s essential to be upfront about this so you can show that you’ve thought things through and have a plan to mitigate potential risks.
What to consider for existing programs
Show the ROI of the current program
If you already have a customer education program, use data to show how it’s helped the business achieve its goals.
Include metrics like:
- Support cost savings
- Customer satisfaction scores
Tip: Compare results to previous periods when customer education wasn’t used. By doing this, decision-makers will understand how customer education has helped the business.
What have you learned from your program so far? What’s working well, and what could be improved? Use these insights to justify why you need more budget for your customer education program.
You might need more money to create targeted content or customer success resources. By showing how your program has evolved, you can demonstrate that you’re constantly aiming to improve the customer experience.
Show how more resources will equal more success
How will you spend the extra money? Describe how you’ll spend it and how it will help you achieve your customer education goals.
For example, you might use the extra budget to upgrade your learning management system (LMS) or create new learning paths. Be specific about how these investments will help improve the customer experience.
Show how customer education will impact ROI
As you create your budget request, include how customer education will impact ROI.
This may include:
How will your program help increase sales or reduce churn? Include specific numbers that demonstrate how customer education will impact the bottom line.
- If you’re proposing a customer onboarding program, you’ll show how reducing customer churn by 5% can increase annual revenue by $500,000
- If you’re proposing a product training program, you might include statistics that show how increasing product usage by 10% can increase annual revenue by $1,000,000
Tip: Decide if your program will be a cost center, profit center, or break even. Communicate how revenue will get re-invested into the program and how you plan to market it.
How will your program reduce customer support costs? Will it make customer success managers more productive? Maybe a shorter resolution time?
Use data to show how customer education can help reduce support costs or improve first-contact resolution rates.
Customers with more education will contact success managers less and free up their time to work on more accounts. Maybe a manager can take on 40 accounts now instead of 30 at a time, saving you money.
Impact key business metrics
You must make a good case for customer education to get budget approval. Explain how your program helps the company reach its goals and how a greater investment will help improve key metrics.
Here are some essential metrics customer education can impact:
- Customer retention
- Product adoption
- Customer engagement
- Time to first value
- Support ticket volume
- Customer satisfaction
- Brand advocacy
Tip: Ask leadership about company goals and how you can help. Use that insight to influence your proposal and improve the chances of securing budget.
Develop a plan
Your customer education program will require ongoing effort to be successful. You can’t just set it and forget it. Develop a plan that outlines the required resources to sustain your program over time. This might include things like staffing, technology, and content creation.
By showing that you have a plan to sustain your customer education program, you can demonstrate that you’re committed to long-term success.
Tip: Create a 30- 60- 90-day plan that lists high-level priorities and actionable goals. Know who needs buy-in and what input they can provide for your proposal.
Create a budget
A customer education program involves various expenses:
- Creating content (e.g., videos, tutorials, blog posts)
- Hosting events (e.g., webinars, in-person workshops)
- Purchasing LMS tools
Be sure to include all potential costs in your budget estimate. This will help decision-makers understand the full financial investment required for your project.
Partner with someone
Team up with someone who’s asked for a budget before. Your stakeholders will appreciate it if you speak their language.
Consider talking to your finance team if you don’t know where to start. Their advice can help you make a budget that decision-makers will like.
Determine your “nice-to-haves” versus “need-to-haves”
Every request for additional funding will likely include a mix of “nice-to-haves” and “need-to-haves.” It’s important to be clear about which items are which, as this will help decision-makers prioritize your requests.
For example, you may need an LMS to manage your customer education program, but it’s nice-to-have an expensive university professor to teach lessons.
By being upfront about which items are “nice-to-haves” and which are “need-to-haves,” you can help decision-makers understand the highest priorities.
Write your proposal
Create an executive summary
The executive summary is a high-level overview of your customer education program. It should include the program’s goals and tell stakeholders why they should read your proposal.
A good example of an executive summary:
Our customer education program will help reduce support costs by 30 percent while also increasing customer satisfaction scores by 25 percent. We’ve developed a detailed plan that outlines the resources we need to sustain the program over time. The total cost of the programs is $[x], which we believe will be more than offset by the financial benefits it generates.
Prepare to address any potential questions or concerns decision-makers might have about your customer education program.
For example, you might need to justify why customer education is a better solution than other options like self-service or live chat.
Communicate past achievements
Include any data or case studies that prove your customer education program works. This will help decision-makers understand customer education and how it’s helped the company.
- “Since implementing our customer education program, we’ve seen a [x%] reduction in support costs”
- “Our customer satisfaction scores have increased by [x] points since launching our customer education program”
- “[x]% of our customers say they’re more likely to recommend our product after completing our customer education program”
Get buy-in for your customer education program
Get more funding for your customer education program by making a strong case for why it’s worth it. Explain how your program aligns with your company’s objectives, and estimate the ROI based on potential costs.
Having a strong learning management system is critical for the long-term success of your customer education plan.
Learn how WorkRamp can help you build an effective customer education program. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.
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