Vice President, Marketing at Skilljar
Skilljar’s award-winning product enables companies to deliver customer training experiences to accelerate product adoption and improve customer retention. We spoke to Ashish Dhamdhere, Vice President, Marketing, Skilljar, to understand the overall state of Online Training Platforms in the tech industry.
Tell us about your role at Skilljar and the team/technology you handle.
I lead the marketing team at Skilljar. My team is responsible for demand, content, product marketing, Sales Enablement, and events. Skilljar is the leading Customer Training platform for enterprises. Our award-winning product enables companies to deliver customer training experiences to accelerate product adoption and improve customer retention. The platform provides all the essential tools for Customer Training and Enablement teams to successfully onboard, engage, and retain customers.
What is the overall state of Online Training Platforms in the tech industry?
We are at an inflection point in the tech industry. Traditionally, training platforms in tech companies have been designed for employee education, with compliance being the key use case. The move to SaaS is making it imperative for tech companies to now educate external audiences such as customers and partners, and the needs and expectations of these audiences are very different from those of employees.
Customers expect their learning experience to be engaging and friction-free. They’re looking for interactive content that draws them in and meets their needs. With customer and partners, it’s also important to plug in education data with existing business systems for actionability and for tracking the impact on customer health scores, retention, and revenue. Traditional HR LMSs are just not built to meet these needs. What tech companies need are purpose-built Customer Education Platforms to help them onboard, engage, and retain customers.
As a marketing leader in a fairly nascent technology what are the biggest challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis?
We feel fortunate to work with an amazingly talented and motivated group of customer education professionals. Our biggest challenge is to help these professionals secure the incremental resources that they need to develop successful customer and partner education programs. The challenge is often the prevailing sense of ‘good enough’ and organizational resistance to changing the engagement model with customers. This is one of the joys and pains of creating a brand new software category.
How important is product training for businesses?
As SaaS becomes the dominant business and delivery model in the technology industry, product training has gained existential importance. Effective product training starts with robust on-boarding and then continues throughout the customer life cycle. With the right investments and when done well, education leads to better product engagement, higher NPS, improved retention, and incremental expansion revenue. Conversely, if you don’t get this right, the flywheel of churn works against you and can have catastrophic consequences.
Which geographical regions is Skilljar looking at as its ideal clientele?
We have a global customer base but our focus is on North America, Europe, and APAC.
What Sales and Marketing Technology tools does Skilljar currently use?
- Chorus provides us with intelligence on sales conversations.
- Clearbit helps us with data enrichment.
- Drift helps us engage with website visitors via chat and conversations.
- Google Docs is where we do most of our work.
- HubSpot is our Marketing Automation platform.
- Intercom helps us tell customers about updates within our product.
- Leandata helps us route leads effectively.
- Outreach is our Sales Engagement platform.
- Salesforce is our CRM.
- SurveyMonkey helps us collect insights and feedback.
- Zoom is our meeting platform.
- ZoomInfo is our company information database.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I live in Salesforce. This is where we track leads, meetings, opportunities, and performance by channel and campaign. Absolutely essential!
Trello is the dashboard for my life. I have a carefully constructed Trello board where I track things to do today, this week and this month.
I use Twitter primarily as a mechanism for following interesting people from whom I can learn something. Nuzzel is an aggregator that presents me with the articles that they’re sharing without my having to deal with the chaotic Twitter timeline.
For books and podcasts, I use Libby and Overcast. I’m a huge fan of the Seattle Public Library system, and Libby is a well-designed app that lets you borrow audiobooks and e-books. Overcast is a great podcast player. My favorite Overcast feature is the ability to speed up playback and compress silences and pauses.
I’m old school when it comes to taking notes. I usually attend most meetings with just my notebook and a good fountain pen. I’m partial to Leuchtturm1917 notebooks and Lamy fountain pens.
What is the best piece of professional advice that you have received?
This was from one of my early managers at Microsoft. His advice was to pick career opportunities based on three things: Learning, making an impact, and moving the needle for the company with this impact. It’s served me well in my journey so far!
Thanks for chatting with us, Ashish.
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