What Is the Best Time of the Year to Sell to Schools?
Selling your edtech products directly to schools is a big undertaking. If successful, school and district sales can be the breakthrough for your edtech startup. However, top-down sales are time-consuming and take a lot of investment on the front end. It’s important to understand the process of district purchasing to succeed. One major question posed by edtech entrepreneurs is, when is the best time of the year to sell to schools?
Unfortunately, this can be a tricky subject with multiple variables. Here are some tips for determining the right time to approach schools about your edtech offering.
The most common time for startups to contact districts is the spring. That is because budgets for the coming fall are being approved and schools are often shopping for products to implement. While the spring season is busy, it may not be the right time for your product. Take into account the type of product you’re offering and what kind of financial commitment you’re pursuing.
Schools are inundated with sales requests through the spring, and if your proposal isn’t on their priority list, you won’t get a meeting. Spring sales should be reserved for products with whole school implementation which will be used for the coming school year. Software products take longer to approve than hardware, so if you’re pitching a new LMS get in with the spring rush.
Additionally, if your product takes a significant investment, spring is the time to approach schools. You will need to come in on a new budget, not pick up the slack of the previous year.
Conversely, if you’re offering smaller applications for individual use or hardware, you may have an easier time in the summer. School officials only have so much time for sales calls. So, approaching them when they’re less busy with more substantial purchases will be a smart strategy.
Summer is also an ideal time to contact teachers if you’re using a bottom-up model. Teachers are busy in the spring and fall. Furthermore, most teachers plan their coming year in the summer months. Offering a system to help with classroom organization or provide interactive lesson plans will be more successful during the planning phase.
While the budgets of most schools will be tapped by winter, you may be able to pull in some last minute sales. Smaller purchases like supplementary tools and hardware can be offered to use any unallocated funds before the new budget year.
Regardless of your product, remember that schools officials are excessively busy in the autumn months. They will have a lot on their calendars with implementation of new software, student orientation and smoothing out bumps. The fall season is the best time for relationship building with current and potential clients.
Instead of pitching ideas, helping with product setup or giving teachers and administrators one on one attention is best. Making yourself an asset to teachers and administrators will be a smart move for future contact. Selling to schools is just like any high stake sales industry and requires a bit of schmoozing which will undoubtedly help you land meetings during the summer, spring and winter months.
The process of selling to schools is slow. Some purchases take weeks for approval; others may take up to nine months. Patience, resilience, and planning are the keys to success in edtech sales.
What plans have you found successful for school sales? How do you get your foot in the door with administrators? We’d love to hear your feedback.