As we say goodbye to 2020, we should use what we learned from this unprecedented year to start preparing for the next one. After what can only be described as a “pivot year” for a lot of companies, 2021 gives you chance to get your budget and annual plan back on track. So, as you sit down and start planning out your continuing education (CE) budget for the year, we encourage you to take the following into consideration:

1. How to Plan for the Short and Long-Term

Although we’re all happy to put 2020 behind us, we still need to tread lightly as we enter the new year. Many companies have already announced that their employees will continue to work remote in Q1, and possibly into Q2 to start off the new year. With that, it’s important to plan your CE program accordingly. While many of us are hoping to get back to offering live, in-person CE, webinar and digital formats should still be on the docket to start off the year. As advisors start to come back to the office on a more regular basis, you can slowing introduce in-person meetings back into your CE program.

 2. Why you Should Build a Budget Around What your Advisors Want (Webinar CE)

 Although it was a little-known CE offering at the beginning of the year, webinar CE quickly became a leading CE delivery option in 2020. And you know what? Wholesalers/product specialists and advisors really adapted to this CE delivery option. In fact, results from our recent 2021 financial advisor survey show that nearly 38% of respondents stated that webinar was their preferred method for receiving continuing education credits. This is a 21% increase from last year’s survey results. So, even though in-person meetings are due for a comeback in the later part of 2021, be sure to keep your advisor’s preferences in mind before you make any final decisions.

 3. How to Prop up Sales with Data Feeds

 Efficiency is the ultimate budget-saver, and when it comes to planning your budget, finding areas to “eliminate waste or redundancy” is always a plus. In the case of your CE program, this means integrating your CE data with your existing CRM. By building a feed between these two systems, you can easily track how advisors are responding to your continuing education offerings and discover which avenues are most profitable for your business. Data integration will give you tangible data that can help you determine what CE content you need to author throughout the year, when and how you should deliver CE, and how you can continuously evolve your CE program to keep up with environmental changes.

 4. What COVID Taught us about Program Diversification

Diversifying your CE program may have never been as important than it was in 2020. Wholesalers who were keen on offering in-person CE events were quickly pressed to come up with a new plan. Although there’s nothing wrong with having a go-to CE delivery method, knowing what options you have available can be a real lifesaver if things don’t go according to plan. As mentioned, many wholesalers shifted to webinar CE when in-person events became inaccessible, but there are plenty of other CE delivery methods available that many wholesalers aren’t even aware of, such as Super CE and Public Exams. To learn about the various CE methods, check out this article.

Budget planning can be both an exciting, yet stressful time. If you have any questions about planning out your 2021 continuing education program, give our team a call at 877-593-3366, or contact us at