Reflecting on the Evolution of Sales in EdTech

Reflecting on the Evolution of Sales in EdTech Partner in Publishing

By Laura Mann, Vice President, Business Development

Traditional Sales

Throughout nearly 30 years in higher education, I’ve had the opportunity to bear witness to the ways in which sales processes have changed and in some cases, completely transformed. For example, years ago, sales people were hired based on four main criteria: their ability to be empathetic, ask thought provoking questions, identify customer needs and provide product recommendations. These four criteria, in turn, produced one invaluable thing: trust; trust from the company and trust on the part of the customer. For much of my career, this formula was effective- trust was the key to sales.

Efficiencies and Drawbacks of CRM Implementation

In the early 2000s, the world of higher ed experienced a palpable shift with the introduction of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. CRMs were designed to streamline and standardize the sales pipeline and increase customer retention. By 2018, the rapid explosion of CRMs was apparent and today, nearly 87% of businesses (across industries) use a CRM system in some capacity. In higher education specifically, the adaptation of the CRM didn’t come without its challenges.
In my experience, I have seen certain drawbacks that resulted not from the platform itself, but from poor platform implementation. In situations where CRM platforms weren’t effectively accounted for in the sales strategy, reps became responsible for tedious activity tracking- logging notes, calls, issuing customer reports, etc. As a consequence of insufficient training and adaptation, many sales reps spent more time with growing administrative duties, and less time building customer relationships. In these instances, the shift in focus to the platform inadvertently decentered the customer. The customer was no longer the main focal point, instead, the priority became the quantity of activity rather than the quality of activity. Ultimately, without strong customer relationships, the trust that was once the foundation of sales strategies began to deteriorate and revenue decreased.

What’s Next?

It’s safe to say that CRMs and similar platforms will continue to be a central component of the sales process in EdTech for years to come. As technology evolves and sales processes transform, it’s crucial that we find ways to keep the customer at the center… of everything. Similarly, we must ensure that developments in our sales strategies allow sales reps the space to do their jobs effectively, without added expectations such as additional administrative duties, acting as technical support, or facilitating customer onboarding.

It’s important to be confident that your sales team is equipped with resources to remain steadfast in your commitment to your customers. No matter the reach of your sales team, from open sales territory coverage to CRM support and sales collateral, Partner in Publishing can manage your sales process.

Visit the sales and business development page to learn more about our sales support.

Laura Mann Vice President, Business Development Partner in Publishing

About the Author

Laura Mann serves as Vice President of Business Development Partner at Partner in Publishing (PIP). With more than 25 years of experience in higher education sales and market development, Laura expands business by prospecting, developing, and identifying the emerging solutions within EdTech.

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