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Converting Your Training to Jobs-to-be-Done-Focused Training

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on November 30, 2017

Most software companies are so enamored by their product's features that they use it everywhere. It's in their marketing, thought leadership pieces, and especially in their training material. Sure, it's important that you train customers on the features so they know how to use their products, but they probably bought your product for a different reason entirely. So why are your training programs still features-based?

We've been digging in to the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) theory and framework lately and think it's a great perspective to use when creating training programs. But what if you already have a ton of features-focused training? Let's take a closer look at how you can convert it to JTBD-focused training.

A quick JTBD recap

The Jobs-To-Be Done theory explains that you should think more about why your customers buy your products, not the products themselves. About the "job" they "hire" your product to do for them. E.g. "Hiring" a milkshake to solve the "hunger" job for them or "hiring" a content management platform to solve their content publishing "job" for them.

When you apply JTBD to customer education, it becomes more about the customer experience than your product. So your training must help them get their work done more easily and not simply explain the features it has. In fact, if your training is only features-focused, your customers will be distracted throughout because they'll be thinking about "Why are we doing this?" and your training will potentially be a complete failure.

How to convert feature-focused training into JTBD-focused training

The overarching umbrella to converting feature-focused training into JTBD-focused training is to ensure your training address four particular levels of understanding. We go into further detail about that in this post, but basically your training should address:

ServiceRocket Four Levels of Learning Software


Step 1: Look at your training demographics

First up, it's time to look at your customers and who they are. Who are they, what job titles do they have, when do they take your courses, what kind of companies do they work for, etc?

By looking at them more closely, you'll get a better idea of who they are and what they do on a daily basis at the office. You're essentially discovering the "jobs" they may hire your products to do.

Action Item: Create several customer personas based on your data and the jobs they need to complete.

Step 2: Extract the concepts you're explaining

When your training is feature-focused, you're busy explaining how to do a particular task in your product. E.g. How to do a pull request via the Pull Request screen. But the related concept is how a pull request fits in to your customer's work and, by extension, their overall business.

Action Item: Take a look at your training material and see what concepts you're really explaining. Then, make a list of those concepts.

Step 3: Group the concepts to find commonalities

Now that you're thinking at a higher level, it's time to group the concepts to discover any commonalities. Could they apply to a particular customer job description? Are they part of a particular point in the customer journey?

Action Item: List the commonalities and then put it aside.

Step 4: Determine what you can use from your training material

By this point you've probably noticed that a lot of your current training materials will need to be revised or possibly even scrapped altogether. But there's also probably a good chunk of material you can still use with minimal changes. No sense in completely re-inventing your courses, but just know that you will have to do some new work to create JTBD-focused training.

Action Item: Categorize your current training into different groups: those to be revise, those that have content to be pulled out, new ones to create, and ones that can be scrapped without touching it.

Step 5: Start mapping, planning, and creating

By now you've got a good idea of what needs to happen with your training, but it's time to create a plan of attack.

  1. Take the list of jobs you created in Step 1 and create a list of courses to create.

  2. Map the concepts you extracted from your existing training materials to the new courses. You may have some blank spaces from the concepts you didn't cover in your existing materials. That is fine.

  3. Create a timeline for when each course will be completed and released to your customers.

  4. Test the new customer-focused with a group of trusted customers and incorporate any feedback they may have.

Continue creating the new training until you have gone through your entire list.

Step 6: Create a process for using this new JTBD-focus in future training development

Since this is not an ad hoc transformation project, at this point you should create a new training development process for future work that will keep you focused on the JTBD mindset for anything new you create.

It will help with any new training you create, but also inform and color your relationship with other internal teams to transform them as well. Pretty soon your entire organization will be JTBD-focused and your customer engagement goes through the roof. Maybe even initial sales, cross-sales and up-sales too.

By shifting your training team's mindset from being features-based to a Jobs-To-Be-Done mindset, you'll see a marked difference in the way they design and create training. Things will be more focused and valuable to customers, who will become bigger fans of your products and company. Why wouldn't you want to make the switch? Everyone will benefit.

Converting existing training programs from one perspective to another is a lot of work, however it can be worth it in the future. It helps you lay a foundation for future JTBD-focused training programs that will be more valuable to customers, as well as gives your entire training catalogue consistency. You want your training to be helpful and valuable and these steps will help you switch it to a JTBD-focus.

Have you been using JTBD as a framework for your training development? Share your experiences with it in the comments.

[Webinar] Software Adoption Crash Course for Customer Education Leaders

Maria Manning-Chapman, vice president of education services research at TSIA, will be our guest on our upcoming webinar. She will talk about why customer education is ideal for driving adoption and how to do it. Manning-Chapman will talk about the research she has been conducting, and how you can leverage your customer education progams to drive customer adoption. Sign up now. 

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Originally published Nov 30, 2017 1:19:05 AM, updated Nov 30, 2017