Learning Online specialises in short online courses that deliver the practical skills their students need to succeed. The organisation offers over 60 online courses across various industries, taught via multiple learning formats to suit every student. Learning Online’s flexible approach allows students to study at the pace and method best suited to their situation and learning styles. Their innovative approach to online study is delivered faster and is less expensive than traditional higher education, and it offers the practical skills necessary to ensure students are job ready upon completion of their studies. Learning Online is a unique educational offering for students who want to grow their practical skills to increase their impact in their current role, start a new career, or begin to develop a side hustle or passion project. Learning Online creates a world of opportunities for students by helping them prepare for tomorrow, today.
Learning Online goals
When Learning Online engaged Fluent Group, they were in the early stages of their business and ready to make the switch from Fresh Desk to Salesforce. From the outset, they understood the importance of early implementation of the right processes and technical solutions to help them grow and scale their business to become a national brand within 12 months.
These solutions were needed to increase their sales team’s efficiency and position their marketing efforts to reach the right audience at the right time in the sales journey. In addition, Learning Online wanted to build its brand presence and streamline the student journey to provide a seamless learning experience for its students.
In collaboration with Learning Online, Fluent Group developed the following project goals:
- Define and detail sales processes that align with Learning Online’s unique sales methodology to enable growth and scale.
- Introduce thoughtful technology to automate a sales process that optimises headcount and increases resource efficiency.
- Implement a CRM platform that reflects the sales process and supports the end-to-end student journey, from conversion to course completion.
- Create a lead nurturing solution that integrates technology to maximise sales efforts, increase conversion rates and provide data visibility for continuous process improvement.
- Build brand exposure with the target market to create qualified leads and increase brand recognition of the new business.
- Realise efficiency with the sales team through technology to align course/enquiry-specific leads with specialised sales team members to increase overall conversion and improve the student experience.
- Improve visibility and transparency of the overall process with real-time data accessibility and reporting.
Fluent Group solutions
Fluent Group created a comprehensive plan focused on building for the future with off-the-shelf solutions tailored to a high-volume, efficient sales process using an education data model. There was a strong emphasis on lead nurturing and sales and marketing automation in the first phase to support rapid growth with technology and minimise the requirement for significantly increasing headcount. This approach created greater efficiency for the sales team. It also meant that every salesperson hired could handle an increased pipeline due to the efficiency achieved by the selected technology.
“The Fluent Group team understood the intricacies of the Education space we operate in and were able to ensure the resulting solution design accommodated the aspects of our business that either differentiated us in market or ensured a superior applicant/student experience. They broke down our existing processes and optimised every possible facet with the implementation of Salesforce. As a result, we were able to expand sustainably, which delivered an astonishing return on investment whilst not detracting from our goal of a superior educational experience for students in any way.”— Thomas Bulmer, CEO
Sales process defined
Fluent Group worked with Learning Online to develop and define a highly customised, optimal sales process built around the way they work. The process reflected Learning Online’s unique sales methodology and was thoughtfully created with future technology and automation in mind to meet the company’s goal of sales efficiency. Whilst this process was defined to form a starting point, it has continued to be measured and improved through the life of our engagement.
Building on the tailored sales process, Fluent Group collaborated with Learning Online to implement and leverage Salesforce Sales Cloud (with integrations via Cloudfuse) to automate the delivery of their customised sales process.
Sales Cloud was a critical tool to streamline student onboarding, the enrolment process and course delivery, including tutoring & support, material delivery, and the release of certificates for completed courses. An essential component of Learning Online’s courses is the kits that allow students to learn through practical application. Sales Cloud helped manage the complex dispatch process of these kits to students before their course commencement. The introduction of Sales Cloud also helped to build a complete picture of each student, their interests and interactions allowing the team to provide a better overall student experience. In addition, it sped up their workflow, ultimately allowing them to decrease the sales cycle and increase conversions.
The executive team also gained complete visibility and transparency over enrolments, completions, pauses, cancellations and requests, giving them unparalleled real-time business oversight without needing to be in the thick of day-to-day activities. They no longer need to wait for updated reports or status updates and can access the information directly when and wherever they like.
“Having a business that relies on a large sales team meant it was vital for us to have transparency over performance individually and by team. Salesforce provides that visibility and lets us manage more effectively.”— Thomas Bulmer, CEO
Lead nurturing and marketing automation
With sales processes defined and Sales Cloud implemented, the focus shifted to lead nurturing and marketing automation. Pardot Advanced (Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) with Einstein Activity Capture was implemented to help provide a complete view of all interactions with leads to date – enquiries, ad clicks, emails, etc. Along with an artificial intelligence (AI) component that applies machine learning lead scoring, behaviour scoring, prioritisation, and campaign insights.
Utilising Pardot for lead nurturing and marketing allowed the team to stay in one system and improved efficiency by minimising task switching. It also increased the sales team’s responsiveness by accessing real-time data to improve response times. In addition, syncing leads between Pardot and Sales Cloud meant that all enquiries were automatically routed to the right person – the sales team, course advisor, tutor or help desk.
Pardot has allowed the team to be more agile, quickly establish new nurture journeys for promotions or course changes within as little as a day and track prospect engagement with campaigns to measure success.
Synchronisation and data transformation
The last piece of the puzzle was getting the newly implemented tools to talk and work with their existing software and processes. Cloudfuse was used to connect Salesforce with their Learning Management System (LMS) to establish enrolments and signal when a student completes their course. It then leverages the existing data within Sales Cloud to generate a completion certificate and initiate the course completion journey in Pardot. This typically manual and time-consuming process freed up headcount to focus on more important tasks that contribute to a more seamless student experience. Cloudfuse also simplified manually assigned student support requests by pushing them to Service Cloud and initiating a support case to be picked up by one of the specialist teams to ensure prompt query resolution.
To ensure the new systems were flush with leads and working at capacity, Fluent Group’s creative team provided Learning Online with comprehensive digital marketing services to support their marketing automation efforts. These services included website development and maintenance, SEO and digital advertising, leveraging audiences populated by Marketing Cloud Advertising Studio to enhance their online presence and targeting strategy. The digital marketing strategy adopted sales process-aligned audiences, lookalike audiences and audience suppression to maximise ad spend and achieve sustainable cost-per-lead values.
Bringing the data from this process into Sales Cloud also meant the team had better data to target the right customers and complete transparency over ad spend, lead conversions and time to first contact (amongst other measures).
In addition to the initial solutions implemented, Fluent Group continues to provide Learning Online with ongoing support through our managed service offering. This service ensures that Fluent Group continuously improves, integrates and optimises Learning Online’s technology and sales and marketing efforts as the company grows and as the cloud-native Salesforce platform continues to release new capability. For example, Fluent Group worked with Learning Online to re-map their communications/SMS processes which resulted in the implementation of 2 new capabilities to deliver a best-of-breed voice/SMS capability.
ADD-ON: Vonage – VoIP Telephony
ADD-ON: SMS Magic – SMS
“They’re true partners in every sense of the word, and they don’t stop until they see your business functioning at its peak. Their goal is for you to succeed!”— Thomas Bulmer, CEO
The above solutions positioned Learning Online for sustainable growth and scalability. The defined sales processes and complementary technology reflected the company’s unique sales methodology and met their desire to maximise sales efficiency without drastically increasing headcount. The implementation of Sales Cloud and Pardot created a seamless end-to-end journey that guides students from conversion to enrolment, onboarding, kit dispatch and course completion certification distribution. In addition, the digital marketing efforts enhanced brand exposure and supported the sales process through a targeted advertising strategy. Overall, the holistic approach to sales and marketing ensures integrated and efficient solutions that maximise technology and enable future growth and scale for the relatively new business.
Results and benefits
- Initial rollout of Salesforce completed within eight weeks.
- Grew their customer base to over 15,000 students
- Offer over 60 online courses to students across two brands
- Built and rolled out complementary niche sister brand Australian Beauty School
- Facilitated expansion into New Zealand and is now a recognisable brand in Asia Pacific
- Over 15k students, four countries and two brands all seamlessly managed in Salesforce Sales Cloud.
- Currently expanding both brands into the UK, Canada and the US
- Grew their online traffic for the Australian Beauty School from 634 to over 12k visitors per month in ~18 months
- Improved reporting and transparency of performance based on sales team, brand and location, giving the teams more time to sell and less time doing admin
- Enabled seamless expansion in the global market by managing contracts in different countries, teams and timezones.