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Selling to Schools. Education Industry Days February 20, 2014. Introduction. Session Summary. This session will help participants understand the ins and outs of selling into the K-12 Education market. The session will be oriented toward:

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selling to schools

Selling to Schools

Education Industry Days

February 20, 2014

session summary
Session Summary
  • This session will help participants understand the ins and outs of selling into the K-12 Education market.
  • The session will be oriented toward:
    • New/emerging entrepreneurs in the early stages of their company’s development
    • New education sales executives looking to gain more knowledge of how to successfully sell to K-12 customers.
session overview
Session Overview
  • Introduction
    • Summary of session
    • Learning objectives
  • Overview of the landscape of K-12
    • Key initiatives in K-12
  • Building a Sales Strategy
    • Average Deal Size
    • K-12 Sales Cycle
    • Buying Seasons
    • Decision-makers
  • Sales Models and Sales Team Structure
    • Direct, Indirect/Channel, Independent Sales Models
    • Inside, Outside/Field, Hybrid Sales Team Structures
session overview1
Session Overview
  • Sales Metrics
    • What are metrics
    • Metrics by example
  • Selling: The Details
    • 2 Keys to Successfully Sell into Schools
    • Identifying Your Decision-Makers
    • ROI for Education
    • Articulating Your Value Proposition
    • Feature Selling vs. Solution Selling
    • Using Funding
  • What to Look for When Hiring K-12 Sales Talent
    • What are the key traits to look for in K-12 Sales Talent
    • How to uncover if your candidate has these traits
  • Group Activity and Take Home Activity
  • Wrap Up
learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • By the end of this session, participants will learn:
    • What types of sales strategies, sales models, and sales team structures exist in the K-12 and what to consider when building your sales plan.
    • How to build sales metrics to measure your performance.
    • How to identify your K-12 decision-makers and articulate your value proposition in order to close sales.
    • How to use funding to sell.
    • What to look for when hiring Education sales talent.
the renaissance network
The Renaissance Network

Focused on building sales, marketing, and leadership teams for Education and Technology companies over 17 years.

We act as a trusted advisor for the US Education market to help our clients build an effective sales and hiring strategy to penetrate the market.

why is there an education market
Why is there an Education Market?

In order to understand how to sell into the K-12 Education market, we must first understand why the market exists.

How do I know I am receiving the best education?

How do I know my children are being adequately educated?

How do I know if my teachers are teaching in the best way for their students?

To successfully sell into the education space, we have to ensure that these questions are being answered!

us k 12 students and teachers
US K-12 Students and Teachers

Taught by 3.3M elementary and secondary teachers

technology technology technology
Technology, Technology, Technology
  • Technology is at the core of many school initiatives including:
    • Hardware
    • Software
    • Online teacher training
    • Wireless infrastructure
  • 75% of districts report stable or increasing technology budgets for the 2013-2014 school year
common core
Common Core
  • With 46 states + DC adopting CCSS, a majority of districts will drive towards purchasing new materials or products to help facilitate shifts to a standards-based education model.
    • 68% of districts plan to purchase new products for the 2014-2015 school year, a product of this shift.
your sales strategy is fundamental to your company s success
Your Sales Strategy is Fundamental to Your Company’s Success
  • Having the right sales strategy in place is fundamental to:
    • Revenue growth
    • Impacting student achievement
your sales strategy is fundamental to your company s success1
Your Sales Strategy is Fundamental to Your Company’s Success
  • It’s a disruptive, relatively new market with a ton of competition…
    • Your sales team must be able:
      • Capture market share from the competition
      • Bring on net new customers and retain business
average k 12 deal size
Average K-12 Deal Size
  • The average Deal Size, or average dollar amount, in K-12 can range from a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars.
    • Largely dependent on price point and pricing structure.
how your deal size impacts y our sale
How Your Deal Size Impacts Your Sale
  • The amount of $ your product typically will impact:
    • Who to sell to
    • When to sell
    • Complete sales process
  • Some States trigger an RFP for product needs which will result in a sale over a specific $ amount
      • Typically proposals must be in during the Spring
k 12 sales cycle
K-12 Sales Cycle
  • The Sales Cycle is largely dependent upon the deal size of your products and the products themselves.
    • The larger and more complex the deal, the longer the sales cycle.
    • Range: 2 weeks to 2 years (for major initiatives)
    • Typical: 6-9 months
typical buying seasons in k 12
Typical Buying Seasons in K-12
  • The Buying Season is largely dependent upon the school calendar year and your product.
    • Needs Assessment: Spring through mid-Fall
    • Purchasing Decisions: Fall through Spring
      • For more complex sales, you typically start 9+ months out
  • Sales activities must be completed all year
key decision makers in k 12
Key Decision-makers in K-12

Federal Purchase for all (or some) States, Districts, and Schools by Federal Department of Education

State Purchase for all Districts and Schools by State Department of Education

District-wide (a conglomerate of 2 or more schools within a region) by a superintendent, chief technology officer, chief curriculum officer, school board

Individual School purchase by a principal, head of curriculum, PD coach

Individual classroom purchase by a teacher

piloting your product what start ups should know
Piloting Your Product: What Start-ups Should Know
  • Launch test cases with pilot programs at least a year out of driving sales
    • Collect “success data” to use as testimonial evidence when officially selling your product
  • Free pilots can be a double-edged sword:
    • Many districts won’t want to buy what they had before for free
sales models and structure
Sales Models and Structure

When considering building a sales team, your:

  • deal size,
  • sales cycle,
  • and your decision makers

all factor into the sales model and the sales team structure you will need to be successful.

sales models direct sales
Sales Models: Direct Sales
  • Employees of your company
  • Compensation: base salary + commissions
    • Base salary: roughly 60% of total earnings
    • Commissions: 40% of total earnings, often based on quota attainment
      • Ideally uncapped to reward for over-performance
      • Percentages paid on revenue can vary
sales models indirect or channel sales
Sales Models: Indirect or Channel Sales
  • Selling through a dealer/reseller partnership
    • Dealer will have a team of sales executives
    • You may need a channel manager who is an employee of your organization to manage the partnership
    • Many products will be represented by the dealer
  • Compensation (paid by dealer):
    • Base salary: 70-75% of total earnings
    • Commissions: typically flat $ amounts based on concrete goals
sales models independent sales representatives
Sales Models: Independent Sales Representatives
  • Individuals who represent multiple organizations and products without being employed by any particular organization
  • Compensation:
    • Base Salary: none
    • Commissions: 100% of a rep’s income
comparing sales models
Comparing Sales Models

* You can build a hybrid sales model.

sales team structure inside sales teams
Sales Team Structure: Inside Sales Teams
  • One or more individuals will sell your product(s) over the phone, email, video conference, and webinar from your headquarters.
    • Typically most effective for selling smaller price-point deals which are less complex and do not require consultation face-to-face.
sales team structure outside or field sales teams
Sales Team Structure: Outside or Field Sales Teams

One or more individuals who travel to their customers to sell.

Typically, field sales representatives will work out of a home office and live within their assigned territory.

sales team structure hybrid inside and outside team
Sales Team Structure: Hybrid Inside and Outside Team

Inside team: responsible for smaller deals, lead generation of large deals to the field team, and account management.

Field team: works closely with an inside sales representative on larger, more complex deals which require face-to-face consultation

sales metrics1
Sales Metrics

A collection of individual and organizational performance indicators which allow you to break down what (and how many) sales activities are necessary to meet your yearly revenue goals.

creating your own sales metrics
Creating Your Own Sales Metrics

Based on your annual financial goal, you can determine what activities (phone calls, meetings, proposals) must be performed to meet your goals.

a long and arduous process
A Long and Arduous Process
  • Selling into schools can be a long and frustrating process.
    • Why?
      • Because you are asking teachers, administrators, and students to change habits and alter their past method of performance– this can cause great stress on an organization
  • To have your product purchased and implemented, you need buy in from many decision-makers.
2 keys to successfully sell into schools
2 Keys to Successfully Sell into Schools

Your company’s ability to build and leverage customer relationships.

Your company’s ability to articulate your value proposition in terms of student, teacher, or school success.

building relationships identifying your decision maker
Building Relationships: Identifying Your Decision-maker
  • To build and leverage the right relationships you must identify your key decision-makers:
    • These will be both the person who will sign your contract and the end users of your products.
    • Therefore you must sell both from the top down and the bottom up.
every cause needs a champion
Every Cause Needs a Champion

Usually your product’s champion will be a respected teacher/administrator who will motivate others to buy into your product’s use

Once you sell, use your product’s champion (either a teacher or a higher-level official), for testimonial evidence to help you sell.

there is no roi in k 12

ROI is vastly different in the Education space in comparison to other industries.

In fact, using ROI terminology may turn off your K-12 Customer.

what is the k 12 equivalent of roi
What is the K-12 Equivalent of ROI?
  • K-12 decision-makers are reluctant to invest in products unless:
    • They believe the product will have a clear, positive impacton the classroom
    • They believe the product will increase student achievement
    • They believe the product will provide relief to teachers which will positively impact student performance
articulating your value proposition
Articulating Your Value Proposition

Your ability to articulate your value proposition (why your customer should chose your product) in terms of student, teacher, or school success is fundamental to close a sale.

feature selling vs solution selling
Feature Selling vs. Solution Selling
  • Don’t sell technology and its functions
    • Schools don’t exist for the purpose of using technology
  • Don’t sell the table of contents of your textbook
    • Instead, point to clear positive solutions teaching your content can provide
solution selling a how to
Solution Selling: A How To
  • Know the landscape of your customer’s school very specifically
    • What is its mission?
    • What are its key initiatives?
    • What are the biggest challenges?
  • Ask your customer consultative questions to uncover your customer’s struggles before you mention your product.
  • Then align your product to a concrete solution which you can offer your customer based on the specific challenges or initiatives in the school.
    • Point to the positive outcomes that your product provides.
if price point is an objection point to funding
If price point is an objection, point to funding!

There is a growing trend that funding (both at federal and state level) is used for specific initiatives in school.

Know what funding your customer has, what it must be used for, and align your product to the funding.

what to look for when you are hiring for k 12 sales talent
What to look for when you are hiring for K-12 Sales Talent

Experience selling into K-12 (rather than HiEd or other markets)

Experience selling similar deal sizes to yours

Experience selling within a similar sales cycle to yours

Key contacts and decision makers which are the same as yours

Knowledge of funding opportunities

Knowledge of key initiatives within schools in his/her territory

A solution selling approach vs. feature sales approach

additional hiring tips
Additional Hiring Tips
  • If you have an open or underperforming territory, don’t wait to fix it!
    • Lost sales and lost pipeline will set you back.
  • When you start to hire, move quickly and efficiently- the shorter your timeline to hire the shorter your timeline to sales impact.
  • Don’t always hire from within your own network
    • The top candidate is the one selling to your customers for someone else.
  • Have a structured hiring and interview process
    • Use behavioral-based interview questions specific to K-12
    • Use a customized sales assessment
value proposition mad libs
Value Proposition Mad Libs

For(target K-12 customer),who has (customer need), (product name) is a (market category)that (one key benefit) that can cause (student/administrator/educator outcome).

articulating your value proposition1
Articulating Your Value Proposition
  • Form groups of four to six (4-6).
  • Within your group, nominate a sales person to target and pitch his/her value proposition mad lib to a series of key customers.
  • The other members of the group will choose from the following roles:
    • Teacher
    • Administrator,
    • Chief Technology officer
    • Curriculum Director
    • Principal/Superintendent
  • The sales person must ask appropriate questions to their group members to uncover what are the key issues for each decision-maker.
  • The sales person must then pitch their product as it relates to the decision maker they are targetingcustomizing their mad lib.
  • As a group, develop the core objections for the product being pitched; work with the sales person to rebut objections.
wrapping up
Wrapping Up
  • Building the right sales strategy is fundamental to your success; choose the sales model and team structure that will align to your growth goals.
  • Sales Metrics: build them specifically so they align to your revenue goals
  • Target the appropriate decision-maker for your product and use product champions to help you get through the door.
  • Align key funding or other initiatives to successfully close sales.
  • Sell solutions not products: schools don’t exist for your product; they exist to provide strong education and your products must be a solution to the core challenges which impact education.
  • When building your sales team, make sure you uncover the right type of sales talent for your needs.
Q & A

Contact Information:

Lisa Sacchetti, CEO

The Renaissance Network, Inc.

Sales Team Expansion Specialists for Education and Technology