Blog Post

The Keys to Successful Education Content Vendor Partnerships

Shannon Howard
June 4, 2024
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As customer education leaders look ahead, they’re increasingly thinking about the outsourcing of content creation.

A recent Forrester study of 300 customer education decision makers, commissioned by Intellum, found that 38% of respondents planned to hire a creative/marketing agency for content creation and an additional 35% planned to hire a dedicated customer education/training vendor for content creation. 

This may be due to budget and resource constraints internally—or because they want to focus internal talent on other aspects of customer education.

As part of the research, Forrester looked at the differences between high-success and low-success organizations. In this article, we’ll share how these organizations work with vendors—and considerations to drive your own program’s success.

Keys to Success with Vendor Partnerships

The Forrester study found that both high-success and low-success organizations used vendors to support their program. In addition, both types considered the role of a third-party vendor to be very important or crucial in helping the company realize its current benefits from customer education and training!

The key difference is how these firms chose and leveraged vendors. 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Make sure you have a formal strategy in place.

It’s worth reiterating: The most successful customer education programs start with strategy.

This makes sense. We’ve all heard the adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

But this strategy also applies to outsourcing. Low-success organizations outsourced ad hoc work—work that maybe needed to be done but wasn’t tied to a formal education initiative.

High-success organizations were more likely to outsource as part of a formalized program—leveraging vendors to complete critical work that served the team’s strategy.

2. Value expertise over cost and speed.

Especially if your budget remains unchanged, it’s easy to shop around based on practice. And while this very well might be a factor, it shouldn’t be the determining factor. 

The same goes for speed of delivery. Often, projects are outsourced because they can be accomplished faster than using in-house talent—or because that talent is already committed to other work. 

But while speed and cost might weigh into your decision-making, the data suggests indexing most on expertise and innovative thinking.

Customer education programs that leveraged vendors for a skill set they didn’t have in-house and/or for an outside perspective saw higher success than those that chose vendors based on price and delivery time.

Get Creative with Resourcing

As much as we hate to say it, the motto for many teams has been (and will continue to be) “do more with less.” This is where getting creative with resourcing—from outsourcing to leveraging AI tools for education—comes in.

For more ideas on how to increase the efficiency of your customer education team, check out this blog.

About the Author

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Shannon Howard
Director of Content & Customer Marketing
Shannon Howard is an experienced Customer Marketer who’s had the unique experience of building an LMS, implementing and managing learning management platforms, creating curriculum and education strategy, and marketing customer education. She loves to share Customer Education best practices from this blended perspective.