Implementing and Offering Employee Training and Enablement Is Easy
Part 7 in the blog series “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement”
Offering a new unique service may have you wondering what’s the right way to bring the service to market. We’ll look at several ways MSPs offer ETE to help find a way that best fits your business model.
As with any service, there’s always the question of “how should I charge for this service?” It’s especially true with Employee Training and Enablement (ETE). Why? Well, for starters, it’s a bit like having four services in one. And, don’t forget two of those four services add value to services you already offer—cybersecurity and managed Microsoft 365.
So, do you implement it a piece at a time? Offer all four as a package? Charge extra for them? Charge nothing at all? There are a lot of questions a multi-faceted service creates.
In this last blog in the 7-part series, “The Business Case for MSPs Offering Employee Training and Enablement,” we’ll discuss how best to implement and offer ETE in a way that aligns with your business.
Before we dive in, let’s first recap what the four training opportunities are that come as part of ETE:
- Security Awareness Training
- Microsoft 365 User Training
- Policy and Compliance Management
- Custom Training
Utilizing ETE – Should You Use Parts of It or All of It?
As with any cloud-based or software-based solution, the implementation should be designed to be easy for the MSP to get up and running quickly. So, let’s assume the actual creation of an instance in the cloud or installing software on a virtual server somewhere is a piece of cake.
One, Two, or All Four Training Services? It Starts with the Pricing Model
The first issue will be the pricing model the ETE vendor you select uses for their solution. If each of the four parts of ETE are offered to you as separate modules, each with its own monthly cost, that has an impact on whether you’re going to choose to use all of them in the first place. Just as the case would be if you were using four separate best of breed solutions, it’s far more likely that you’d only choose the one or two that currently align with your service offerings and never use the other ones until there was a customer demand.
But, what should you do if all four are offered as part of a single monthly cost?
Here’s where things get interesting. You can see quickly how security awareness training and Microsoft 365 user training would add value to your existing services, so those are a no-brainer. But what about the others? You could follow the same path as the MSP that goes the “best of breed” route (and stick with just the security and M365 training), but you’d be missing the opportunity to differentiate your business and truly add value to your customer.
In short, both of the other two training offerings can be largely offered in a self-service model, if desired, making it clear that when choosing ETE, all four training opportunities should be taken advantage of. And, if the ETE vendor charges a flat monthly fee based solely on the number of customers, rather than on the total number of users or which training modules you want to subscribe to, it becomes even easier to make the choice to offer all four to all of your customers.
OK—so you get where you’re going to place each of the training options within ETE. Now how to bring them to market? Are the service-aligned options going to be an additional tier of service? Do you simply include them?
There are a few considerations at this point.
What to Charge for Training?
Unlike the previous section, all four training options face the same simple question: “Do we charge for this or give it away?”
In the case of security awareness and the Microsoft 365 user training, each training option assists in enabling employees to achieve the goals of the overarching service (read: improved cybersecurity and more use of Microsoft 365), so most MSPs do one of two things:
- They offer it as a premium tier of their existing service at an additional cost
- They simply include it at no charge
Because these specific training options actually help drive customer reliance on your service, when it’s cost effective (as in the case of the single monthly cost), it’s a better choice to offer these services at no additional charge. Doing so in the name of adding value, differentiating your business, increasing profit margins, and making a happier customer—in other words, helping drive your business further.
Then there’s the “other two.” They’re entirely new services. Do you charge for that?
Our most successful MSPs do the following:
First, keep in mind that most MSPs (probably including you) don’t necessarily want to be in the “creating training” business. However, revenue is revenue, so there is a point at which you would assist. So, MSPs largely give away both of the other two options—Policy and Compliance Management, and Custom Training—offering them in a self-service model. This way, other than the initial implementation (which should be a negligible amount of time), there should be no further burden on your company (plus the ETE solution partner should have training content to teach how to use their solution…after all, they are in the business of training, right?).
On top of the “here you go” effort of offering the last two training options, there’s the possibility (should you choose to offer it) of providing project-based services around helping organize training, upload or curate content, etc. to handle the “technical” aspect of the training with the customer doing the work of managing the ensuring their employees take the training.
Aligning the Training to Existing Services
The next issue is how to bring these training services to market. Do you add them on as separate services, integrate them (as is appropriate) with existing services, or as one big “training” option?
Most MSPs offering ETE see the value in first aligning the security awareness training as part of their cybersecurity services offering and the Microsoft 365 user training as part of their Managed Microsoft 365 service.
Adding on Value with Additional Services
The other two training options become their own service offerings—mostly because they are uniquely positioned as such and because those customers that can take advantage of either custom training or policy and compliance management will see them as the solution for those specific needs.
The last part of this is the practical steps necessary to get this training embedded within your service definitions and, more importantly, into your existing customers.
Embedding ETE into Your Services
At a minimum, you’ll need to alter your service definitions to include training (as in the case of, say, your cybersecurity service). This may include creating that additional tier of service that includes training. You also will need to figure out the most cohesive way to offer custom training and policy management, since there’s probably no existing service they fit into. This could be simply wrapped into your basic RMM services, or you can make note of them as separate services at either an additional cost or at no cost (depending on how you decide to charge for them.
Embedding ETE into Your Existing Customers
Getting new customers to see the value in the training is going to be much easier than existing customers because they won’t know that training used to not be included. But, there will be some work getting your existing customers to adopt and use the training options within ETE—and it’s somewhat critical that you see this through. After all, ETE is new to you as well, so these initial implementations are going to be the test runs for when you take on the next customer that wants a service that utilizes ETE; you’ll learn what work is necessary to get things running, what customers want from ETE beyond your intended services, etc.
Our most successful MSPs do the following with their existing customers:
- Perform All the Implementation Work – Despite the fact that most of ETE can (and should) be hands-off for the MSP (allowing the customer to self-manage), putting it in place initially helps ensure it’s configured properly and is available for customer use.
- Communicate the Existence and Value of the Training – Even the leadership at your existing customers won’t fully understand the value of each of the types of training. That is, until you send out emails, hold brief training meetings, etc. to educate them on the availability of the new training and how it benefits them.
- Go the Extra Mile – Remember, the more the customer uses ETE, the more reliant they are on you as their service provider. So, spend some of your tech’s cycles helping get custom training uploaded and organized, ensure the needed policies are in place and sent out to employees to sign, etc. This way, you achieve that stickiness factor ETE affords while also making certain your team are experts on the platform.
Getting the Most Value from ETE
As with any new service, it’s a business—you “buy” from a software vendor, add value, and “sell” to your customer. So, a lot of this depends on what the costs are to acquire and deliver a service and the profit margin you hope to realize afterwards. But, because ETE allows you to generate a net cost savings through the lowering of support costs, and is cost-neutral at worst, it can be seen as something that enhances your company, its services, your reputation, etc.—all because of the value you bring your customers.
To get the most value from ETE (regardless of the pricing model or how you bring it to market), you should be thinking about offering every training option available—this is where you’ll see the benefit of differentiation, enabled employees, improved customer retention, and improved profitability—all just by adding on training.