Why You Should Schedule an LMS Demo Brendan Noud, CEO at LearnUpon Published on April 9, 2019 If you’re searching for a learning management system (LMS), a demo is an essential step in the selection process. But not all LMS demos are created equally. While you’ll find most LMS vendors use the word ‘demo’, it doesn’t always mean the same thing. And most vendors never explain clearly why you should sign up for one. In this post, we'll cover all of this and more. Quality matters The quality of your LMS demo matters a lot. You're spending precious time. From the moment you express interest, a vendor should try to learn exactly what you need from an LMS. To give maximum value, a consultative approach should be taken. If you take time to attend, a vendor should make the experience work for you. Here’s a peek at what you can expect from a demo with an LMS like LearnUpon. Types of LMS demonstrations Different vendors use the words ‘learning management system demo’ to describe very different things. When you see the word demo on a provider’s website it could mean: A pre-recorded overview video A generic presentation delivered to tens or hundreds of people in rigid time slots A 20-minute blanket tour of an LMS. What a demo does and does not include determines how useful it is to your selection process. At worst, a demo will be nothing more than a thinly-veiled sales pitch. We think that at the very least, a demo should give you an opportunity to: Preview the features: While you’ll find a list of LMS features on most vendor websites, the demo should give you an opportunity to see how they work at both basic and advanced levels. Get a feel for the platform: How those features are structured and laid out will have a crucial impact on the user experience. A good demo should give your team a sense of how easy-to-use the platform is. Ask questions: The best demos allow you to speak with an expert in depth. You should use this opportunity to dig past the standard information on a provider’s website. Ask questions and decide if the LMS meets your specific requirements. What a demo should be A good vendor will go beyond that basic standard. They'll offer real value to you. For example, we provide one-to-one, personalized consultations about how our LMS could meet your requirements. Each part of this description is important, so let’s break it down a little. Personalized: Once you express interest, the work on your demo begins. We’ll immediately reach out to learn more about your organization and what you need from an LMS. We’ll get to know your requirements and use case. For example, if you want to do onboarding training for your customers, compliance training for your employees, or certifying your partners, we can see how they compare to how our customers already use the LMS. One-to-one: The demo will be a one-to-one meeting with your dedicated account manager. They are your sole point of contact throughout your journey to selecting a new LMS. While you can invite as many team members as you like, the demo will be exclusively for your organization. Consultation: The demo is a two-way discussion. That’s what distinguishes it from generic and pre-recorded offerings. We know that you can read our website to learn about our LMS. But the demo is an opportunity to ask more complicated questions. You‘ll get an immediate answer to your query and see first hand how the LMS handles your specific workflows. How to get the most out of an LMS demo To avoid disappointment, ask each vendor to specify what’s included in their demo before you schedule. If the demo mostly consists of a sales rep reading a PowerPoint presentation, with little time spent showing you the software in action, there’s a good reason to be skeptical of their offering! Preparation Everything worthwhile requires a little preparation! As a two-way conversation, there are steps you should take to make your LMS demos more effective. Define your evaluation criteria: Before scheduling a demo, you should know what you need an LMS to do. Check out if the LMS you’re considering fits your budget and if there are any deal breakers. By prioritizing your requirements, you can score and evaluate the LMS after the demo. Think about timing: The timing of an LMS demo is important. To benefit, you’ll need to do some research first. Schedule a demo too early, and you risk wasting time considering a platform that you should have ruled out. Make a shortlist: After your research on 5-10 LMS platforms, request a demo with the top 3/4 that appear to be your best match. That will include enough to thoroughly explore the market while still keeping the process manageable. Know what each demo entails: Demos vary hugely in length, from a three-minute overview video to an hour-long session with an expert. Make sure you’re comfortable with the length of the vendor’s demo before you commit. Track your demos: Maintain a spreadsheet that tracks important details, like the names of shortlisted vendors, if they offer a demo, the date the demo was requested, the date the demo is scheduled for, and a column for notes that you can use to assess your findings. Consult the right team members: Most vendors allow you to invite as many team members to the demo as necessary. If you’re migrating from a complex system, or the platform you’re evaluating requires a long implementation phase, bring a team member with technical knowledge of existing systems. It’s also important that the main LMS administrators buy into the new platform’s functionality and workflows to ensure adoption and a successful rollout of your new LMS, so get them on the call too. After the demo Nowadays, most LMS vendors will provide you a free trial. After your demo, use this trial to put the LMS through its paces. Test out your workflows, add some users, and even run a pilot course. Testing the LMS is the only way to really know if it will work for you. In fact, making the most of this trial is key to being confident in your eventual choice of LMS. Simplify Your Training Delivery Today Train your employees, partners, and customers with LearnUpon. The powerful learning management system that has the features and a knowledgeable team you need to achieve training success. Get your free trial and demo today!