Over the years, sales and marketing strategies in the education market have changed, but one fundamental thing hasn’t: This market is built on trusted relationships. So how can you make connections and build relationships with education leaders who are busier than ever and faced with more pressures than ever? There is no silver bullet, but there are three things you can do to position your business as a partner worth getting to know.
1. Know What Educators Need
Whether it’s the barista who remembers your name and order every morning or the sales person who knows your style so well she has an outfit picked out for you when you walk in the door, we all appreciate when people know us and know what we want. Educators feel the same way.
Busy educators don’t have a moment to spare. You can stop them in their tracks by approaching them with sales and marketing communications that are targeted to their specific needs or pain points related to the educational products, programs and initiatives in use in their districts.
You can jumpstart the needs discovery process by finding out about the initiatives a district has undertaken; the teaching strategies in use; and what tools, like LMS, CMS and SIS, have been implemented throughout the schools. All of this information will help you put together solutions and communications that are tailored to prospects’ unique situations. You can gather this information the old-fashioned way, through hours of research, or you can use EdIntel from Agile. In seconds, you can determine exactly which products districts are using and which programs and teaching initiatives they’ve implemented.
If you don’t take the time to do this research, you run the risk of shutting down the conversation before it even begins. District and school leaders rated “Information that isn’t relevant to my job” and “Vendors that don’t seem to understand my needs or education” as their top two turn offs in a survey conducted in May of 2015 by Agile Education Marketing and PR with Panache!
2. Give Them the Information Before They Ask for It
Regardless of the product or program you’re selling, there are certain things educators are always going to want to know, so don’t wait for them to ask. Move the conversation along by anticipating what information is needed throughout the sales cycle. Here is what district and school leaders told Agile is top of mind when researching solutions.
From case studies and white papers to infographics and checklists, proactively provide educators with the information you know they’ll need. Share this content through your social media channels, post it on your website, send it out in nurture campaigns to prospects, and bring it along to sales calls.
3. Share the Knowledge
According to Ann McMullan, former Executive Director of Educational Technology for Klein ISD (TX), new product, program or technology purchases must never be the sole decision of any single entity in the school system. There is no getting around collaborative decision-making in the education market, so embrace it!
Even if a superintendent or CIO is going to sign the purchase order, these leaders rely on their staff to bring needs and solutions to their attention. So be sure to send information to and include educators across the spectrum from the district all the way into the classroom.
Many major district-wide purchases begin with a few classroom teachers advocating to a principal or curriculum director. In turn, those principals and curriculum directors bring the product to the attention of others in the decision-making circle. The more educators who have heard of your solutions and are aware of their benefits, the more likely you are to get the attention of the person who will sign the deal.
Be the Partner Every District Wants to Know
Let’s change how educators feel and how they perceive education vendors by being informed, insightful and pro-active in your sales and marketing approach. Know what kinds of information educators need, give it to them before they ask for it and share that knowledge with individuals throughout the schools and districts.