If you’re looking into training management systems to power up your training business, there are plenty of options on the market for you to consider. Choice is always good for buyers but the complexity and variety of training management software can make it challenging to decide which TMS is right for your business.
In this article, we discuss five things you need to know before buying a training management system. Some of these focus on the research and planning that will help you make smart software choices while others are handy warnings that will prevent you from making some of the most common mistakes when choosing a TMS.
What is training management software?
Training management software (TMS) makes the day-to-day running of your training business more efficient so you can increase revenue and drive growth. For a more comprehensive breakdown of the ins and outs of training management systems, take a look at our guide to training management software.
Some of the most important features to look for in a TMS include:
- Course management
- Delegate management
- Course booking system
- Training CRM
- Email automation
- Accounting & finance
Once again, we’ve got a more in-depth look at the most important features in a training management system if you want to find out more.
5 things to know before choosing a TMS
Training management systems are significant software packages that act as the HQ of your training business. This is a major software purchase we’re talking about and your team are going to be using this system all day, every day – so you want to make the right choice.
Here are five things to know before spending any money on a TMS:
#1: Not all training management systems are the same
All training management software providers claim their product is the best one on the market but the truth is, it depends on what you’re looking for from a TMS. Some systems offer more features while others focus on the quality of a smaller set of features but you also have to consider the usability of a software platform that’s going to feature so heavily in the day-to-day running of your business.
You also want to pay close attention to the quality of service and support from your software provider. Major software systems require integration, customisation and ongoing support to deal with any technical issues you might run into. And, of course, pricing is a major factor also – something we’ll discuss in more detail later on in this article.
#2: Know what your business needs
To choose the right training management software for your business, you have to start by knowing what you need. What this really means is identifying the problems your business faces and how a TMS might help you overcome these.
For example, are you simply looking to switch from spreadsheets to a more automated system for course and delegate management, knowing this alone will help your business generate more revenue each year? Or are you running into issues with resource allocation where it takes too long to check which venues and rooms are available on which dates?
Perhaps you’ve already got a course management system that works but you realise you’re not getting enough repeat custom and you need a better solution for nurturing customer relationships to secure follow-up bookings.
It could be all of the above and a dozen other things preventing your training business from achieving its growth potential but identifying these problems is key to choosing the right training management software.
#3: Prioritise the features you need most
Once you know which problems you’re trying to solve with a TMS, you can determine which features are most important to you. If you’re looking to streamline course management, then you want to look out for course templates, a course scheduler, an intuitive calendar, real-time resource availability and delegate management features – among other things.
Likewise, if your priority is shifting towards digital marketing and online bookings, you want an online course booking system that integrates seamlessly with your website, updates course and resource availability in real-time, integrates with payment services and you probably also want to look for accounts and financing features for sending invoices, following up on missed payments and automating email communications.
#4: Software pricing is complex
Pricing models for subscription-based software tends to be complex but training management systems can be particularly confusing. Aside from having multiple plans with different prices and feature sets, you generally have to pay for each user/licence, an implementation fee (these can cost thousands) and many providers charge you for every course registration, booking or invoice you send.
Most providers also require you to pay for 12 months’ worth of fees up-front, in addition to your implementation fee and any other costs, which means you could face a bill of several or tens of thousands before you even get to use your new training management system.
You may also face early termination fees for cancelling and have to grapple with auto-renew contracts or being automatically upgraded to a more expensive plan if you exceed a usage limit on your current plan – a nasty surprise when your next bill comes in.
We’ve heard so many horror stories from our customers and business owners we meet at events about TMS pricing that we decided to do something about this problem. Instead of following the industry trend of complex pricing and hidden fees, we’re taking the opposite approach with an ultra-simple and fully transparent pricing model.
We run two plans with flat-rate pricing and setup fees significantly lower than any of our rivals. We don’t ask you to pay for 12 months up-front or sign any contracts so the price you sign up for is the price you pay each month and you’re free to cancel at any time without worrying about early termination fees.
We also don’t charge you anything for course bookings, registrations or invoices so you’re never penalised for generating more business or revenue. Dante is designed to help training businesses grow by handling more customers and increasing revenue so we’re not interested in charging unnecessary fees that could get in the way of generating more business.
#5: TMS implementation takes time (and money)
Training management systems are heavyweight software solutions that take time to implement. The setup process depends on the features you’re buying into – for example, implementing an online booking system to your website and a training CRM into your TMS adds to the implementation workload.
Most TMS providers charge between several and tens of thousands for a complete implementation of a TMS, online booking system and CRM.
Dante is different. We run the same six-step implementation process for all of our customers with setup fees ranging between £1,100-£3,000. Our technicians work directly with our customers to run through the following six steps during the onboarding and implementation process:
- Phase 1: Needs assessment to confirm what your business needs from a TMS.
- Phase 2: Free trial to make sure Dante is the right TMS for your business.
- Phase 3: Training & setup so your team is ready to use your new TMS from day one.
- Phase 4: Data import to pull in all the data you need to streamline your business (companies, delegates, courses, etc.).
- Phase 5: Go-Live to launch your TMS and make sure everything is in working order.
- Phase 6: Ongoing support to help you get the best results from your TMS.
Our priority is to make sure Dante delivers enough value to your business that you stay signed up to our software. We’re more interested in long-term relationships than hefty up-front payments so we charge minimal fees for implementation and provide quality ongoing support, which keeps our customers happy and paying for our software.
Need help with choosing the right TMS for your business?
If you want to find out whether Dante is the right training management software for your business, you can speak to our team by calling 0117 405 8158 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also try out our TMS for yourself by requesting a free trial with no obligation or credit card details required.