How to Survive and Thrive in a Competitive Market
As bleak as the pandemic situation looks today, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are on the way, and before we know it, K-12 schools and college campuses will reopen – hopefully for good. And when those doors open again, one thing is for certain: armies of salespeople will swarm educators’ offices like never before.
In our March 2021 CB&A Expert Series webinar, Matt Gambino, founder at PROPEL Skills Development, explained how edtech sales teams can survive and thrive in what promises to be a hyper competitive environment.
View the webinar: EdTech Selling Post-COVID: How to Thrive in a Competitive Market
Read on for three tips from the event.
Tip #1: Consider how you are presenting your company
“It’s no secret that districts, colleges, schools, universities should be thinking of things like learning gaps, learning loss and ‘COVID slide’ – it’s our job as service providers in education to prompt that conversation. I think a lot of prospective customers are going to be looking at us with some skepticism that they may not have had before.” –Matt Gambino, founder at PROPEL Skills Development
When the pandemic hit, districts and universities had to adapt and react quickly. Schools, colleges and other education institutions shut down and shifted to remote learning, working to overcome challenges along the way.
When conducting an edtech sales conversation, it’s important to consider how you are presenting your company, product and/or service to prospective customers, and work to meet their specific needs.
“Be careful about how you articulate the value of your product and focus on timeless learning first.” –Matt Gambino, founder at PROPEL Skills Development
Tip #2: Align your edtech company to the timeless learning continuum
“There’s a difference between trying to convince an educator that they need to be looking at your company only because you have the best solution ever to make up for COVID learning loss, and acknowledging what timeless teaching and learning means – and where your product fits into the timeless learning continuum.” –Matt Gambino, founder at PROPEL Skills Development
Before selling a product or service to an institution, it’s important to take a step back, and align your edtech company to the timeless learning continuum.
Timeless learning was the topic of discussion during a webinar hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education, where Pam Moran and Ira Socol discussed their book, Timeless Learning: How Imagination, Observation, and Zero-based Thinking Change Schools.
During the event, Socol explains the relationship between technology and timeless learning: “How does technology change the classroom and bring us to the natural learning we’re hoping for?” If you use your technology well, it’s an incredible collaboration tool, it’s an incredible investigation tool, it’s an incredible connection tool to link rural kids, or urban kids to a world they never get to see. “
So – take a moment to consider what makes your company unique and how it (specifically) supports timeless learning, and use that to fuel your edtech sales strategy.
Tip #3: Consult first
“Marketing is vital; however, I want to advise you, when salespeople begin to flood campuses again, I want you to play chess. A good chess player is going to predict that people are going to come armed with a ton of collateral, which they’re going to leave with customers. I want you to resist the temptation to do that and consult first.” –Matt Gambino, founder at PROPEL Skills Development
According to Gambino, edtech sales teams need to play chess – forecast your opponent’s (competitor’s) move and strategize accordingly.
Here’s an example. Imagine it’s your first, introductory meeting with a prospect. Instead of jumping in and talking about your company, you’re going to use that first meeting to get to know your customer and their specific needs.
You’re going to use that initial, exploratory conversation to better understand how timeless learning is being impacted by the pandemic, and then reach out with a follow-up message to explain how your company can help.
EdTech Sales Follow-up Message Template
Hi, [PROSPECT’s NAME]
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with me on [DAY].
During our conversation, you told me… [you need a better way to make up for the lack of coaching that’s been happening on campus over the past year]
You said… [you need a way to inform more robust discussion]
In our meeting, we agreed our next step would be… [to set up a conversation with you and the rest of your department]
I’m available…. [next Monday or Tuesday from 11AM to 4PM, let me know what works]
Best, [YOUR NAME]
For additional edtech sales tips, watch the EdTech Selling Post-COVID webinar.