Insight October 24, 2017 Christopher Benevides

Top 10 Reasons Why Educational Sales Executives Can Fail

It would be great if there was a simple process to sell in the Education market. But the truth of the matter is – there’s no easy solution. Businesses in the Education space are faced with two macro challenges: knowing the complex and changing nature of the Education market, and defining a sales methodology that will drive revenue growth.

In addressing these challenges, Education companies must understand how to meet their customers’ needs. Therefore, we must define what return on investment (ROI) in the Education market means for prospective customers. In the B2B market, sales executives can explain ROI by showing how a solution can save businesses more time or money by promoting product features and benefits. In the Education market, the ROI is measured by student success.

It is important to remember that sales is the engine of your business and will have an impact on student outcomes. Having the right team in place that can successfully sell in the market is imperative to your revenue growth and impact in education as a whole.

Here are the top 10 reasons why educational sales executives can fail:

1. They cannot uncover customer pain.

  • Every institution and organization has pain points. Understanding that pain is vital so that you can provide solutions to help them with their challenges and to close deals. Sales executives who fail to uncover critical pain points will struggle because they cannot articulate a solution if they do not know what problem they are solving.

2. They cannot overcome roadblocks.

  • Sales executives will encounter objections as they try to build consensus. Knowing how to overcome these objections, like budget, time, competition, or something as simple as an administrative gatekeeper, is imperative to closing deals.

3. They fail to identify all of their decision maker(s).

  • Decisions in the Education space are often made by committee. Decision makers also differ between organizations. For example, decisions makers for schools will be very different than decision makers for a Parent-Teacher organization. Therefore, sales executives must identify who the key players are that make decisions and have an influence on decisions within each organization.

4. They fail to follow decision makers as they change positions.

  • Decision makers in Education often move between positions, and sales executives that fail to keep in touch with their customers and monitor their job moves will lose time reestablishing connections and opportunities.

5. They do not assist prospects with aligning funding to budget for a product or service.

  • Successful executives will help their customers budget for the product or service they are selling. Having a deep knowledge of Education funding and budgetary cycles can play a large role in a sales executive’s ability to close deals.

6. They lose sight of key metrics.

  • Their activity does not align with the sales metrics necessary to meet their goals. The inability to consistently hit basic metrics such as meetings and proposals will have a direct impact on a sales executive’s ability to hit quota goals.

7. They lack passion for student outcomes and aligning with the mission of the company.

  • “People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Simply stated, it is vital that sales executives show an interest in their customers. It fosters a natural connection with prospects and sales executives. Prospects must act as product evangelists, showing a connection to their customer.

8. They fail to navigate a multi-month (or multi-year) sales cycle.

  • Being able to manage the Education sales cycle requires a combination of patience and persistence. Understanding the length of a sales cycle (sometimes as long as 18 months) and the timing of follow ups (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) are both critical to the success of closing sales.

9. They are managed improperly.

  • Poor management can negatively impact a sales executive’s success by imparting a lack of focus, direction, and oversight. Poor coaching will not improve performance.

10. They lack internal drive.

  • Executives must have a proactive mentality in order to compete in the Education market. Failing to have this innate behavioral trait will cause your business to lose opportunities to competition. This can be uncovered through behavioral assessments.

These challenges are continuously felt by leaders whose teams are struggling to meet their goals. As the Education market continuously grows the team who are able to overcome these challenges will have greatest impact on revenue growth and the market as a whole.

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