Convincing your executive team that your company needs a Learning Management System (LMS) is easier said than done. While the many benefits of an LMS may seem blatantly obvious to you, most decision-makers will need to be convinced that the return on investment of an LMS will justify adopting a new style of training. You will need to craft a compelling, well-organized pitch that will diffuse any potential objections and earn their confidence.
Below are five strategies to help you build a business case for a learning management system.
1) Present the key reasons why an LMS is needed for your organization.
“When making your business case for an LMS…You won’t get anywhere unless your LMS business case crafts a careful persuasion to relieve their biggest concerns.” - Brian Westfall, Senior Market Research Associate at Software Advice
The first step in persuading an executive team to adopt an LMS is to craft an enticing pitch. Make sure that you are clear, succinct, and specific as you outline the reasons why your organization needs an LMS. Here are some examples of some points to emphasize:
• “We spend $30,000 annually on paper training manuals and instruction, yet our employees are not retaining content.”
• “By adopting an LMS and switching to paperless training, we will reduce our carbon footprint, and improving customer perception.”
• “We are losing production time with current manual training methods. By adopting a training platform that can be used anytime, anyplace, we reduce lost revenue.”
• “Updating an LMS can occur easily in a matter of seconds while updating paper training manuals is time-consuming and costly.”
Be sure to highlight all of the research you are doing to become an expert in the requirements of an LMS.
2) Clearly explain how LMS implementation will unfold.
Resistance to LMS platforms is often related to a fear of the unknown. The prospect of abandoning your organization’s long-standing, classroom-style training in favor of an LMS can seem intimidating to finance, operations, and sales executives. Some executives may worry that the process of adopting an LMS will be lengthy and challenging. Others may worry that implementing an LMS will interfere with production or supply chain performance. In order to secure buy-in for an LMS, you will need to explain how quickly and easily an LMS can be implemented by emphasizing the following points:
• Because nearly all LMS platforms are cloud-based, implementation is a seamless process
• Highlight the areas that the LMS can be used for, such as, onboarding new employees, cross training, leadership training, compliance training, and sales training.
• With the help of a small team comprised of in-house employees, you can create a simple LMS implementation plan
• Implementation snags can be minimized with a product trials prior to official implementation
3) Outline the estimated ROI for an LMS.
“The Research Institute of America concluded that e-learning boosts retention rates by 25 to 60 percent, compared to retention rates of 8 to 10 percent with traditional training.” - Stacey Pezold, Chief Operating Officer, Paycom Software Inc.
In order to provide an estimated ROI for an LMS, you must first calculate the costs of your current training and development program. You will need to include the cost of materials such as paper, in addition to the cost of training space, instructor fees, travel expenses (if the training sessions are offsite) and printing costs. Estimate the revenue that is lost because employees are unable to perform their duties because they are participating in a traditional training session.
Once you have calculated the costs of your current training platform, you can subtract the estimated costs of implementing an LMS from that figure. Be sure to include upfront costs of the LMS and any ongoing costs that are associated with the LMS that you propose. Finally, remember to reference the added benefits of an LMS such as improved retention rates, higher gross profit margins, and fewer interruptions to productivity during peak times (with an LMS, learning can occur at any time from any location).
4) Be prepared to respond to objections.
As you pitch the benefits of an LMS to decision-makers at your organization, you need to be ready for resistance and objections to your proposal. These objections are likely to be related to cost and will often paint an LMS as an unnecessary “want” as opposed to a “need” for your company. Examples of some potential objections and appropriate responses are as follows:
Objection: “Our organization cannot afford to buy an LMS.”
Objection: “Our company is small, so we do not need an LMS.”
Response: “An LMS will positively impact employee learning at companies of every size. In fact, there are many affordable LMS options designed to address the unique needs of small businesses.”
Objection: “What if there are problems when we implement the LMS?”
Response: “We can eliminate most problems by scheduling a small trial launch before our official launch.”
5) Mention thriving competitors who use an LMS.
No manager or company owner likes to be overshadowed by the competition. As you bring your presentation to a close, cite your sharpest competitors who are now using an LMS. If possible, present a few details linking your competition’s recent increase in sales to their implementation of an LMS. You also may wish to cite examples of well-known companies in related industries who have thrived upon introducing an LMS.
What is the single best way to convince management to invest in an LMS?
As outlined above, there are many steps that you can take to secure buy-in from management for an LMS. However, we have found that the most effective strategy is to simply ask some of your favorite vendors to provide some statistics on how they have helped other companies. It is also very effective to invite your decision-makers to a meeting with a few of your top vendor picks to ask questions they may have.
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