• Forward Thinking EDU

5/23/2017 Bringing it all Together: Surround Your Customer with Credibility

Have you read the Harvard Business Review article called What Salespeople Need to Know About the New B2B Landscape? (Frank & Vova, 2015) The authors discuss the implications of their B2B research from Gartner (which, in my opinion, is useful for the education market). The article and research offers up a new way of looking at the activities traditionally associated with the B2B sales funnel and provides insight into the most important of B2B marketing activities. You and your sales team should understand that these principles are critical for effective selling in the current B2B educational market. 

As I read the article, I kept thinking of former colleagues, clients, and friends who would find value in the article. The research cited is also an excellent resource for anyone doing marketing planning for an educational service company. It provides a great perspective on how selling and marketing in the education channel is changing along with the new digital reality, much like we have been telling our clients for some time.  

What Were the Findings?

Some of the findings of the research regarding effective marketing tactics: 

  1. Salespeople continue to be the most important marketing tactic in a company’s toolbox. Despite the digitization of the marketing world, there is still nothing as important that the relationship between a client and their sales rep. 

  2. Social Media ranked relatively low (LinkedIn excepted) because business (and education) buyers must justify a decision to others in the school or district, especially as budget money flowed less liberally since the financial crisis of 2008. You are naïve or spending too much time on your smartphone if you believe that a combination of economics, solution identification, product application, risk management, and political journey through the buyer’s organization is now handled predominately online in most buying scenarios and without knowledgeable and savvy sales help. We know that key to most schools buying decisions will be the evidence that your product or solution is likely to improve achievement results or to foster engagement. 

There were some surprises too:

  1. White papers are more influential than sales presentations.

  2. Collateral is still a relevant marketing tactic. While I am not a fan of collateral, I recognize that it does still have a place in this world. In a world where we have tons of email, an alternative to email could be a simple postcard or sale sheet. 

Bringing it all together

Ultimately, we have to surround the customer with credibility. The relationship with the salesperson, the credibility of the white paper, and finally the referral from colleagues or similar customers can vouch for your business (and product) success for that school or district. 

How are you wrapping up the 2017 selling season? What will your Summer sales activities look like?  Back-to-School planning begins early so that you have your go-to-market plan for Fall 2017 ready. 

The team at Forward Thinking EDU is skilled at providing:

  • Marketing Planning/Tactics

  • Pilot season prepping

  • Sales meeting tools/training/organization

  • Back-to-School Sales planning

  • ESSA Implementation

Contact us to see how we can help you experience growth and achieve success the success for you and your customers.


Fall EdNET Review


Click on the link to see an overview of our EdNET 2013 experience, including partner news, and info on October's Connected Educator series.


Excellent Opportunities for International Education EdNET Recap

I was privileged to attend the EdNET conference recently.  This is just a recap of one of the many session I attended.

Karen Khemka, Partner and head of Emerging Markets Education Practice at the Parthenon Group spoke about the business of education in the rest of the world.The Parthenon Group is a consulting practice and has completed over 150 assignments in over 60 countries annually.

It was interesting to hear that 20 companies have more than one billion dollars in sales in education, seven of these are publishers, and only one focuses on emerging markets,Laureate Education.

Mr. Khemka focused on three areas of opportunities for companies considering international opportunities.

  1. International and Premium Bilingual School Market

  2. English Language Training (ELT)

  3. Transnational Education - Attracting International Students to the USA.

In the International and Premium Bilingual School Market, which are considered English language private schools, The Parthenon Group has estimated the market opportunity for this segment to be in Latin America: (From largest to smallest)

  1. Mexico

  2. Brazil

  3. Argentina

  4. Columbia 

  5. Chile

Now I personally found this surprising, as I would have said China or India would have been larger markets, just by sheer size of population.  But countries like Mexico have a legacy of private English language schools.

Next in size of opportunity was the Middle East.

  1. Unite Arab Emirates

  2. Egypt

  3. Kuwait

  4. Saudi Arabia

  5. Qatar

  6. Oman

  7. Bahrain

In Saudi Arabia alone there has been 12% growth for private education from 2008 - 2011. 

Following the Middle East was Asia:

  1. Thailand

  2. Hong Kong

  3. Singapore

  4. Korea

  5. Malaysia

  6. Indonesia

  7. Vietnam

  8. Taiwan

Followed by the Southern Hemisphere:

  1. Australia

  2. South Africa

Then by the two big ones:

  1. China

  2. India

Now this deserves some discussion, according to Khemka.  India has a native language of English, so most public schools are using an English language curriculum.  In China, the issue is government control.  The Chinese Government wants to control the curriculum, so there is a tremendous amount of regulation. Transitioning to the English Language Training (ELT), the story changed in where there is market opportunity.  China seems to be the biggest market for this area.

  • In affluent households, the Chinese spend 8 - 10% of their household income on education.

  • There is an increase in the number of what is considered affluent households in China.

  • China leads in the amount spent percentage wise (7%) vs other countries such as the UAE, Indonesia, Singapore, and India.

  • The reason why ELT is so important to the Chinese is the opportunity for advancement in the workplace, making it easier to advance in their particular organization.

  • China provides only a limited number of hours of English language curriculum in the public schools

  • The Chinese P - 12 ELT market is expected to grow at 12% by 2015.

  • Huge opportunity for a blended learning environment - technology, content,

Finally, for the higher education sector, there are opportunities in recruiting international students to the USA.  

  • The clampdown in educational visa's here in the US (since 2001) has lead to a surge in international students in the UK and Australia.

  • International students make up only 3% of the higher education students in the US vs, 28% in Australia , and 17% in the UK, and 15% in Canada.

  • The opportunity (if they increased to the UK level) for US colleges and university would be about $84 billion  in additional tuition revenues.  

  • Plus the additional opportunity for new faculty would add additional  tax revenues and drive additional job growth here in the US.  

For businesses and higher education institutions these opportunities seem like key strategic issues to consider in the coming year.

Join us in the edGlobal community, a professional learning community that explores education initiatives around the world and provides a forum for a global exchange of ideas. The community is part of and members include educators, administrators, government officials, and educational industry professionals.  

Forward Thinking EDU and its team of professionals have many years of experience in international education.  Michael Campbell worked with Pearson Canada from 2001 - 2008.  While in Canada, he worked in Europe and Asia promoting several English language educational solutions.  


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