CEdMA Blog

. . . The Letter "I"

Posted by Sarah Sedgman on 4/16/2019
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SprIng is in the air. It’s finally April (although still VERY chilly wayyyy up north in Ottawa, Canada with a “feels like” -18C this morning, but the birds are singing, and the sun is out!).

April reminds me it’s one year since I delivered the “Be An Adoption Champion” keynote at the 2018 CEdMA spring training leadership conference. I showcased how important learning and adoption is in the customer success process. I suggested we are the original Customer Success organization! 

Learning teams continue to play such an important role in customer adoption and success, and have been in the business of customer success for years. Now more than ever we need to attach learning strategically across marketing, pre-sales, sales, services, and post activities in order to increase adoption, retention, and company revenues, while decreasing costs.

During my keynote, I encouraged CEdMA members to educate both within their companies and through their social connections how effective adoption is when powered by learning the solution. We even sang “We Are the Champions” (my inner Charley Beck came through from my past rockstar persona; if curious look up Charley Beck: Life’s Pleasures on Google Play or Spotify). Don't just focus on product features and functions; include the value and impact the solution has on the individual customer and how it can transform the customer’s business, driving innovation and differentiation.

I’m excited to see so much social action on this topic and I’m proud of my industry peers for elevating our role in adoption and customer success. Our very own CEdMA Vice President, Danielle Campbell was recently named Top 10 Twitter Influencers to Follow if You’re a CLO by CGS who featured her blog on Customer Success: Training: The Original Customer Success Organization. How amazing is that?!

LET’S KEEP GOING – we are making progress!

Plug for CEdMA conferences: If you haven’t attended one, you must because: 

  • The topics are immediately relevant; you learn directly from experts and those experiencing exactly what you are.
  • The connections are unbelievable (you will reach out to these people for years to come for advice, input, and ideas).
  • The lifelong friendships you make are unlike any other conference you will attend (not kidding).

Now…thinking to the future…four “I” words come to mind: Iterate – Innovate – Impact – Inspire

Organizations are changing in a Saas world. Education organizations are not just paired with Services organizations anymore, as learning is no longer a “point in time” or a “bum in seat” services type activity. It’s a continuous, subscription-based, expert-infused experience – well at least it’s starting to be. It’s becoming a part of the customer experience and we see learning and development partnering with customer success, support, products etc. This is exciting!

In my last company I became the Chief Customer Officer after being the Chief Knowledge Officer, and I had the opportunity to bring together Customer Experience, Knowledge Services, Customer Support, Product Management and Renewals. This collaboration allowed us to iterate and innovate a first of a kind take on the Customer Journey. We embedded learning right into the company’s operational process, from product market fit to pre-sales and all the way to renewals (connecting the product strategy with customer care, learning and adoption). This led to measurable adoption impact and an increase in product renewals within six months.

We also created a new Digital Knowledge Network, which was featured at the fall CEdMA conference, that provided an entirely new experience for all learners, including customers, partners, and employees. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology (curtesy of Coveo) and a one stop shop knowledge model, we created a unique digital platform for learning & adoption.

This inspires me to think about the future… At my new company, LearnExperts, we think about the future of learning and how to create a differentiated Education as a Service platform and experience. More to come on this… I’m having lots of fun imagining and creating. As Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and innovative technology continue to advance, I believe our learning world will disrupt quickly. We should anticipate how it will disrupt and be center stage, and then position ourselves as the customer adoption and success experts, driving the adoption and stickiness of technology in impactful ways. This is what our CEOs care about as they are measured on stickiness, hyper-focused on new ways to drive adoption faster.

I believe AI will automate learning and adoption, so imagine what that could look like, what our role will be as adoption organizations, and how we augment. Maybe there will be a new role to emerge as Chief Adoption Officer? <huge smile>

The facts tell us that digital learning is outpacing instructor-led. Humans adopt digital options now (we thought that would happen 10 years ago). Disruption of traditional learning has passed, now the disruption of digital learning as we know it is coming … I believe it will be much faster than the transition of instructor-led to self-directed. So, let’s start talking about this!

People want to learn and adopt quicker than ever, especially if it can help them do something faster with bigger impact.

So, in closing… As we ITERATE, I encourage you to think about:

  1. How will you INNOVATE in order to disrupt?
  2. How will you make a different IMPACT through adoption, success & learning?
  3. How can we INSPIRE each other through big changes to come in our industry?

Who knows, maybe a reader of this blog will create the disruption and lead the way.

We know adoption, we know customer success, we know learning. We are experts who can drive change in our industry and make a huge impact to come.


Sarah Sedgman is the CEO of LearnExperts, an Education as a Service provider with experts, a hosted infrastructure, and automation tools that provides high quality learning and adoption programs to any size business, driving effective adoption, fast growth, with lower cost. 


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