Sales Enablement for the Education Channel…What the What?!

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EdTech

How we help our clients understand and communicate effectively in the K-12 education market.

When you work in education, you often hear a version of the following from those looking to sell their product or service to one of the roughly 13,000 school districts in the United States:

"We really care a lot about educators. In fact, my mother was a teacher and I saw how hard she worked, and that really made an impression on me. So, we really understand the needs of education."

While I understand and respect that perspective–of seeing a parent work hard as an educator–it far too often betrays a host of incorrect assumptions about how educational institutions operate, including:

  1. Education hasn’t changed from when their parents (or grandparents) were teaching – when digital curriculum, ubiquitous connected devices, and generative AI are radically reshaping the classroom experience;
  2. Educators decide what to purchase and use in their classroom – most purchasing decisions are made at the district office by ITDMs–instructional technology decision-makers–in the curriculum or technology departments; and
  3. A sample size of one – Educators rarely act alone anymore; they are part of communities of practice, serve as advisers and evaluators on purchasing committees, and collaborate with their peers using complex data systems and tools to inform their instructional decision making.

So, how can a company trying to sell to K-12 educational institutions both empathize with the plight of educators and embrace a strategy that isn’t rooted in outdated assumptions? The answer, of course, is sales enablement!

“Digital curriculum, ubiquitous connected devices, and generative AI are radically reshaping the classroom experience.”

Just as medical doctors attend seminars and workshops to learn the latest and greatest medical procedures and educators attend professional development to enhance their pedagogy, sellers need similar training and tools to help them skill up and better understand the process and practice of education.

At the most basic level, sales enablement materials are tools and resources that help salespeople:

  1. Better understand the K-12 market — and its stakeholders, decision makers, and influencers;
  2. Explain their value proposition — as it relates to the needs of education;
  3. Be prepared to handle objections — in ways that make sense to ITDMs;
  4. Quantify the meaningful ways their solution aligns to their customer’s priorities;
  5. Excite and inspire customers to envision achieving results with their solutions; and ideally,
  6. Empathize with the challenges that educators and school administrators face every day.

Enabling Sales in the K-12 Education Market

When a client hires us to develop sales enablement materials, we begin with a discovery process to understand the functionality of their solution and its alignment to the needs of education, tease out the value proposition, differentiators, and benefits, and explore how their offering compares to others in the K-12 education market. Having us do this analysis also helps uncover assumptions, biases, and gaps in any product and marketing strategy.