Tips for Selling to Districts, Schools, and Teachers
You’ve done your homework. You have the software (or hardware) that will revolutionize education, or at the very least, improve the work for teachers and instruction for students.
Now it’s time to make some sales.
Do you sell to school districts, or should you start with the schools? The answer is both! The process of selling to districts or schools varies greatly. Selling your edtech products and services to districts, schools, and even teachers requires different marketing strategies.
Selling at the top: the district
What edtech company doesn’t dream of making a big sale to large districts like Chicago Public Schools (405,665 students), Los Angeles Unified School District (667,271 students), or the New York City Department of Education (995,336 students)?
Big sales often are critical to the success and viability of any edtech company, but getting a signed contract from a school district requires a considerable amount of effort on your part. You must be able to ramp up quickly and meet the diverse needs of many schools.
Begin by getting on the approved vendor list. Many times, districts won’t meet with you if you have not taken this first step. Before you approach a district, make sure your products and services are scalable. You must be prepared to present multiple research studies that support your claims. The data should be quantitative rather than qualitative. Numbers and scope will matter.
When you score a meeting with district personnel, you’ll likely present to the senior administration team. Your presentation should be polished and professional. Provide handouts and real-time demos if possible. If the administration 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 edtech products and services. Judi Paul, the creator of Accelerated Reader software, began marketing her product to schools. Administrators, librarians, and teachers took note of how the program motivated students to read. Schools shared their success stories with other schools, and soon districts adopted the program for all of their schools.
Whether you are a fan of Accelerated Reader (Renaissance Learning) or not, their momentum has been undeniable. In 2014, the software giant sold for $1.1 billion.
Selling to a school is similar to selling at the district level. You must still be on the approved vendor list. You’ll likely meet with the principal and the teacher-leaders at that campus. Again, you’ll need a professional presentation based on current research and data.
Getting your foot in the door: selling to the teachers.
Don’t discount selling to teachers. When they have success with a product, their testimonials will spur on other teachers. It’s likely the campus administration will purchase it for the campus. In turn, the district will want to provide the most successful software to all students in the district.
Invest in the time and marketing necessary to attend teacher conferences. It’s at conferences and in vendor exhibits where you’ll meet the teachers who need your product. Sign up to deliver an educational session so you can talk about what you have to offer and the impact it has on student achievement.
A final tip
Schools know that shopping around for similar products and services makes good financial sense. Savvy educators take a look at what similar options may be available to them when reviewing your edtech product. After all, saving money in one area allows teachers to make additional purchases in another one.
Do their homework for them. Whether you sell to teachers, schools, or districts, compare your product and services to those offered by your competition. Show how your edtech product provides more than what the teachers can find from another vendor for the same price.
Congratulations on that sale!