Schools & colleges are a challenging target for even experienced sales superheroes. This happens because of the complexity of the buying process in school combined with a limited purchase budget. If you developed a product or solution focused on the school market, this blog post will help you set up a sales process specific to the market and close a few good deals. If you are the developer of the product or solution mainly with technology skills, it is advised to recruit a marketing/sales co-founder or team member instead of solely acting on tips gained from articles and books.
Let’s have a look on top 11 tips which accelerate the sales of edtech products:
Know your market
It is essential to do market study and research before developing and selling your product. You should know who are the potential buyers as the market will be scattered with different kinds of customers. In the case of educational institutions, there will be schools, colleges, training centers, and universities. If you select the school market alone, there will be schools under different categories, for example, government and private. In private also the schools can be divided according to the syllabus they follow like IB, ICSE, CBSE, etc. Once you analyze these different segments in your potential market, take a total count of customers in each segment and then analyze by geography. However great your product is, you can not reach the entire market. So you have to understand the total available market and total addressable market. You can google for more details and courses on market research.
Know your product and solution
It is equally important to know your product and solution in depth before you start selling. Understand the features and functionality of the solution to prepare brochures and sales pitch. Talk to a few potential customers to understand the early product-market fit and use the information to improve your packaging and pitch. You must compare the product and solution with other providers in the market. This will help you in setting a competing price along with the right pitch.
Make the pitch and process simple
It is also essential to make sure the pitch is simple for a school customer. As you are selling to a school, you should not make the pitch complicated. The brochures and sales conversation should be as simple as possible. Also, make your purchase process simple and friendly for a school customer. Make all pricing and taxes transparent and have multiple options to accept the payments from the customer.
Understand the buyer persona and decision process
You will have to analyze the different types of users in school and find out who purchases your solution. There are teachers, administrators, principals, management directors, school owners, etc. who all are involved in the decision to purchase the software. For some products and solutions, you can skip some of these stakeholders. But for any sale with good pricing, you will have to navigate through all of them. Understand the different stakeholders and decision processes in purchasing your solution by the customer.
Find out what timing works best for meetings and sales
This is a crucial detail that most of the salespeople miss. The working schedules of a school is different from other business and the different stakeholders come to school on different timings and weekdays. So do your research before starting the sales pitch and improve the approach with the learnings you get from experience.
Be prepared to travel (a lot)
Selling to schools requires a lot of face to face meetings especially if the lead is a cold one. So you will have to travel to meet the customer multiple times. Some times may be more than ten or twenty face to face meetings are required before closing a single deal. So be ready to spend time on the road most of the days.
Study and include government grants in your strategy
There are different government grants for schools and colleges in almost all countries. Schools use these grants to purchase hardware and software solutions. Study about these and maybe you will come across some strategies to improve your sales numbers.
Onboard your first customer fast
Do not wait for the product or solution to complete the development to make your first sale. Start talking to potential customers and onboard your first customer as soon as possible, even if you give a huge discount. Be transparent to the customer about the stage of maturity of the solution. Having a real customer using your product or solution will give a lot of feedback to be used for improving the same.
Solve problems of customer
Find out what problems of your customer, the product or solution is solving and use the same in your sales pitch. And once the sale is done, make sure that you provide assistance in training the customer to adopt the product or solution and solve their problem.
Cold calls and follow-ups
Follow-up, follow-up and again follow-up is the secret mantra of successful sales superstars. Especially with the school market, you have to be doing constant follow-ups to close a single deal. Practice cold calling and follow-ups religiously. Use a good CRM tool.
Recruit many sales executives and a few rainmakers
Once your product or solutions reach market fit and sales volume starts gaining momentum, focus on recruiting more sales executives and build a motivated team of them which will work as a revenue engine for your company. Sales executives will follow the sales process as taught them during training and once the process starts making sales, hire more sales executives to improve the output of the sales machine. Also do not forget to hire expert sales leaders commonly termed as rainmakers who can close big-ticket deals for your solution. They come costly but can bring big revenue quickly.