How do you "sell" Storyline internally?

Hi guys,

Now that I'm in the other side and that I have to see things as the picture below, what are the best arguments that you'd use to sell SL internally?

I'm trying to do so. For the time being I only got a license for Camtasia (which I really dislike) and the prospect for one for Articulate Studio '09 -which is not so bad, but, like a kid in Christmas, "I want" SL back in my life...

What facts have I already defended?

  • The need itself to provide e-learning training -there're still many in-class initiatives.
  • SL allows not only to capturate screencasts but to create step-by-steps slides.
  • SL allows to translate texts easily (as I work in a multinational company with contents to be translated to many languages).

Frustrating picture here (which at the same time gives me the feeling that there's a lot to be done):

What other ideas have you used to sell SL and which of them worked well?

Thanks for sharing!

Belen Casado

29 Replies
john faulkes

Hi Belen,

Why not prepare some demos for your decision-makers, showing what you can do with storyline, vs. the other programs?

if you can link what they see to the business/learning goals they have, so much the better.

You could also put in some very rough figures about productivity - how much faster you would be able to go with SL.


Belen Casado

Hi John,

You're so right!

And I remember this has been commented before, though it seems that I forgot it...

Yes, the best is to show them what can be done, to really link a series of demos to their business.

I will devote some of my leisure time to this, I think it's worth it.

Who knows, maybe in few months I'm back here, in this community that I really love.

Thanks again,


Nicole Legault

Hi Belen!

Great discussion!

You may interested in checking out this past forum discussion by community member Natalia Spurgin: Create a Business Case for Storyline Using the Trial Version. In this quick video she describes how using the trial version of SL she built a cool interactive mini-demo (using mostly a pre-built template) that she shared with stakeholders, to show how quickly she could make something very engaging. They ended up going for it, and she's been using Storyline ever since! 

Anyways, you might be able to glean some insight from her approach... =)

And just a comment about the picture of the slide you attached (which looks like its from Quizmaker??). It might seem like a big, overlapping mess (which it is) but cleaning that up would just take a few seconds, it is actually a simple few clicks,  just moving over and resizing the text boxes. A bit annoying yes, but really not long!

Hope this helps!! Good luck with the project, hopefully you'll keep us posted. 


Natalia Mueller

Hi Belen,

Nicole already posted the link I was going to share. Seeing is believing. After I made a list of all the reasons we should get Storyline, I realized it would have so much more impact to show it instead of just explaining it. A major selling point was that I was able to put a boring business case into an interactive format without having worked with the tool before. They loved that I could makes something so interactive so quickly, and that's a major selling point over Camtasia. 

I hope we'll get to see you around here on a regular basis again!


Belen Casado

So good feedback from you guys, as ever!

This brings me to answer @Daniel first: on top, this community is not comparable to anything similar in any other software.

I've learnt it all here, both from tutorials and from these discussions. In addition, I kind know many of you, and for me you're my heroes!

Unlike @Natalia, we have no permission in my company to download even the trial version, that's why I need to make something similar in my free time (which in fact could be better, because I have the extra bunch of characters at home). And unlike her, I've not been asked to propose any tool -as there're already tools here.

But you really gave me the idea: we have lots of info regarding the "New Hire Curriculum" for new employees, so I'll take some info (that's currently a wikipage) and put it in a Storyline way, in addition to some screen recording, which is why they alreday have Camtasia, but I will also add to this video: interactivity and step-by-step slides from the video.

@Nicole, I offered myself to solve in seconds the awful picture I shared here, but the answer was negative, though linked to what Tom Kuhlmann always defends: it's all about results. So it seems that these Quizmaker tests are not so used... I need to do something different, not to do the same but aesthetically pleasant.

This weekend is the chosen one for me to face this challenge. I promise to share my results in here, even if I have to record my voice in English with my Spanish accent.

Belen Casado

Kimberly Valliere

I am really lucky that when I began the job I have now, despite already having those other guys (Captivate), I really pushed for SL.

I completely echo what you said about the community not being comparable to anything. One major point that I told my supervisor is that when I'm suffering from designers block, there's an AMAZING community that is second to none. They can answer a question in mere minutes rather than me fighting to learn a product that isn't user-friendly without a great deal of assistance. Recently, when discussing elearning software with a fellow trainer, she tried to convince me that "those other guys" had a great community and so many resources...I tried very hard not to disagree rather vehemently because I looked for said community, inspiration and tutorials. They are as easy to find as their products are easy to learn.

I also said the inspiration I can gather from the community is a must-have asset to me being that I'm the only instructional designer in my company with no one here to bounce ideas off of.

Best of luck with your quest, Belen and I hope it turns out well for you.

Belen Casado

@Nicholas, thanks for what you say. 

This is my roadmap:

  1. Try to do "the same" with Camtasia, the software I already have installed in my company laptop. It's true that I haven't worked so much with it, and that I believe there's not such a community there -not at all, I think. This can help me to highlight the best points of SL.
  2. Create a short video (screencast + simulation) in SL about one of our products. This will be company sensitive, so when I upload it here, I'll use another video.
  3. Create the "making of" video, following what Daniel Brigham made in this other tread, when explaining how to build interactive videos (tasty wine). I'll remove the audio from the 1st video and add some reference to this community. This will be the video inside the video, like a game of Chinese boxes.

Wish me luck!

Leah Hemeon

Hi Belen,

Back when Storyline was released I had to do a hard sell with my leadership team. I'd already fought long and hard to do more eLearning (lots, and lots of business cases, conversations, waiting, etc...) We'd already purchased a couple of licenses for "the other guys" and we'd tried Articulate Studio '09 and had found it just not robust enough for our goals. When I was part of the Beta for Storyline I'd fallen in love with it, and like you, I couldn't live without it anymore.

I put together a series of demonstrations, using some of my own creations (during Beta since I too can't install software on my work laptop), as well as compiling a set of cool demos shared by Articulate. I also put together a short business case for it. In it I compared features between Storyline and what we already owned (including Studio '09 and "the other guys"). I also had a major project coming up that I knew I could save significant time on with Storyline because of the PowerPoint conversion + interactivity options. I included some conservative figures in my business case and was able to demonstrate time savings equal to more than the cost of the software on one project. I presented all of this to our L&D leadership team who (reluctantly at first) agreed to one license. During the big project I was able to realize significantly more time savings than I had imagined by using Storyline and that meant the project was finished much faster and allowed me to move on to other priorities. The results for that project were also way more than they could have imagined. This lead us to buy another license and now we're up to 10 licences within our department so that everyone can do eLearning development.

I know every case is different but generally with companies it comes down to time and money. Can you save time? Can you save money? Demonstrate both in a business case as well as paint a picture of what you'll be able to do with that additional time and money and it should work out.

Good luck!! 


Belen Casado

Hi @Leah, really good advice here!

I encountered some problems when creating my cool demonstration of Storyline this weekend (mainly, I tried to explain how to navigate a website but it behaves strangely so it shows the homepage everytime you click a link. This makes the SL step-by-step feature useless, because though the screenshot can be seen in the created slides, when the course is previewed, only the homepage can be seen... with the hotspots in the place they'd be in the sub-site...).

I'm sorry to seem to be an ignorant, but I'm not sure of how to create a business case. Is this an example like the one you mention, where you take a real project and explain how much time and money you can save? I'd appreciate any message about this.

In the while, I added an ilustrated character to the screencast and I added one of the Top Interactions to emulate what @Natalia did.

I'll let you know my advances and the feedback I receive.

Thanks a lot!

Bruce Graham

Hi Belen

A business case is just about money, and Leah has summarised what you need to do well in here post above.

In business you make decisions on the basis of "...doing xxx will make us more money" or alternatively, "...doing xxx will help our losses reduce", or possibly "...if we do xxx, it will still cost us money, but will cost a lot less than doing yyy".

This third one is used a lot - I remember a Global campaign by a company that I worked for once when the claim was that "....we saved $xxx million". Actually, it cost them $xxx million, but doing it ANOTHER way would have cost them $xx million more, so technically they "saved". 

Time (ultimately) can be expressed as money. In business (and Business Cases), it is money that talks...

So....a business case has several elements:

BENEFITS - how much might be made from the investment (in SL), who will get the benefit (perhaps a country, or a department), and how can this be proven (the hard one!).

COSTS - how much will it all cost to buy the "things" that will deliver those benefits, and

RISKS - what might go wrong with either of these, (usually strategic risk).

The Business Case should consider a number of areas:

1. What is the problem that is being dealt with, (there is always a business "problem")

2. The financial or non-financial risks. Get all the risks out in the open, then deal with them before the project starts.

3. Evaluation of the various options. You will start with a few (one of which should be "Do Nothing"), and gradually cut the list down to one that favours you (SL...), then you will develop the solution in the "Definition" Phase.

4. Investment Appraisal - the costs, (SL, Support, Articulate Online. etc.) and set these out in a Costs and Benefits statement.

5. Constraints. Generally things which the project cannot control - for example, the hours that SL support is available BUT mitigation there = the community.

Once you get your final option (SL):

1. High Level Description (what is included and what is not - such as images and videos, you need these in as costs).

2. Estimated Costs (these evolve as e.g. you get more licenses) - you may need to contact a supplier and negotiate here.

3. Key Dates and Milestones schedule.

4. Assumptions (which will probably lead to more risks).

5. Dependencies (what needs to happen, when, and by whom?)

6. Success criteria (these are the End Points, NOT a measure of progress - which are Key Performance Indicators/KPIs).

7.  Impact on "Business as Usual" - this can be quite high and positive OR disruptive, if (for example) it will take 3 months to get everyone trained on SL.

That should hopefully be enough to get you started. It can be quite daunting, but the main thing is just get started - one topic to a page, concentrate on 1 thing, and then gradually bolt it all together.

Shout if you need more help.

Belen Casado

Thanks @Bruce, extremelly good feedback -as ever.

Following these steps you mention, I created this Storyline demo -with the PDF of the business case included.

I still have to refine it and to add some elements that are corporate sensitive.

I wanted to share it with you all so you can kindly send me some feedback. Do you think it's too long?

Happy New Year 2014!

Belen Casado

Shawn Stiles

Hi Belen,

You have been given some really excellent advice, so I will try not to repeat what has been said. What I would like to say is that you may want to include cost of ownership in relation to the tools you already have an a shift to Storyline. 

Currently I work with a wide range of tools depedning on the project, so I currently have Lectora, Articulate (9 and 13), Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate available to me for my work. This does not count the suppor tools of SnagIt, Audacity, and others.  While it is great having these tools avaialble they do come with hidden costs that might be overlooked when dealing with management and those who control the budget.  Each of these tools requires some type of maintenance plan in order to keep them current, for example:

Lectora - yearly fee which is a percentage of the overall license cost

Articulate/Storyline - you pay upfront for a 1, 2 or 3 year plan, which must be purchased when you buy your license

Camtasia - each upgrade is an additional fee

Caatpviate - no clear path, and you can generally only upgrade from the last version. Adobe is pushing toward a subsciption only service

Another issue is the time you need to spend to become proficient with each tool. All of these tools are excellent but to use them well you have to take the time to learn how they function and figure out how to use them to create the products you need.  While I have Camtasia I do not use it often as I simply don't have the time to spend working with it to become proficient. I still use Captivate for any type of demonstrations/simulations.  I've used Lectora for years and now I can do just about anythign with it. 

So when you make your pitch you could include an argument on the overall cost savings by shifting away from the other tools to a single standard. Don't overlook the fact that Articulate is now giving a copy of Replay (screen recording) away for free with both Articulate Presenter and Storyline. Replay can replace your need for Camtasia. The built in screen recording tools in Storyline should be able to replace my own need for Captivate.

While developers like to focus on which tools and technologies will enable us to be more effective we still have to deal with the folks that control the budget. They need to see the financial advantage to what we want to use and then we need to continually demonstrate the overall savings.

Bruce Graham

Belen - I have PM'd you.

@Shawn makes an excellent point:

While developers like to focus on which tools and technologies will enable us to be more effective we still have to deal with the folks that control the budget. They need to see the financial advantage to what we want to use and then we need to continually demonstrate the overall savings.

The revised document, (which I will email to you when I get your email address...) needs to be re-focused. It is a BUSINESS Case, not a TRAINING case. It is the Accountants you need to convince with a Business Case, written in a way that the TRAINING DEPARTMENT agrees with.

The document has to be written as financial advantage and benefits, not as a documentation of product Features and Functionality. If you include Features and Functionality you need to explain them in terms of financial benefit, (increased profit, reduced loss, or reduced risk).

Belen Casado

Really good feedback here.

I've added to the Storyline demo the mention to both the costs related to having multiple expiring licenses and the mention to Articulate Replay, as @Shawn mentions.

I totally agree with you, Bruce (and Shawn), I missed the point. I thought that the ones who would decide about this would be the training department managers, given their budgets. But even if this is so, the business case must be BUSINESS and COST-BENEFIT oriented: financial-wise. 

Who would say that I have a degree in Economics? I really hate that stuff, but when it comes to decisions in a business, then numbers are the ones that talk.

So really happy to have advice about this cause I find it hard to stay "quantitative" instead of "qualitative". That's why I never worked as an Economist...