So You Want to Buy an LMS?

LMS  By: Mike Babcock

buying an lms smallOne of my job responsibilities is to take incoming sales calls. During these calls it’s important to gather information from prospects about their learning environment and training challenges. This first conversation is important because it allows Gyrus Systems to understand the prospect’s needs and determine if the GyrusAim Learning Management System (LMS) solution we offer is a good fit for their organization.

During these calls I typically ask a number of questions such as “Do you have a training program in place.” and “How many active users do you expect in the first year?”  This initial conversation lasts about thirty minutes and hopefully reveals many insights about their LMS requirements.  I mentioned “hopefully” because sometimes the person is not prepared to discuss these details, which makes it difficult or impossible to confirm whether GyrusAim is a suitable solution.  

With that in mind, and to better prepare those that are looking for an LMS, here’s a short list of questions you can expect from providers.  Preparing for the call focuses the discussion resulting in less wasted time and ultimately a more productive sales experience.

1. Why are you looking for an LMS?  (Some typical responses below.)
      “Our company is growing and we can’t manage our training anymore.”
      “Our current LMS is not adequate.”
      “Our current LMS is not affordable.”
2. What is your experience with an LMS?
3. What challenges do you need to solve with the new LMS?
4. Do you have a training program in place?
5. What are important features of the new LMS?
6. What types of learning do you provide? (Instructor-led, eLearning, Mobile, third-party)
7. Do you wish to host the software or use a Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) solution?
8. Do you need to integrate with other enterprise systems?
9. Do you need to migrate historical data from another source into the new LMS?
10. How many users will be using the LMS?
11. What is your budget?
12. When do you need to be live?

Other questions may come up as you find the best solution for your organization. Questions such as quality of the vendor’s customer support, reference accounts, software release data, and merger & acquisition history may also provide insight.  The sales cycle may take weeks or months, but it lays the groundwork for the implementation and long-term success of the LMS, thus the time spent in this stage to plan and prepare is critical.  It will pay dividends later with better trained employees leading to fewer compliance issues and greater employee satisfaction with the LMS, results which are very desirable indeed.

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