In our latest webinar, Quest CE staff sat down to discuss some of the top trends taking shape in the continuing education (CE) space and shared some best practices for getting the most out of your CE program. This article sums up some of the top takeaways from that webinar and offers tips on how to apply what you’ve learned back at your firm.

CE Trends from 2020/2021 – What Did we Learn?

When most firms and their employees transitioned “remote,” classroom CE events inevitably were put on the backburner. As a result, some of the more popular virtual delivery mediums began to surge. While many firms had already adopted some of these delivery mediums into their sales processes, others had to play a bit of catch-up as they familiarized themselves with a new set of standards.

The big takeaway being that, while Webinar CE was by no way a “new” concept, many firms pivoted to this digital format and had some pretty great success. Even when the time comes and Classroom CE becomes more readily available again, we anticipate Webinar CE remaining a valuable and reliable delivery method going forward.

What are the Top CE Delivery Methods Today?

Aside from Webinar CE, many clients are tapping into other virtual delivery methods, such as On-demand CE, Super CE (we’ll be covering this one more in depth later), and digital Voucher Codes. While webinars are a great way to give wholesalers a similar look and feel of an in-person event, we’re noticing that firms who utilize various CE delivery methods are having the most success. To take this strategy a step further, some of these firms have begun delivering different CE types for each touch point in the sales life cycle.

Quest CE staff went on to explain this CE strategy in more detail. For instance, on-demand CE, which is a method that allows you to offer designation CE credit for certain content hosted on your website (whitepapers, blogs, podcasts, etc.), is most beneficial at the top of the sales funnel. Whereas Classroom CE tends to work best for advisors who are already familiar with your firm. To learn more about how you can utilize the various CE delivery methods throughout the sales life cycle, check out this blog.

We also mentioned that CE Voucher Cards/Codes are getting the attention of advisors right now. Since vouchers don’t have any time constraints attached to them, they are truly the best way to give your advisors the gift of CE without having to go out of your way to do so. Vouchers can be sent as physical cards or digital codes, giving your wholesalers and their advisors a flexible value-add option.

A Deep Dive into Super CE

As a high-credit CE delivery method, Super CE has been growing in popularity over the past few years, with the virtual shift spiking its reputation even further. For those who are less familiar with Super CE, it’s a unique delivery method that allows advisors to attain multiple CE credits in one sitting. To do this, they simply need to register for an event scheduled by your firm, create an account where they can access and review the self-study materials, and then attend an in-person or virtual review session put on by your firm. After the review session, the advisors will complete a comprehensive exam which immediately notifies them of their pass/fail status. The credits are then reflected back on their transcripts within two business days.

The value advisors get from completing so many of their CE credits at once is almost incomparable to other CE methods, which is why we’re seeing a spike in these types of offerings. As for firms and their wholesalers, a common misconception regarding Super CE is that it’s difficult to implement, when in fact, the set-up and event-day processes are virtually the same. If Super CE is something you want to learn more about or if you would like to add this strategy to your CE program, we encourage you to reach out to our team here.

Preparing for a Return to Classroom CE? Here’s What to Expect:

We’ve established the CE trends that are most popular at the moment, but we’ve barely scratched the surface on the delivery method that firms are most eager to get back to – Classroom CE. If you’re preparing to get back to in-person meetings, what types of things should you expect?

For starters, we want to point out that firms shouldn’t expect to see the same success from classroom events as they may have back in 2019 or earlier; at least not at first. Restrictions revolving around in-person events are still looming in many states and counties. So, firms need to be flexible knowing that cancellations and low attendance rates may still be a reality for some time. To make for an easier transition, some firms are creating maps for their external wholesalers that indicates which areas in their state or region are good to travel to, versus areas that are still on-hold. For tips on how to make a safe return to classroom CE, check out this blog.

Tracking ROI and Budgeting for 2022

The webinar wrapped up with a discussion on the types of metrics firms should be looking at in order to prepare their budgets for 2022. There are plenty of metrics that can help firms determine the success of their program. These may include attendance rates per course or CE delivery method, instructor activity, and advisor engagement. Firms have also tracked appointments scheduled and revenue closed in the few months following a CE session. To get the most out of this data, many firms have utilized a data feed to pull some of that QuestTrak data back into their firm’s CRM.

Aside from looking at your data, we encourage you to do a full content sweep at the end of the year. This includes retiring courses that are no longer being utilized, renewing courses that are reeling in strong results, refiling courses that undergo major updates, and deactivating instructors that aren’t hosting CE events anymore or are no longer with the firm. Ridding your program of old courses and instructors is one of the best ways to free up budget for the next year!

If you would like to review the recording for this webinar, click here. If you have any questions regarding the topics discussed or would like to speak with an associate about your CE program, contact us here.