You already know it. E-Learning works. And maybe your investors know it too. The problem comes with creating a sense of urgency in them so that they actually go through with the initial investment in a Learning Management System. To accomplish this, you need to establish value in e-learning. But it's more than just telling them how e-learning requires about 50% less employee time than traditional training methods or explaining that retention rates are about five times higher with e-learning compared to face-to-face training. It is about walking them through the decision process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get management approval for a Learning Management System:

1. Find Out Where They Are On The Decision Continuum

Maybe your investors don't know anything about e-learning and is under the impression that traditional training methods are effective. Or maybe your investors can clearly see the value of Learning Management Systems, but is still evaluating the different options. These are vastly different places in the decision-making process. If you feel them out to see what their thoughts are on employee training and the future of it in your workplace, you'll get an idea of the information you need to provide them with to help them take the next step of actually investing.

2. Earn Their Trust

This sounds silly. They hired you so obviously they trust you, at least to some extent. What this really means is letting them do all the talking. There are two benefits to this. The first benefit is that they will appreciate that you are hearing them out. This, in turn will, will allow them to trust that you are taking their concerns, thoughts and desires into consideration. The second benefit is that you will gather a lot of information. You will find out what they want in a training program, the problems that they see with the current training situation, and the concerns they have about changing the training strategy. With this information, you can then address all of these desires, issues and hold-ups. You won't miss what is actually keeping them from moving forward with an e-learning training program, and you will figure out what they value so that you can connect that to the value in a Learning Management System.

3. Establish Urgency

This next part is where you'll really need to strut your stuff. You will take a much more active role in the conversation with the main goal of focusing on the potential impact of their concerns. You should ask them whether they are happy with how much they are currently spending on training. Talk about whether employees are retaining the information that is being dispersed. Discuss how much material employees are actually learning. Look into whether the training has led to any substantial increase in revenue for the company. Speak about whether employees are more engaged in the training and with the company. Then it's time for the big whopper. Ask them whether they see a clear ROI from the traditional training methods they are using, and then whether they would like to see a major increase in the ROI of training. It's important to remember that with tangible products, like custom packaging, it can be easy to see ROI. With training, it's not always as visible.

4. Gain True Commitment To Change

At this stage, you start throwing out the facts and figures about e-learning and Learning Management Systems. Let them know you've been doing your research because you would like to see employee training become more effective, and create a profit for the company rather than a loss. Tell them that e-learning participants can learn five times more material in the same amount of time as traditional training. Explain that nearly half of the companies that have switched to e-learning have increased their revenue. Talk about how each dollar spent on e-learning creates $30 in productivity, and that employees are about 18% more engaged when companies opt for Learning Management Systems. Show them that the most successful companies, about 40% of the global Fortune 500, are already utilizing this technology to train employees. You can even use IBM as an example. They saved about $200 million when they switched to e-learning. And you can make a push from the green position by saying that e-learning courses consume 90% less energy and produces 85% less carbon dioxide per student than traditional training. Training is important to every industry. It doesn't matter if it's medicine, real estate or air conditioning and heating. Your investors know this--just remember that.

5. Show Them The E-Learning Option

So you've found out their concerns, addressed those concerns, and elaborated on the massive amount of value gained through e-learning. It's time to walk them through the next step. Discuss the logistics of how to move forward. Take time to show them some e-learning options. Don't just send them an email with a few websites listed. Schedule a meeting to sit down and actually walk them through a website and explain the possibilities. Just like with temporary corporate housing rentals or office layout design, e-learning is a visual experience.

Show them how flexible, modern and intuitive the training platform is; how it connects with learners of the 21st century. Explain how the content they want their employees to learn is delivered and managed effortlessly. Talk to them about how they can build custom learning paths that are relevant and more job-specific. Then you can even get down to the nuts and bolts benefits, like the ability to exceed regulatory requirements, connectivity to LinkedIn, the collection and measurement of the effectiveness of the training program, and all the customer support that is available to ensure success.