Crucial Learning Is Reaching New Heights Using Thought Industries


Crucial Learning grew revenue 220% after implementing the Thought Industries platform

Crucial Learning (formerly 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.

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


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


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

The Challenge

Crucial Learning 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 Crucial Learning involvement which led to delays and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Native eCommerce system which resulted in Crucial Learning 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 Solution

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. Crucial Learning’s 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 Crucial Learning 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.
Growth Goal
Decrease in Client Setup Time
Transaction Error Rate
Backdrop for quote

“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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