Hello... Is Anyone There?
May 8, 2018
Ed Kisman, Executive Advisor, Forward Thinking EDU
It’s the last quarter of the school year. Educational solution providers focus and timing is crucial and not just for sales, but for schools and districts, who are scrambling to complete this school years’ agenda and future budgets.
There are basically two types of sales strategies that should take place in this quarter. 1) Sales by the end of June if you are looking to provide solutions before the end of the school year; 2) Secure your solution to be included in the fall 2018-2019 school budget
First a few observations to consider while your sales teams plan their calls:
There are over 15,000 K-12 companies using one or more of these strategies with their sales teams, whether it be content, software, hardware, and social/emotional behavior solutions.
The average number of email and voice mail messages into a district or \school administrator can be over 300 per week.
For many Administrators, school support personnel sift through emails first (for importance and relevance), which could prevent sales people from product introductions that DO NOT APPLY to their district or school!
Teachers spend an average of 6.9 hours per day with their students and then have parent and peer calls on top of this. Wonder why their stress is so high!
Add to this mix board politics, unions, community involvement and parents in reaching the administrative offices and superintendents.
Ok ready to pump up your sales team !
Every sales organization has been trained and coached on their solutions, from features to benefits and how their solution is unique and different from everyone else’s (assuming your solution is not a commodity and price is the only differentiator or maybe color).
Your SFA database is busting with last-quarter promotions--“buy now” and email campaigns are cast like nets over an endless ocean of contacts in hopes of getting opens. And better yet click throughs. Ah success!
Schools and districts are being courted in countless ways by K-12 vendors trying to cut through the noise of the marketplace to get their attention in hopes of your solution being chosen when the white smoke appears.
If this doesn’t apply don’t read on
Over the last 12 months I have kept in touch with school educators, K-12 vendor partners and educational professionals. As mentioned earlier, this is a very focused and sensitive time for educators and their schools. What I am sharing is not new and has been discussed many times and in many ways; but the more your sales and marketing teams are aware, the more opportunity you will have in engaging your customers.
First and utmost: Research your targeted list of customers and prospects in relation to how your solution will benefit them. There are many resources available from the school and or district website, board meeting minutes, community and state news, conference presentations, and even your network. If you understand your customer and their needs, the odds are in your favor in reaching your desired contact.
Second, you should have a well thought-out message that engages the desire to know more when you’re sales team call. Your message should be brief, accurate and in real-time need, based upon your research. Your message should be focused on the value your solution brings to the customer versus what your product management’s SPIN.
If your prospect is in the decision-making process and your sale is stalled, you will need to do more than just “Hi, I’m following up on our past conversations and emails.” Do your research and provide a value and benefit of how your solution will make a positive change … not just replace. If you have a champion, find them and coordinate a strategy to advance your solution through the decision process. Call on your references to see if they are open to a conversation with your prospect.
The key here is a focused approach prior to making your next call.
Research reveals it takes up to six attempts to reach a person and in many cases six different but related messages. This can be a combination of personal emails, company campaigns, industry related news, social media and phone calls. Yes, the dreaded phone call. And outbound not inbound!
Making calls is a numbers game as they say, but the odds can increase if you are better prepared and execute with the customer’s needs in mind.
What is your sales strategy to ending the 2017 - 2018 school year successfully. Let Forward Thinking Edu help your sales team approach each and every sale with skill and finesse. Contact us to discuss how you can turn opportunities into new business.