Case Study

How Gusto Created an Award-Winning, Revenue-Driving Academy in Record Time

Gusto's Award-Winning Academy

Gusto is a payroll, benefits, and HR provider serving hundreds of thousands of businesses and the thousands of accounting professionals who support them. In an industry heavily focused on numbers, Gusto takes a people-first approach to their products and services.

That’s why, in 2019, Gusto brought on Jaclyn Anku as its first-ever Partner Education Manager with an explicit charter: create Gusto’s inaugural certification.

The People Advisory Certification was a hit—with hundreds of partners getting certified and sharing on social media. The certification helped differentiate Gusto from other payroll providers that were more transactional in nature. 

Jaclyn’s team was also able to prove that getting partners certified helped influence annual recurring revenue (ARR) and annual contract value (ACV).

With the first certification a success, the team looked to expand its educational offerings to better support both customers and partner firms providing payroll services with Gusto. 

The Challenge

As the Gusto education team started pulling together a vision for Gusto Academy, they realized their current education platform (an LMS) wasn’t scalable and couldn't support their future goals.  

They needed a way to create learning journeys based on customer needs—while remaining aligned to internal goals and professional development pathways for accountants. They needed a modern landing page experience that could be tailored to each individual learning persona. Their courses needed to drive more people to take more courses—which meant they needed the ability to host multiple learning paths curated across topic areas. 

What Gusto really needed was a powerful, customizable LMS that could elevate and facilitate its learning journeys while ensuring a seamless experience for learners. 

The Solution

Equipped with a 10-page, highly detailed spec doc, Jaclyn and team set out to look for the perfect technology partner. 

While poring over best-in-class examples, the team noticed something: many of these programs were powered by Intellum.

It became clear Intellum was everything they were looking for:

  • A platform that could allow for the rapid growth and scale of Gusto Academy
  • A modern learner-first approach to UX to keep users engaged
  • Robust reporting functionality to help prove the value of education
  • Integrated social learning tools that highlight the knowledge retained within the accountant community 
  • Integrated content authoring tools to create engaging, interactive content
  • Single sign-on (SSO) integration for ease of access
  • A sync that could carry user data from Gusto Academy to Salesforce for cross-functional data visibility
  • A true partner in making Jaclyn’s vision for Gusto Academy come to life

The Results

The results speak for themselves.

Since its launch in September, Gusto Academy has contributed $200k in estimated incremental ARR through certifying 2,000 accountants across 1,000 firms. (An analysis from Gusto’s Data Science team estimated that Gusto Academy Certified firms bring in 40% more clients in the 90-day post-certification window than non-certified firms).

In addition, $800k in value was delivered to Gusto’s accountant community through issuing 800 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits across 3,000 course completions. (Quality CPE costs about $100/credit when sourced externally, meaning out-of-pocket spend for accountants). 

The flagship program housed in the Academy, Gusto Payroll Certification, has a strong NPS of 81. A post-certification survey showed that 90% of recipients found the program to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very relevant,’ and 72% claim it will have a ‘high’ impact on their professional growth. 

Most significantly, the People Advisory Certification has helped Gusto’s partners grow their payroll revenue from between 3x-15x, as documented in over five case studies. The certification has given Gusto’s partners the ability to transform their payroll service from a loss leader to a strategic inroad to higher value advisory work.

Go Behind the Scenes

Want the full story of the Making of Gusto Academy? Read Jaclyn's 6-part mixed-media series on how Gusto Academy came to be—from vision and content strategy to launch and measurement.

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