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How to sell educational resources to primary schools?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by charlieseymour01, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Hi there

    I came across this thread (https://community.tes.com/threads/how-to-sell-educational-resources.417646/) from 2010, and because everyone responding seemed so friendly and willing to help that I thought I'd see what the advice was 10 years on! :eek:

    I have a very similar problem. I am trying to sell a new eLearning platform (basically think VR experiences for schools, but like Google StreetView) which officially launched in January this year.

    The website still receives very little traffic, and the only consistent advice on marketing to schools is to give away freebies and let it grow naturally through word of mouth. But in a world now filled with influencers and marketing gurus, everyone is sceptical of sales and marketing (myself included) and we're just another voice in the crowd!

    We have sent brochures, have an active YouTube channel and exhibited at the Schools and Academies show last year. Last month I was guest speaker at a small EdTech conference. Although I have avoided emails and cold-calls, we are now looking at an external email marketing company to cast the net wider.

    When I've spoken to teachers, they generally tell me it's a great idea, they'd definitely use it in the classroom, they love the content, the cost is amazing and absolutely no barrier - but still no one is buying!

    What makes you want to buy and what turns you off?
    Any snippets of advice would be *VERY* much appreciated!

    Thanks :)
  2. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Not sure WD is the correct place for this. Try the secondary and primary forums. also SLT - schools have little budget and majority of teachers have no budget control and no time or energy. I have seen many new products and resources over the years which I would have loved to buy but sadly could not afford. Requests for money were often met with a requirement to write a lengthy submission to justify said purchase. I am sure you have a fantastic product and if I had the 'magic words' I would definitely tell you. For a consultancy fee of course.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't think we'd buy an e-learning platform these days.
    The internet is so easy to use, we have software that means children can't access anything untoward, lots of free children's sites on the net.
    However fab an e-learning platform you've created, I fear you may have missed the boat somewhat.
    Luvsskiing likes this.
  4. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I really wouldn’t bother with this. We already get so many junk emails trying to sell us stuff and they all just get deleted unread, or filtered-out by admin/office staff.

    In terms of advice - You need to be very clear about what makes your product better from the many that are already available and how realistic your pricing structure is. You also need to understand the current challenges schools are facing on curriculum development and have a very clear message about how your product can help support with that. Have you read the new inspection framework for instance?

    It might be tricky, but you really need to make direct contact with relevant leaders in schools and persuade them to allow you to come and demonstrate what you can do. You’d be more likely to get though the door of you offered a bit of free kit or maybe to lead some form of activity that shows off the benefits of whatever you’re selling.
    HolyMahogany likes this.
  5. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Just checking, you know this has already existed for years?
  6. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    As has been said marketing emails and brochures are not the way to go. There’s are instantly binned / deleted. If I get cold calling emails because someone has guessed email address, I’ll block them.

    It’s about sharing in an arena where people are actively looking. Sharing something which instantly shares what your product is. It’s more targeted online advertising. It’s developing relationships with people. Could it be going to local networks and giving a freebie or very quick demo? It’s a case of linking up with the core LA or MAT person. Both have conferences. Is it about targeting a group? NQTs, ITE provider or curriculum leads? I’ve worked in lots of contexts- I’d know who to target in each and would apply to other contexts with similar models. You need to target those who make the purchasing decisions. It’s great teachers say they’ll use in classroom- however they’re not in control of school budgets. Most such systems I’ve seen introduced have come in via free trial or select purchased time limited trial (one teacher or one school trials on behalf of school or MAT). If I was going to consider purchasing, I’d need to see my teachers using it with the children and know it’s something that adds value (and is not a burden for them to use).

    If you’re the sales person, your description of it does not draw me in. It sounds vague and dated. Instantly we need to know what it us, the USP and how it will make a difference. Schools care about learning and supporting teachers with wellbeing around workload. An e-learning platform sounds nearly 15-20 years out of date (that’s when I last heard of them). What makes yours different or special?
    Pomza likes this.
  7. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Thanks for all of the replies!

    starlightexpress - thanks for the ideas.

    I was deliberately vague as I didn't want it to come across as a sales pitch! :oops:

    However, in a nutshell, the platform offers VR experiences like going to the Moon, stepping into the WW1 trenches, 360 fairytales etc. The USP is the delivery - cloud based, Google classroom compatible, and works on devices schools already own (interactive whiteboard for whole-class teaching, tablet with gyroscope or touch input, laptops, Google Cardboard VR headsets) so there are no additional costs, plus teaching resources written by our in-house teacher to tie it all together.

    It's £399 per primary school per year - so very affordable.
    There is also free membership with limited content, and a YouTube channel with free 360 content.

    Hopefully that explains a little better and it no longer sounds dated...?!

    Pomza - don't bother with emails is the general advice I've had (which is why I've not pursued it til now) however, this is a commission based marketing campaign so we don't really have anything to lose...o_O

    I've reviewed the latest OFSTED framework and it ticks most of the boxes. A couple aren't really relevant and others we will introduce in time.

    I will take the rest of your comments on board - thanks!

    Are you thinking of Google Expeditions? It works in a similar way, but ours is much more tailored to specific curriculum requirements with interactive elements.
    starlightexpress likes this.
  8. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Also, I am absolutely not a sales person by trade, as you can probably tell. I have responsibility for this new department which is basically running as a startup so I'm the default until we make enough sales to qualify the need for a 'real' sales person!
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Actually it sounds good - could you PM me a link?
  10. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Of course! :)
  11. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    It looks like I can't start conversations as a new member :(
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you say so...
    We definitely couldn't spend four hundred pounds on any such thing!

    Maybe consider a sliding scale of cost for different size schools?
  13. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Have a look at LinkedIn business membership. Watch their training videos and see how to target the right people. An increasing number of schools are signing up to this platform (there will be posters here who deny it).

    Facebook and Twitter can also help reach your target market. For all three, expect to pay.

    If you are not a sales oriented person, these can help.

    It is an often unrecognised by non-business people that it isn’t always the best product that sells the most, but the one with the best sales and marketing machine.

    Don’t worry about a crowded market. These exist because they have a lot of customers. Finding a truly unique niche is almost impossible.

    Good luck with your venture... go for it
  14. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    That does sound much better! Less dated definitely. I did wonder if you were holding back and not wishing to appear sales pitch.

    I definitely think take it to MATs. Get it trialled for free, then rolled out.

    Offer it out to new free schools. There’s funding for decent IT equipment and this will run nicely alongside it.

    Also send out to key people on Twitter. Again, free, but if liked it will be promoted.

    Agree with caterpillartobutterfly regarding cost. £399 is good for larger primaries. For smaller, maybe £1/child on roll?

    Are you on LinkedIn?
  15. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Thanks for the ideas (and moral support!) LinkedIn is an interesting one...I'll take a look. :)
  16. charlieseymour01

    charlieseymour01 New commenter

    Phew :D

    It is currently being trialled by a school within a trust, I have approached a number of MATs (by email) with free trial opportunities, but didn't get any responses. What would be the best way to approach?

    Interesting points about price - we have a separate costing for schools with over 600 pupils, but I'll look at separate costing options for the smaller schools too.

    Yes, my own and the company has a page too.
  17. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Build up a base by marketing to private schools and international schools. They're more likely to buy things like this to try and offer something different to the others. And it's not a lot of money for them.
    Chinese schools would enjoy these kind of things and there isn't a lot of Chinese provision of it.
    Hand out a few trials to schools and get them to review it as a trade. Get small independent schools to trial it too to get some reviews in and a bit of backing to the brand.
  18. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    Have you thought of taking a stand at conferences or similar? Many of them will pop your flyer on a chair for a price too.
  19. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    If you're emailing, please make sure you're emailing the right person. As a maths specialist, who does some A Level, but mostly gcse, my email has made it onto a list somewhere, and I receive at least 20 emails per week about possibly new resources. Most aren't applicable to me, and even if they are, I'm not likly to email my head each time I get one. Emailing the BM or head would be far more likely to get a response

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