There's nothing like a certification program to prove that your company has a robust ecosystem of partners, solution providers, and other experts— internal and external—ready to help customers deploy, integrate, and train on your technology. But not every organization is a Microsoft or a Cisco.
How do you know when your operation is ready to introduce a certification program? Here we explore the link between customer success and certification, dig into proven approaches for developing a well-structured program, and provide details on an alternative that nearly any company can adopt as a lower-cost, lower-effort option.
There are multiple reasons why companies add certification to their training operations. A primary one is to validate the skills that employees and individuals in your partner network possess, to show the outside world that they know what they're talking about.
Also, customers who choose to pursue certification in your technology become more self-reliant. They learn how to use the product more effectively, make fewer basic calls to tech support, and tend to be happier with the implementation—which means they tend to buy more. Frequently, you'll find certified individuals working in the corporate center of excellence or other units where best practices are developed and embedded into the rest of the organization.
Another big driver is brand loyalty. People who have achieved a credential by going through extensive training and passing multiple exams, for example, are less likely to switch to another company's product line on a whim. They have a deep investment in the current one and are proud of what they've accomplished. Their certification sets them above and apart from others working with your software. That translates into stickiness for your products and services. Then there's the link to the value of your training program itself. Earning a certification after training Demonstrates a tangible return on investment for that effort. Plus, studies have shown that employers are more likely to hold onto staff that has been certified. This is because people appreciate the investment the company has made in their personal and professional development.
Joe Cannata has many years of expertise in the development of training and certification programs for some of the world's largest tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Brocade. Most recently, he serves as the certification director for Kinaxis and as a board member for CEdMA, a leading professional association for training leaders