Training Industry Newsletter July 2013

Training Industry Newsletter, July 2013

The Course Sales Training Industry Newsletter (sign up here) provides advice and help to those selling, running, administering or managing training organisations. It is for:

  • Training managers
  • Training coordinators
  • Training company owners
  • Those marketing and selling training
  • Training administrators
  • Owner-operated trainers

Sales & marketing focus with Techie Talk: Software systems to help manage training organisations

Training businesses are complex. The cost of each sale is high because each sale requires interaction between multiple people; administrator, participant, venue organiser, trainer, buyer etc, and there are demands from each individual that often make the offering unique. The quality of administration and delivery is an important factor to ensure satisfaction and further sales.

Training is a service rather than a product. You are selling an experience, not just a thing. As a result many smaller training organisations (up to two full time trainers) run successfully thanks to the expertise of just one person who knows the uniqueness of each delivery. Reliance on one individual's expertise and knowledge is a business risk to the organisation.
 

Software is not required to run a training company, many training companies (even large ones) ran perfectly well before computers were around. However the capabilities of software; automated emails, sms messages, address confirmations etc, could release business experts from routine tasks like keying enrolment forms to undertake customer focused work such as pro-actively phoning enquiries that could increase sales while improving quality, meeting compliance and decreasing risk impacts.
 
Software however is not sufficient, you need to document your regular activities and capture expertise from those who know the business. Documenting the things you do (not just those you should do) is essential for any successful system integration. Grab a whiteboard, a few colour markers and map out the steps of interaction with each of the following roles; participant, trainer, venue organiser, customer accounts contact, person who books and course administrator. Take photographs of your whiteboard masterpiece, better yet put it in a flow diagram. Remember to add each email, sms message or system update. This will form the basis of your procedures manual.
 
Why would we implement a software & procedures system?
 
1. Improve sales, released from routine tasks, staff can focus on responding to enquiries or other customer service activities to encourage cross-selling or even up-selling.
2. Improve quality, consistent email templates and clear steps tailored to each course can be improved over time as any issues are addressed.
3. Reduce risk, the loss of any one staff member and the loss of valuable knowledge and expertise for day to day running will be minimised.
4. Compliance, audit trails demonstrate that policies and procedures are being followed, customer data and essential communication is recorded safely
 
Where are you now?
The following is a list of three training company management systems, see if you fit in (or between) one of these.
 

Level 1: Paper forms, whiteboards and emails.

This works fine for one trainer who manages their own course administration, or has a partner who they can rely upon and is prepared to take on the responsibility to know the business. Many one trainer organisations can survive quite well with this alone. pros: simple, paper audit-able system but takes huge effort once a year. cons: much double entry, paper records easily lost or misplaced, participants forgotten, follow up for payments are easily missed, large dependance on one individual.

Level 2: Spreadsheets and/or customer database and emails. 

This setup works for a one or two trainer organisation who hire an administrator to do the work. It is more automated, perhaps uses templates and allows work from a remote site. pros: database searchable, audit-able system. cons: requires technical expertise, double entry, follow up for payments takes time, requires manual intervention with compliance, spreadsheets easily duplicated or too large to work effectively.

Level 3: Integrated software system from booking to attendance

This involves having a multiple software system that takes bookings, distributes learning content, does reports and automates communication, integrates with other systems, eg. accounts and customer databases. While previously for organisations where there are 3+ trainers even one-trainer organisations see cost effective use in these systems. Workload necessitates a dedicated book keeper or accountant, and there is at least a full time, or are multiple part time, course administrators. pros: automation, customer enters data into system (minimal double entry), database searchable, reports, online (access anywhere), fully audit-able system. cons: setup costs, requires technical expertise, flexibility restricted to functions.
 
When should you move up a level?

Ideally you would integrate new systems when you can forecast growth but are not yet overwhelmed by additional workload, eg. when a customer is planning a purchase or a tender has been awarded to you. Do not underestimate the effort you will need to dedicate to get a new system up and running. Carefully plan the transition; don't forget about training, data migration and a proof of concept that demonstrates the system working with your data, before committing to it. If you are not yet ready something that takes time but involves no additional cost or change to business process is to capture the course administrator's expertise and knowledge. Documenting what you do and the knowledge of your expert course administrator is a step best taken immediately - don't wait for them to leave!
 

Will software solve our problems?
 
Problems may indicate a need to move from one level to the other. Before blaming the course administrator for mistakes take some time to see if processes are not clear, workload has increased too much for just one person or the complexity of your business has increased beyond one person's capability. Perhaps automation is the next step, software would help with this.
 
Should I use software for meeting compliance, eg. AVETMISS?

If you need to submit data for AVETMISS you will need to use a software system, be sure to get one that decreases your workload rather than increases it. There is a major deadline on 1/1/2014  regarding RTO AVETMISS reporting and obligations to clearly demonstrate how your training company meets their compliance obligations. The work to prepare for these audits and maintain accreditation are disproportionately high for smaller organisations. Having emails automatically sent when someone registers, sending invoices and joining information means you can focus on the compliance aspect of your operations, reducing the risk of non-compliance.
 

Taking online bookings

Trending topics

Topics currently trending in Australia over the past 90 days are:

  • first aid course/training
  • microsoft certification
  • itil certification
  • cisco certification
  • tafe training courses (note that regional searches are becoming more popular eg. 'training courses brisbane'

Interestingly there has been a large dip in 'training course' searches on Google, just prior to the financial year end search terms are well below that would be expected, consequently Google claims there is insufficient data to do trending analysis on some topics. Now is a good time to focus on areas of your business that will help sales in the future.

Background about trending topics

There are many issues with scanning the topics and search terms used by people when using Google or YouTube. 'Training' for example has many other uses such as training horses, training with weights and military training. So instead we try to narrow down the options by excluding specific terms, eg. -military -horses, or searching for specific phrases like 'training course' or completely different words like 'class'. We also have a list of specific words like 'microsoft training' and 'first aid classes' that can reveal insights into the current trends. If you have terms that describe your training organisation please let us know and we can watch out for trends.

Some news agents and content providers are known to use trending topics to target online articles, increasing visits to their pages but also meeting a need for information about a particular topic. When ricin was send to President Obama a spike in searches for 'ricin' would be expected, if you have a training course about the first aid response to poisons then it seems sensible for you to republish any pages to include the word 'ricin' (in context), for those who might want additional information. Of course, you must include that content in your training to fulfil the expectations of those who register.

Where we look for trending topics:

Events

July

  • Taking online bookings - a checklist ONLINE (10am AEST) - FREE,12 July, the benefits of online bookings are huge; save time, gather accurate data, give real-time responses to queries, take bookings and payments 24-7. You will be walked you through some options, and given a checklist to help you make the best choice.

  • Building Healthy Minds 13-15 July, Brisbane, The theme is Building Healthy Minds. We believe the stimulating and diverse program is sure to provide value and guidance to people working in psychology, counselling, social work, mental health, neuroscience, education and early childhood.

  • Visible Learning International Conference 18 & 19 July, Brisbane, Deepen your understanding about the impact educators have on student achievement and learning. The program offers a wide range of innovative and practical workshop sessions presented by classroom teachers, school executives, educational consultants and regional administrators who are implementing Visible Learning.

August

  • Pricing strategies that work for training courses ONLINE (10am AEST) - FREE, this presentation will focus on the top seven cost to improve your training course bottom line. It is well known that the best way to improve profitability in the short term is cost reductions, but these are long term, sustainable ways to maximise profit and remain competitive.

  • TVET 14-16 August, Melbourne, The Conference is themed “Global Learning – expanding the boundaries of e-learning in the global TVET community”.

September

  • Learning live 2013 11-12 September, London, England, this is a must for all UK corporate and commercial trainers, training managers, L&D managers and HR managers. With over 20 focus sessions and seminars, split across five streams, the event provides an unrivalled amount of content for delegates.

  • National VET conference 19-20 September, the theme for the two day conference is Evolve, Adapt, Embrace and will focus on three distinct streams including; Policy & Compliance, RTO Business Management and Teaching & Learning. Plus the addition of a sixth elective stream for Master Classes.

Conversations...

RTO best practise Network (open to all)

ASQA Issues (signup required)

Australian VET Leaders (signup required)

National RTO Network (signup required)

Blogs/articles/slides

Important alerts

Where do we get this information?

Gathered from the internet (mostly Linkedin but public facebook groups, blogs and twitter are also good sources of conversations)

Education and training tenders

To get help writing tenders, take a look at a past newsletter, it has valuable tips.

Tenders WA

GIOT0535613
Issued by Goldfields Institute of Technology
UNSPSC: Clerical training - (100%)
closing 17 Jul, 2013 2:30 PM
 
LWQ01613
Tender Provision for the delivery of a Diploma of Retail Management (invitees only)
Issued by Lotterywest (Lotteries Commission)
UNSPSC: Employee education - (100%)
closing 18 Jul, 2013 2:30 PM
 
ETT23012013
Issued by Department of Training and Workforce Development
UNSPSC: Vocational training - (100%)
closing 24 Jul, 2013 2:30 PM
 
ETT22412012B
Issued by Department of Education
UNSPSC: Teacher training services - (100%)
closing 31 Jul, 2013 2:30 PM
 
MHC141
Issued by Mental Health Commission
UNSPSC: Specialized educational services - (100%) closing
2 Aug, 2013 2:30 PM
 
DOT304513A
Issued by Department of Transport
UNSPSC: Re training or refreshing training services - (100%)
Briefing/Site visit is mandatory
closing 20 Aug, 2013 2:30 PM
 
DTWD23A2011
Issued by Department of Training and Workforce Development
UNSPSC: Education and Training Services - (100%)
closing 30 Aug, 2013 4:00 PM
 
DTWD00032010
Issued by Department of Training and Workforce Development
UNSPSC: Education and Training Services - (100%)
closing 30 Aug, 2013 4:00 PM

Tenders SA

CMG024348
Issued by City of Mount Gambier
Category: Education and Training Services
closing 19 Jul, 2013

Tenders QLD

DETE101407
Issued by Department Of Education, Training and Employment
closing 18 Jul, 2013
 
DETE101414
Issued by Department Of Education, Training and Employment
closing 26 Jul, 2013
 
CON5030
Issued by Queensland Rail Limited
closing 30 Jul, 2013

Tenders NSW

- none -

Tenders Australian Government

EOI 2013-06
Agency Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Close Date & Time 26-Jul-2013 3:00 pm (ACT Local time)
 
SHC-2013
Agency Department of Veterans' Affairs
Close Date & Time 2-Aug-2013 5:00 pm (ACT Local time)

Tenders Northern Territory

- none -

Tenders Tasmania

- none -

Tenders New Zealand Government

38674
Ministry of Education
 
39527
Department of Internal Affairs
 
39614
Statistics New Zealand

To get help writing tenders, take a look at a past newsletter, it has valuable tips.

Where do we get this information?

Other articles

In addition to our regular list of tenders, trending training topics, online conversations and events we have a collection of past articles that might interest you:

What is coursesales.com?

More than just AVETMISS reporting, as a course management system, course sales offers workflow management, online bookings, HTML to PDF automatic generation of certificates and 'etickets' integration with accounting systems and CRM packages. Multi-currency and multi-tax jurisdictions. Take a look at some of the features and online instructional videos here:

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