ZoomInfo’s Strategic Commitment to Customer Education Drives a 15% Increase in Customer Renewals

The Enterprise SaaS company has used the Thought Industries Customer Learning Cloud to focus on its ‘North Star’— proving the connection between educated customers, product usage and renewals.

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How do you measure the Impact of customer learning on your organization?

This is the question that Tom Studdert, Vice President of Customer Onboarding and Education at ZoomInfo has been working on answering since he joined the company back in 2015.

ZoomInfo supports revenue teams with their Go To Market (GTM) strategies, delivering detailed information about prospects and partners, and helping Sales, Recruitment and Operations companies to engage with them.

The business has experienced tremendous growth over the past six years:

  • From 2,000 customers to 30K
  • From 120 employees to 3,000
  • End-users over all accounts 300K
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Tom Studdert
VP of Customer Onboarding
and Education, ZoomInfo

Setting Strategic Goals for Customer Education

ZoomInfo started out on Litmos, an LMS that was built specifically for employee needs, and where customers were the afterthought. Each customer would be onboarded, have a single training session, and be marked as complete on an Excel form, before the trainers moved on to the next. “There was no philosophy,” said Tom “It was just about keeping up with the backlog and making sure people were being trained. I call that stage one.”

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We wanted to show a correlation between trained users and their usage of the product. I knew that if you can show that trained accounts are displaying deeper product adoption, you immediately have a story to tell to the board to get buy-in for expanding education.”

The growth of ZoomInfo’s Customer Education team has been a journey to maturity, one which has relied on proving business impact to the C-suite to get buy-in for each new idea and project.

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Creating Digital Foundations for Scale

In 2019, ZoomInfo onboarded the Thought Industries Customer Learning Cloud, a customer learning platform that was built from the ground up for customer education. Now they could analyze foundational customer success metrics. As well as deeper product adoption, Tom’s team were tasked with improving the number of trained accounts and completion rates. With the ability to personalize at scale, these goals were met in a fraction of the predicted time-frame.

“Almost everything that we do is as a result of us having the Thought Industries technology, which was not available in any other LMS that we have looked at — and I looked at 35! All 30,000 of our customers are signed up to Panorama, where we can provide them with their own bespoke training across all products. For enterprise customers, we can create co-branded courses inside Panorama, and we can log into our executive dashboard where I can view all the data in a snapshot, and see who has been trained and what they’ve done.”

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“I remember being asked to grow certified users from 50 per month to 75. It felt like a colossal goal, and we knocked it out of the park within 9 months. Now, we have 350 certifications per week!”

350

Certifications per week

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Optimizing the Tech Stack to Move Up The Maturity Model

ZoomInfo recognized that immature systems were making it messy and complicated to correlate data and get insights out of the information they were tracking. To go further than product usage, they would need to optimize their tech stack.

As well as integrating with Snowflake and Tableau, they benefited from Thought Industries’ tight integration to SalesForce, and embedded Thought Industries into their own products. Altogether, this provided greater insight into behavior and opened up new opportunities for growth.

By improving the data architecture, ZoomInfo found connections between learning and usage, upsell and retention.

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“We definitely found that accounts which had been trained had a greater propensity to buy, whether that was more seats, more credits, or more products” said Tom. “This worked on a curve. The more people that had been trained within an account, the more likely they were to buy additional products, or say yes to the next product in the evolution of the GTM strategy.”
For today’s Customer Education teams, especially those at the earlier stages of their growth, ZoomInfo’s story is truly aspirational. “I wouldn’t expect a new Customer Education team to go from no data to the kind of data we have now, but the important thing is to start measuring something.” Customer Education has become key to ZoomInfo’s growth strategy, not just the recognition that trained customers renew more often, and can be upsold to more easily, but also understanding the simple human psychology behind why education works. “If you’re trained on a product, and you know the best practices and you can see it working — whether that’s making your day job easier, or helping you get better in your career, you want more of it!” Read the full report >
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“Nothing happens overnight, so I’d tell other CEOs to be patient and accept you’re on a journey. 6 years on, Tom can now show me dashboards that detail the impact of education in granular detail. A 1% increase in university activity drives 66 additional users through upsell. A 1% increase in accounts who are actively engaging with education content drives the userbase by 52 new renewals. That’s not what it was like at the start! But the vision was there.”

HENRY SCHUCK

CEO, ZoomInfo

Find out how ZoomInfo’s Strategic Commitment to Customer Education Increased Customer Renewals by 15%