2019 Case Study VitalSmarts

VitalSmarts is Reaching New Heights

Robust eCommerce, scalable B2B license management, and user-friendly design are key to growth.

The Challenge

VitalSmarts’ previous platform was not suited to scale operationally and created friction with its customers.

The Outcome

VitalSmarts exceeded their goal of reaching 200% revenue growth in online on-demand training four months before their internal deadline

VitalSmarts grew revenue 220% after implementing the Thought Industries platform

VitalSmarts is a corporate training company that helps businesses improve their culture and results by changing employee behavior. Their award-winning training courses teach high-leverage skills demonstrated by top performers and include Crucial Conversations®, Crucial Accountability®, Influencer, Getting Things Done®, and The Power of Habit®. Their courses are available in a variety of modalities including classroom and online training.

The Challenge

VitalSmarts sought a solution that could scale and could help them overcome bottlenecks and inefficiencies created by their former system.

The former system lacked:

  • Client-based systems permission management to execute tasks in a self-service way without VitalSmarts involvement which led to delays and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Native eCommerce system which resulted in VitalSmarts having to rely on a custom code solution including some manual execution transaction processing steps.
  • Clear indicators of success through gamification or completion criteria.

These challenges ultimately impacted the client experience and led to friction that would be avoidable with the right system.

Key features in their pursuit for a better learning platform included:

  • Visible course progression
  • Completion criteria
  • Robust eCommerce system
  • Scalable B2B license management
  • Built-in SSO configuration for client-specific implementations
  • Real-time content change propagation
  • Client-based reporting and roster management

The Outcome

Those challenges ultimately led them to Thought Industries, who solved for their initial challenges and, in addition, added key features they didn’t realize they needed. VitalSmarts success was so immediately visible to clients during the testing of the new learning site that they ended up switching all clients to the new learning site earlier than planned.

The platform enabled VitalSmarts to:

  • Achieve a 200% growth goal in online on demand training revenue by the end of 2019. The company met and exceeded that goal – by August they had already experienced 220% growth.
  • Scale internal processes and decrease client setup time by 80%.
  • Reduce their transaction errors to less than 1% through the reliability and simplicity of the eCommerce feature in the Thought Industries platform.
  • Improve content management and change control by substantial qualitative measures.

Keys to VitalSmarts' Success with Thought Industries

Implementation Process

VitalSmarts trialed their learning site before launching, splitting their customers between their former and new site.

“We intended to trial the new site for a longer period of time, but customers were so in love with the new site that we switched everyone over sooner than planned.”

– Mike van Buren
Senior Director of Process Improvement & Systems

SCORM Connect

Going into their search and implementation of a new learning platform, SCORM Connect was not a critical business need for VitalSmarts. Once they began working with Thought Industries, they tested SCORM Connect and the impact was immense.

“[It’s] turned out to be a great win with promising growth potential for our set of customers that prefer to leverage their legacy systems delivering VitalSmarts online on demand training”

– Russ Rollins
Senior Director of Product Technology

Onboarding & Support

More than finding an outstanding platform to solve for their greatest challenges, VitalSmarts found a partner in Thought Industries. The support from their Customer Success Manager, the Product Team, and Executive Sponsor has led to their success.

“Support has been excellent. Our Customer Success Manager has been our champion at Thought Industries. Combined with the CEO and Director of Product, we’ve been working with real rock stars who understand our business needs.”

– Mike van Buren
Senior Director of Process Improvement & Systems


VitalSmarts required a platform that scaled B2B licensing without adding excessive administrative overhead or additional complexity to their commerce management.

“In addition to solving for [our primary] challenges we also gained substantial capabilities with ecommerce, client-based reporting, highly configurable notifications and flexible permissions management.”

– Russ Rollins
Senior Director of Product Technology

2019 Case Study VitalSmarts
In addition to solving for [our primary] challenges we also gained substantial capabilities with ecommerce, client-based reporting, highly configurable notifications and flexible permissions management.

Russ Rollins
Senior Director of Product Technology

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