The Calm before the Storm
As Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel, arguably one of the most well-informed education media platforms in the world, I take great interest in studying our research and sharing it with our industry partners. Because it is you, the purveyors and suppliers of our technology and curriculum, who are ultimately responsible for placing the needed tools in the hands of our educators.
Without you, we would not have made it through the pandemic.
Of course, I could also say without our teachers, our principals, our superintendents and our parents we would not have made it through the pandemic. To be sure, it has been a group effort. Everyone has stepped up. But I have a special place of pride in my heart for the work you have done and continue to do. You have been responsive, intuitive, ingenious, flexible and willing to not only do what was needed, but to do it without thought to personal or professional cost.
I talk to company leaders on a regular basis, very often, several per day. Some of you have struggled to make sales, but most of you have had the biggest year in the history of your companies. And to a person, each of you has entered the fray with a singular purpose: to find out what our learners need and give it to them. In many cases, that involved stopping what you were doing on a dime and shifting gears.
So, what’s next?
After the mad buying spree of 2020, it seems like schools have paused to catch their breath. For many of you, sales have slowed.
Is that it then? Are we going back to the long sales cycles and sales to “the usual suspects” of the pre-pandemic world?
Not on your life. What seems like schools stopping to catch their collective breath is exactly that. The changes we have witnessed during the pandemic are, for the most part, going to become permanent. This seemingly slow period is quite literally the calm before the storm. So, catch your breath. Regardless of what you have heard, sales are going to crank up again. Schools’ coffers have been refilled by the new stimulus money, and there is still a good bit of CARES Act money yet to be spent.
Ready, set, go
As school districts are evaluating their needs, now is the time to position yourself and get in front of the many decision-makers gathering information. You need to make yourself visible like you never have before. That means you need to carefully hone your pre-sales and sales teams. Make sure your remote selling apparatus is up to snuff. Just like last year, your sales are going to be done remotely. And like last year, you need to reach out to your districts, using podcasts, webinars, articles in the education press and a strong presence in virtual events.
Last year, many of you raced just to keep up with the sheer volume of sales you experienced. Much of the buying was panic buying on the part of districts. They were covering their bases because they weren’t sure how everything would shake out. Now, districts are realizing many of the changes are permanent, and they will be spending for the long haul. In all probability, last year’s record spend will be easily eclipsed by this year’s spend. And because the changes are becoming permanent, this year will be the year that you will gain significant market share and keep it.
You stepped up last year in a big way and earned your success. But more importantly, you earned the gratitude and respect of the school districts you served. Let’s keep it going. This year will set the tone for the entire decade of the roaring 20s. What you do now will chart the course for the coming years of your business. Be responsive. Be intuitive. Be ingenious. Be flexible. And most of all, be bold. Our learners are depending on you. And I know you won’t let them down.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.