How can education companies assemble sales and marketing teams that consistently deliver impressive results? During a recent webinar hosted by C. Blohm & Associates, guest speaker Paula Reed, President and CEO of BizEducation Consulting, shared the following advice for how to create education sales and marketing teams that will position companies for success.
View the Webinar: How to Navigate Sales in the K-12 Education Market
Look at candidates’ skill sets, not just their experience.
Labor markets are very tight right now, and finding highly qualified employees has become as difficult for education marketers as it has in other sectors. Hiring team members who have prior education sales and marketing experience can be particularly challenging, which is why Reed suggests that employers think outside the box when reviewing candidates.
For instance, evaluate candidates’ skill sets and not just their experience in the education market, she advises: “How is the candidate at building relationships? Can they put together a coherent presentation and professionally engage listeners? Do they have the ability to articulate the features and benefits of a product to solve a challenge or problem? Can they tell good stories? Are they a good listener? Are they creative? Are they goal-oriented?”
Hiring from outside the education market not only broadens the talent pool from which you can choose, Reed says; it also helps you bring in outside voices who can lend new perspectives that you might not have considered before.
Focus on diversity.
When you seek new hires, are you making sure your sales and marketing teams are as diverse as the districts you’re looking to serve?
“School district leaders are visiting your website to see who’s employed by your organization,” Reed observes. “When they see no diversity, they may move on. I’ve been told by some districts that what turns them off is when they see companies say they support equity, yet they don’t practice what they preach. Believe me, school districts are watching.”
Support your teams with ongoing training and coaching.
Even the best candidates need sustained learning opportunities and a roadmap for success.
“I’m not talking about training in how your product works or its features and benefits,” Reed says. “I’m talking about how one writes an effective email to a superintendent. How one respectfully connects with administrators at a conference or event. How to manage a business dinner, or how to create or run a school district meeting.”
Think about creating a coaching or mentorship program for sales and marketing professionals, Reed recommends. Establish a formal onboarding and training program for sales staff, and make sure your marketing team attends as well. Provide modeling or job shadowing opportunities before new hires go it alone.
“These strategies work well whether you’re bringing new people on board or backtracking to beef up the teams you currently have,” she says.
For more expert advice from Reed on how to successfully navigate education sales and marketing, see her full presentation here.