Buying Strategies

Questions to Ask When Evaluating LMS Vendors

February 15, 2021
Brett Ungashick

Many buyers feel that they aren't properly prepared when they meet with software salespeople. Having the right questions to ask can make a world of difference in revealing which LMS platform is right for you.

When evaluating a new Learning Management System (LMS), it can be helpful to prepare some questions before your meeting, so that you can be the one driving the evaluations, not the one sold to.

Typically an LMS evaluation will involve meeting with each vendor 2-3 times. Here are questions to consider for each of those meetings.

1st Meeting - The Intro Call

Organizational Match
  • What do your customers love most about working with you?
  • What is the most common reason that a customer fails to have success with your team?
  • Why do you feel your company is uniquely positioned to win our business?
  • How have you helped companies of our size & industry achieve an ROI?
Product Viability
  • From a product standpoint, what would you say are the key differentiators for your platform in the marketplace?
  • Can you tell us about the innovation cycles at your company?
  • How frequent are updates rolled out?
  • Do customers inform that roadmap?
  • What are some new features that are expected in 2022?
  • How do you prioritize building enhancements to existing technology vs. building new, innovative technology?
  • Has any part of your system been acquired or white labeled from a 3rd party?

2nd Meeting - The Product Demonstration 

Admin Experience

User Controls
  • Does your system offer role-based security?
  • Can there be different user types with different levels of access and visibility?
  • Aside from manual entry, in what ways can we ensure that the active users on the platform are consistent with our active employee population (SSO, SAML, HRIS integrations, etc.)?
Content Generation
  • Please show us the experience for creating a new training course from scratch, as well as creating a new training course from an existing PPT deck
  • If we wanted to buy pre-built content and upload it into the system, do you have preferred or integrated content partners? What are the costs of those courses?
Content Administration
  • Can your system proactively alert us about compliance trainings that are required for our employees (harassment, bribery, ethics, etc.)
  • Can your system support both in-person and online trainings?
  • Please show how your system will allow us to set up multiple employee groups, assign a specific course to one particular group, then automate the notifications to that employee until the course is completed
  • Also show how an admin will be alerted if a course is almost past due
  • Please show us how your reporting tools will deliver insights into our employee population
  • Please show us how your reporting tools will deliver insights into the quality of our content

Employee Experience

Learning Experience
  • Please show us how an employee is notified that they have a required course to take, the course experience and the ability to test comprehension after
  • Can your learning platform be branded to fit our company aesthetic?
  • Can employees get courses recommended to them, based on jobs they want or skills they want to develop?
  • Is your mobile app available in the App Store and Google Play store?
  • Please show us the user experience in the mobile app:
  • Can employees without a corporate email still use the mobile app?
  • Is your app available in multiple languages?

3rd Meeting - The Executive Overview

  • What does the process look like for getting integrated with our HR system of record?
  • I.e., Are there additional costs? Is the integration bi-directional or one way? Who maintains the integration - our team, yours or the HRIS company?
  • What are other common integrations that your customers are leveraging today?
  • Is multi-factor authentication standard in the platform?
  • Is your system SOC II, HITRUST and GDPR compliant? Please provide documentation
  • Does your platform support single sign-on, SAML or other authentication mechanisms?
  • How will you help our company stay compliant, especially as new laws go into effect around ACA and EEO?
Support & Deployment Services
  • Can you disclose your year over year customer retention rate?
  • What are the most common reasons that a client is unsuccessful on your platform?
  • What is your approach to customer success?
  • Is there a single point of contact?
  • How will you share knowledge and strategies so our power users can grow in the system and continue to be successful?
  • What is the ratio of support reps to clients?
  • What is your implementation methodology?
  • How is the system configured to match our processes?
  • Who will comprise our project management team?

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Brett Ungashick
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

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