As funding changes come down the pike for FY18, education vendors should look to enhance flexibility in their offerings. Your education marketing team can view this annual process as an opportunity to collaborate more with customers, and confirm that you are fulfilling their needs.
To round out our Dollars and Sense series on education policy and advocacy, we present some tips to help you adapt to changing needs in the educational landscape. If you missed the preceding blog posts in the series, be sure to check out this summary of the ISTE Policy and a Chaser event hosted by CB&A and Winter Group, as well as our guide and tips on staying informed.
As FY18 budget allocations become more concrete, you can begin to plan for potential changes by considering these suggestions.
Create conversations with customers about money streams and budgets
Being proactive about funding conversations has multiple benefits. It shows customers that you are willing to work with them to design the budget needed to maintain your services. These discussions can lead to new solutions that your customer may not have considered without your direct input.
For example, if schools are paying for your program with Title II funding, it’s important to know any Title II changes on the horizon that may affect their eligibility.
Identify strategies that flow with funding streams
There are a variety of ways to locate different funding streams. Some of these strategies might be specific to your products or services. For example, if schools typically pay for your services through Title II funding, there could be wiggle room to use Title IV funding for professional development in technology.
Another option for flexible budgeting is to spread payment across several budget buckets. Districts can use multiple purchase orders for a complex purchase, drawing from several funding streams. When negotiating sales, ask your customers if they need help with modular sales processes.
Be flexible with contract timing
For sales that require districts to sign multi-year contracts, it can be challenging for decision-makers to know what they can spend. To meet district needs, consider adjusting contract specifications to be sure that customers can comfortably commit to the spending required.
Create an internal guide for navigating budgets
A helpful addition to this document is a list of frequently asked questions. With ready-to-go answers, your education marketing team will address funding concerns from customers more confidently, and build long-term relationships.
Any uncertainty about future education funding should be seen as an opportunity to build customer relationships and demonstrate flexibility in your service and product offerings. Be resourceful, and show districts that you can meet their needs.
For additional assistance in addressing this challenge in your education marketing, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.