Selling Edtech to School District Leadership
Edtech provides classroom solutions. Getting your product into the right hands, however, requires savvy strategies. These strategies are more than sales techniques. They’re about getting to know the people you’re hoping to work with.
In general, most educators like technology. They have an appreciation for what it can do in their classrooms. Teachers also understand that technology cannot do what they’re best at: building rapport with students.
The same is true of district leadership. They build rapport with the teachers and campus principals so everyone can work toward a common goal as a team. An edtech entrepreneur can do the same thing in a district by building trust and be transparent.
Few people appreciate aggressive salespersons. You know the type. They’re the ones who monopolize the conversation while pointing out every product feature. They insist you need what they’re selling, and they rarely listen to what you do want.
Don’t be that person. Especially when you’re selling to district leadership. The administrators in these positions have extensive experience in education and little time to listen to another sales pitch.
Instead, build trust. There’s an old saying that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. If you can be that person, the one who cares deeply about the people you might be working with, you’re more likely to get the sale.
Sales at the district level are made when you’ve built trust and relationships. Listen for what the real issues are, and then help solve them. Honesty about what your edtech product can and cannot do will go a long way. No one expects your edtech tool to be the panacea for everything wrong in education. However, if you can solve one thing, that’s a step in the right direction.
Allow for transparency
District leadership will want to know about you and the product you’re offering. By being transparent about yourself and your edtech solution, you’ll make it easy for district leadership to say yes.
Be ready with these items:
· A flyer that highlights at a glance the most important product features
· An outline that clearly spells out what a purchase contract includes, such as software, hardware, tech support, and professional development.
· A simple contract in easy-to-understand language
· Contact information for tech support and for you
It’s okay to be human. In fact, it’s preferred. Glitches will happen. Talk about how you’d solve them when they do.
It’s all about scale
Selling your edtech product to a district depends on your ability to scale up. You’ve got to be able to go big and do it fast. The one thing that can choke getting that district-wide sales contract is the inability to scale up.
Before meeting with district leaders, know how you will deploy your product across multiple sites, with thousands, and even tens of thousands of users. In some districts, you may even be looking at hundreds of thousands of users.
As overwhelming as that may seem, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you keep strategies like these in mind:
· Collaborate with others: investors, partners, employees, consumers.
· Design your product for teachers.
· Keep it simple so you can be flexible.
You’ll make that sale to district leadership.