Tips for Selling to Districts, Schools, and Educators
You’ve done your homework. You have the software that will revolutionize education, or at the very least improve instruction for learners.
Do you sell to school districts or start with schools? The process of selling to school districts or schools varies. Selling your education technology products and services to districts, schools, and even educators requires different marketing strategies.
Selling at the Top: The District
What education technology company doesn’t dream of making a big sale to large districts like Chicago Public Schools (405,665 learners), Los Angeles Unified School District (667,271 learners), or the New York City Department of Education (995,336 learners)?
Big sales often are vital to the success and viability of any education technology company, but receiving a signed contract from a school district requires a large amount of effort on your part. You must mobilize quickly and be prepared to meet the diverse needs of most school districts.
Start by getting on the approved vendor list. Frequently, districts won’t meet with you if you have not taken this first step. Before you approach a school district, make sure your products and services are scalable. You must be prepared to present research studies that support your claims. The data should be quantitative.
When you get a meeting with district personnel, you will likely present to the senior administration team. Your presentation should be polished and professional. Provide handouts and real-time demos if possible. If the education leadership team gives you the green light, your next presentation will be to the school board.
Selling in the Field: Schools
Schools are the most direct line of contact for your education technology products and services. Judi Paul, the developer of Accelerated Reader software, began marketing her product to schools. Education administrators, librarians, and educators took note of how the program motivated learners to read. Schools disseminated their success stories with other schools, and soon districts adopted the program for all their entire district
Regardless of if you are a fan of AR (Renaissance Learning) or not, their success has been meteoric. In 2014, the app sold for $1.1 billion.
Selling to a school is comparable to selling at the district level. You must be on the approved vendor list. You will meet with the principal and the teacher-leaders at that campus. Again, you will need a professional presentation based on research.
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Don’t discount selling to educators. When they have success with a product or service, their testimonials will make an impact on other educators. It’s likely the administration will purchase it for the campus. The district will want to provide successful software to all learners in the district.
Make sure you attend educator conferences. At conferences and in edtech company exhibits, you will meet the educators who need your product. Sign up to give a seminar to talk about what you have to offer and the impact it has on learner achievement.
A Final Tip
Schools know that shopping around for comparable products and services makes good financial sense. Savvy educators look at what comparable options may be available to them when reviewing your education technology product. Saving money in one area allows educators to make additional purchases in another.
Do their homework for them. Whether you sell to educators, schools, or districts, compare your product and services to those your competition’s offers. Show how your education technology product provides more than what the educators can find from another vendor for the same price.
And congratulations on that sale!