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What Is a Training Management System? (+How Your Business Can Benefit From Having One)

John Mitchell
John Mitchell  |  July 22, 2019

Training people is a hugely lucrative endeavor.

People want to learn and are in most cases willing to pay someone to teach them. Whether it’s teaching accountants new tax regulations, or teaching drone enthusiasts how to battle high winds, businesses are growing by offering courses.

Your business might be a training business. You might be offering courses, either face-to-face or online material to a group of people. If that’s the case, it’s important you know what a training management system (TMS) so you assess whether you need one. 

Training businesses around the world are using TMSes to promote, sell and deliver their courses to their audience.

Why do training management systems exist?

Training businesses often use software that are not fit for purpose. These other systems may have been designed for another industry, say event management, or might consist of a conglomerate of separate and disparate systems. Overall, this causes a ton of manual work and many wasted opportunities to grow.

Most TMSes exist to solve at least one of the following problems within the training industry.

1. There is too much manual administration

A lot of tasks within a training business are carried out in spreadsheets. Administrators often are cleaning duplicate data, managing changes to registrations, or sending out communication. These administrative tasks take up a lot of time that could be used to engage in activities that grow your business.

They’re also an unnecessary expense to your business. Staffing costs are high for training businesses and the more your staff engage in these sorts of activities, the less margin you’re left with at the end of a course. TMSes can automate this work to allow your staff to focus on the things that matter.

2. There are too many generic or duplicate systems

Training providers have noted that they spend a lot of effort maintaining, learning, and manually shuffling data between software systems. Instead of adopting purpose-built systems for training providers, many other systems have put themselves forward as their savior.

It might be a mix of CRMs, event management tools, and website plugins, all of which are good systems. But often don’t handle courses and registrations well, and likely do not integrate with each other. For example, does your email marketing software allow you to send out automatically emails based on course attendance or accreditation levels? 

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3. Companies are struggling to grow online

Training companies generally lack the business intelligence and reporting needed to improve their business. Many are missing out on having key SEO and CRO features that help drive traffic to a website and increase website conversions. On top of this, even with adequate website traffic, training websites may not have the processes in place to scale their business; e.g. they may lack the payment facilities required to grow course registrations.

All of these problems mean that your business will be inefficient, growth will be stunted and you will offer a poor user experience.

How do training management systems help?

Imagine being able to control your entire training operation from one place, like the cockpit of a plane.

This is what a TMS does, it is a unified solution for training businesses. Rather than spending time massaging data across multiple platforms, a TMS gives you all the tools you need under one roof. Training management systems eliminate the need for manually inputting the same data across multiple platforms time and time again; a training management software allows you to schedule courses and presenters, track payments and business growth, and provide relevant marketing.

Not only do TMSes reduce manual administration and improve your data flows, but they also have features designed to grow registrations. Polished marketing tools, friendly registration forms, and features that help your website’s SEO and CRO will enable you to crush your sales targets.

One of the best things about TMSes is that size doesn't matter. The best TMSes are scalable and operate on a pay per use basis. This means you can have access to world class software that the big players are using to get ahead at a fraction of the cost. It also means that when your business does begin to take off, your TMS will scale with it.

No growing pains, just smooth sailing.

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What’s included in a training management system?

To help you understand what to look for in a TMS here are some cornerstone features that most will provide.

Back-office administration features:

  • Organize course logistics and resources: schedule courses, presenters, and rooms
  • Automate manual tasks: send registration confirmations, reminder emails, and surveys
  • Manage finances: capture orders, accept payments online, and issue invoices
  • CRM and record management: store each customer’s upcoming and past training, financials, and sales interactions
  • Reports and business intelligence: run reports to provide information to make data-driven business decisions

Front-of-house features:

  • Website: build a website from scratch or integrate a TMS into an existing site
  • Online registration: accept online registrations and make your shopping cart a stress-free experience
  • Customer portal: provide a self-service portal for registrants and a company portal for team managers

Whether you have a TMS, or you are using a cobbled together system described above, it’s not too late to change. A scalable, intuitive and transformative system could be just days away. Do away with the manual administration and messy data, implement a TMS that will help you to streamline processes, grow sales and transform your training business.

Looking for more insights? Check out these training and development tips for speeding up ramp-time and discover how intelligent assistants are being used to enhance employee training.

John Mitchell
Author

John Mitchell

John Mitchell is the CEO and Founder of Arlo Training Management Software. Arlo is an award winning training management system that helps training businesses reduce administration and grow sales in over 70 countries. Arlo manages your training business from end-to-end so you can sleep easy. It’s a software of choice for commercial training providers.