Stuart Goldwater, Director, PragmatiQ Solutions

The ROATP register is a government-backed list of over three-thousand training providers who are eligible for apprenticeship levy funding. If you’re not on the list, you can’t access the funds, which has inevitably created a clamour for registrations.

This has resulted in a much more competitive industry, and when there’s more competition, the process of winning business doesn’t only become more challenging, it evolves, too.

Changing expectations  

Millennial workers are now flooding the workforce, and if you’re a training provider, it’s likely you have several employees from this generation within your sales team.

This contemporary workforce is compounding the challenges related to the increasingly competitive market due to the expectations they bring with them - particularly when it comes to technology.

Having grown up in the digital economy, they’ll want to access their CRM on their phone so they can work unrestricted remotely, but they’ll also crave tools that provide analytical insight into their prospects and their own personal performance.

Being forced to use old, clunky systems and processes that don’t aid learning or promote discovery won’t work for modern sales teams. And it’s a similar story with learners, who crave digital methods for communicating with training providers and consuming training content.

If apprenticeships providers want to attract the top talent and deliver the best trainees to clients, they’re going to have to buy into this technological world.

Going cold on cold calling

In the digital economy, training providers need to place technology at the heart of their sales operation. It’s no longer solely about cold calling and emailing - the customer journey has become far too complex and smart for that.

Salespeople also need tools to analyse their clients and answer key questions during account management. What’s the customer up to? Who are the key stakeholders? What conversations have already taken place?

Analytics also enable sales executives to monitor apprenticeship performance and help the business identify those who might be failing. With the new Standards slowly replacing frameworks and gateways a fundamental part of that, understanding how many learners are on track is key to ensuring successful End Point Assessments (EPAs).

How technology can assist

Whether you’re involved in consultative or solution sales as an apprenticeship provider, you may not be familiar with how technology can help you open more doors.

Automation and social media

The use of automation in business is growing rapidly, with 49% of businesses using it to drive their marketing effort.

With automation, you can free your sales team from dealing with repetitive tasks that are best left to software, but it can also be put to more creative use.

For instance, now that people are more inclined to engage with businesses on social media (be it Training Officers to learners or those in search of customer service), the ability to automate social listening to identify conversations about your business and jump in at just the right time will ensure you don’t miss opportunities to engage with new and existing clients.

Apprentices will spend a great deal of time on social media, too, making it the ideal hunting ground for training providers who are willing to invest in marketing tools that put them in charge of their online presence.

Video

People love engaging with video, whether it’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a business or method by which to communicate.

Rather than emailing a prospective client, why not send them a video message instead? Video is easily consumed, engaging and well-suited for this industry.

Why should everything be done in person? From training apprentices to promoting the services you offer, there are some fantastic new tools that will hep you harness the power of video.

Cloud CRM systems

It’s not uncommon for apprenticeship providers to still be using old, deeply-embedded CRM systems. They’re often part of the business culture, and sales teams can be resistant to change, as a result.

Despite this, if you’ve got leads, prospects and quotes to manage, and need to glean insight on the customer journey, a modern CRM will add significant value to your business. And, if you don’t think you’ll benefit, you’ve probably been using the wrong CRM.

With platforms like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365, there’s no need for costly on-site infrastructure, and sales teams can be mobilised, thanks to CRM access wherever they happen to be and no matter the device they have to hand.

Big data

Your business is probably already harvesting a lot of data, but there’s a chance it isn’t using that information to its advantage.

The more your sales team knows about its customers, the more it can tailor it’s approach to sell services effectively. If you have a tool helps make sense of the data you collect, it’ll enable your apprenticeship training business to support four common strategies:

  1. Increase acquisition;
  2. Reduce customer churn;
  3. Increase the revenue per customer; and
  4. Improve existing training services.

The changing world of sales shouldn’t be viewed as an inconvenience - it’s a fantastic opportunity to differentiate your business and ensure you attract the best possible talent for your clients.

Stuart Goldwater, Director, PragmatiQ Solutions

About Stuart Goldwater: He is co-founder of PragmatiQ Solutions. Offering end-to-end customer relationship management platforms for apprenticeship providers, PragmatiQ helps businesses reduce administrative overheads and drive continual improvements to their service. They can develop a solution to suit the needs of your business.

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