Don’t be part of the 95% of EdTech sales calls that decision makers ignore.
If you’re new to EdTech, you will quickly learn that the sales process moves at a glacial pace compared to other technology industries. The cycle can take many months or even years to complete a large-scale sale to a district, and it can take even longer to procure a statewide contract. This is a major factor that makes it necessary for you and your sales team to focus on consistency and building relationships.
To Sell or Not to Sell
To properly build a relationship with district and state decision makers, you have to do your homework. District superintendents can see right through you or your sales team members if you are doing mass fishing expeditions to try to get a foot in the door. It starts with the fact that you start talking about the great things about your product, without focusing on how it’s going to take care of the needs of the students, and specifically the students in their district.
The good EdTech sales reps have looked into the district, talked to people in the district, talked to people in the region and understand the needs of the specific district and the region as a whole. There is a lot of value in talking to people in surrounding districts, as a lot of valuable information can be gathered about the similarities and differences between districts in the same region.
Be a Good Listener
Keeping in mind that the sales cycle is long means you’ll have time to do that kind of research before calling on a district you have targeted as being a good fit for your EdTech solution. So when you do make a call, don’t go right away for the sale. Ask questions. Listen and take notes. Ask about the district’s technology pain point. Ask what they are doing to fix them. And, I repeat, do not go in for the sale, you’re just giving the superintendent or IT department head an easy way to say no.
Follow up by showing up to the regional conferences. Stop into the district throughout the year. The value of making relationships includes learning about the politics and policies of a district and a state. Get to know how those politics and policies are affecting the district
You’ll know you have a good relationship when you find yourself (or your sales rep) saying things like, “I remember you were talking about a project last time, how is that coming along?” When you have a good, solid relationship in place, then you can elevate it to a partnership, which means a sale.
This is the way the education game is played. You don’t have to like it, but if you don’t play it this way, you’ll be just another sales call that gets ignored.