Seven Key Ingredients of Successful Contract Training
Your continuing education institution needs to recognize the difference between B2B and B2C sales and service delivery. Marketing and delivering contract training to local companies requires different strategies than degree and certificate programs for individual learners. Paying attention to these seven key factors will ensure your institution is catering to the right audience for contract learning.
It is critical to showcase your programs online. If you have classes that are open for enrollment, post them on your website. This helps maximize results when students, clients and partners search for classes on the internet. If you don’t offer your classes through open enrollment, try listing classes you can offer as contract training programs.
Maintain Strong Instructors and SMEs
Instructors and SMEs are crucial to the success of your programs. Think of this relationship as a partnership. You want people who are easy to work with and who are in it for the right reason. If some of your instructors are more worried about the compensation than the learning outcomes, you want to think about increasing your instructor bench. Typically, clients and businesses partner with colleges and universities that have strong brands and can guarantee program quality. Good instructors and SMEs will help secure the brand promise.
Manage Your Prospects
It is simple yet extremely powerful to manage your corporate contacts differently than traditional students. Whether you are using a CRM or not, you must communicate with potential students and clients differently. Clients are people who would like to customize a program for their employees or audience. Messages sent to potential clients need to be individualized to their specific industries, unlike a mass email to a group of students. Use the information you learn from the needs analysis to craft those emails and create testimonials about the success other companies have had with your programs.
Conduct a Needs Assessment
A good needs assessment at the beginning will save you time and funds in the long run. Spend your initial meeting time with the potential client wisely by prompting them to answer questions about what is not working, who suggested the need for training, what the participants will learn in training, what desired training outcome they want to see, and how the organization will measure training success. Work with the client to survey or interview more employees, learn the norms and culture of the workplace, and identify the challenges they are facing to design the best training solution.
Do not over-promise and under-deliver on training solutions. Training does not fix every problem your client is facing with their employees. Dissect your client’s issue and speak candidly about whether training is a potential solution. Be assertive and passionate about your training and its ability to increase KSAs and confidence when participants are committed and leadership is supportive. Also, be honest when negotiating cost. Be clear about how many labor hours it takes to perform each task.
Make It Easy
The process of providing services to a contract client is different than providing services to an individual learner. The key to success is to correctly identify the client’s practices and constraints and design straightforward processes to meet the client’s expectations. Considerations should be given to the client’s policies and procedures in contracting and accounting, selecting and orienting training participants, reporting training evaluations and outcomes, and issuing payments. Dedicate a single point of contact in your college to work with all stakeholders from the client’s side to show you are responsive and committed to clearing all roadblocks as you move different stakeholders through the various processes involved in corporate training.
Be Proactive and Get Involved
If you are not involved with local associations and workforce development boards, you are missing out on opportunities. If you are focused on soft skill development programs, being involved with local human resource management associations and talent development associations would be a good place to start. If your programs cover technical skills, try connecting with those employers and employment training agencies to see how you can help train that workforce. Most importantly, look at RFPs for city, county, state and federal government. Public agencies often post their training requests online to solicit bids to deliver training to their employees.