Monday, October 22, 2012

Community Colleges Seeking Increased Business Outreach: A Revolution Is Coming!

We understand the increased competition that will take place between non-profit and private for-profit educational institutions in the business sector and your communities. Knowing the Community College System and know how they operate; makes it very easy for me to declare your institution as one of the best places for someone to advance their skills and education.  They demonstrate consistent values, practice hands-on and online learning, and do indeed believe that Community Colleges are the key in developing the talents of business employees and students.  I know this because many of us we're in the trenches alongside of Community Colleges to observe that commitment.  I believe this is a key point of differentiation in the war of who will be developing top talent in businesses and communities throughout this nation.

“If we are going to solve the skills shortage, it’s going to take community colleges and CEOs talking to each other to identify job trends and skills that are needed now and in the future,” said Walter Bumphus, President of American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) who also attended the meeting at Harper. “Communication is critical to do a better job of aligning education and training programs with the jobs that are out there.”

“We’re going to see employment-based learning as a new model going forward,” said Harper President Kenneth Ender. “It’s a powerful tool for getting people on the path to good, middle-skills jobs, but it’s going to require a closer partnership between community colleges and local companies.”

Some Community College workforce (Corporate Training, Continuing Education, Technical) organizations are struggling — revenue is not improving and business problem solving has stalled.  It’s not because the Community College training products and value are not adequate.  No, on the contrary, many of the college basic skill and certificate programs are of the highest quality in the states and communities they serve.  Thus, it is not the program quality that Community Colleges provide, it’s the business outreach, creating awareness of the wonderful products and services the Community Colleges have the ability to offer.   

Private for-profit educational providers are excited that an educational sales revolution is coming!  They invest significant dollars in go-to-marketing strategies with up to 3 to 5 year ROI models.  However, their program quality is no better than the Community College and in many cases, not cost effective for the end user.  Perhaps it is time to sit up and pay attention.  Here are 5 Community College innovative ideas that can increase their business outreach:

1.       Talent.  Is your Community College finally accepting the fact that talent plays a significant role in the success of reaching out to businesses?  Additionally, organizations that use a statistically reliable assessment like the Talent Interview outperform all other organizations.  Why? Because it focuses on acquiring the best sales and marketing talent only.
2.       Lead Generation.  Even the best companies and organizations struggle with finding new business prospects.  Community Colleges will need to develop new, quality business leads that need education and training.
3.       Inbound Marketing.  Lead generation on steroids is the best way to describe the benefits of Inbound Marketing.  This process directs prospects to their particular Community College.  This is much more efficient and less costly than the old fashion way of businesses and individuals finding out about their local Community College through traditional advertising (Radio, TV or Print). What is your inbound strategy for your businesses and community to find you?  For more information on this revolutionary concept, check out The Inbound Marketing Forum.
4.       Appointment Setting.  Allowing Community Colleges to do what they do best (need assessments) makes all the sense in the world.  Spending 35-40% of time prospecting and appointment setting is a waste of valuable business consulting time (and a waste of a valuable resource).  Check out The Appointment Lab to tap into a resource that sets appointments for Community Colleges.
5.       How Selling.  Finally there is a business contracting process that allows Community Colleges to teach customers HOW to use their products instead of the tired approach of pitching WHY to use their products.  Our best partners have figured out how to change the conversation from WHY to HOW!  See HOW SELLING Steps for more information on this revolutionary new contracting process!
Don’t let the sales (business outreach) revolution come as a surprise — your products, services and overall value to your business and community are too important…   

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