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We see the fusion between education and ed-tech is redefining the traditional learning playbook. More and more institutions are adopting more accessible, interactive, and personalized educational experiences.
Interestingly, ed-tech school usage has increased by 99% in the past 3 years.
However, you must think beyond offering quality products and services to thrive in the ed-tech industry.
You need the ability to navigate the intricate web of decision-makers who influence the adoption of educational technologies.
But who has the authority to decide, and how can your business find and approach them?
Our guide has all the answers. We share the ways of identifying and engaging with the right individuals.
Let’s understand the types of decision-makers in the education business.
What Is the Decision-Making Hierarchy in the Education Ecosystem?
It is a structured framework defining critical stakeholders' roles and responsibilities.
Understanding the structure helps in creating education lead-generation strategies that target high-value decision-makers.
Here is the list of key individuals that make up the hierarchy:
1. Superintendents and School Board Members
They hold the power to steer the overall direction of educational institutions. Their main task is to make strategic decisions about:
- Technology adoption
- Budget allocation
You need to adopt the following approach to impress these individuals:
- Customized Solutions: use tailored ed-tech offerings to address specific educational needs, aligning with the institution’s curriculum goals. Custom product demonstrations, workshops, or pilot programs can help your target education industry decision-makers experience the benefits firsthand.
- Data-driven Results: Show evidence of positive outcomes from previous school clients in the form of case studies or research papers.
- Cost-Benefit Analysis: Clearly articulate the financial advantages of the ed-tech products to amaze board members. It’s a good idea to show how your solution can optimize their budget allocation by increasing efficiency and reducing long-term costs.
2. Principals and Assistant Principals
Operating at the school level, these individuals are on the front lines of education. They oversee day-to-day operations and act as conduits between board decisions and the practical tool implementation in the classroom.
Thus, they play an essential role in evaluating ed-tech solutions. However, the significance of their feedback varies on how much they can influence:
- Student learning
- Teacher effectiveness
- Operational efficiency
They ensure the chosen solutions align with their institution's needs and dynamics.
The best approaches to appeal to principals include:
- Student-Centric Benefits: You must showcase features that enhance engagement, personalized learning experiences, and overall academic outcomes. This decision-makers group often supports tools that directly contribute to the success and progress of students.
- Teacher Empowerment: Offer streamlined lesson planning and effective classroom management to impress authority members. It may involve a seamless online coaching set, remote training, etc.
- Operational Efficiency Gains: Portray streamlined administrative tasks and reduced workload with the offered solution.
3. Technology Directors and Instructional Technology Coordinators
These individuals ensure the chosen ed-tech tools seamlessly integrate into existing infrastructures. They also contribute to technologically advanced and pedagogically effective learning.
Here's how to impress them:
- Seamless Integration Support: Your offered solution should show compatibility, minimize disruptions, and ensure a smooth transition. Also, you should provide comprehensive customer support, such as documentation, training sessions, and responsive customer service.
- Learning Effectiveness: Your solution must have proven learning outcomes, increased student engagement, and enhanced teaching methodologies. Testimonials from other educational institutions highlighting your product's positive impact on educators and students is a way to show effectiveness.
4. Curriculum Coordinators and Department Heads
They have a nuanced understanding of specific subject areas. Thus, the heads provide valuable input on aligning ed-tech solutions with curricular goals and teaching practices.
They ensure innovative solutions are conducive to each subject area's educational content and methodologies.
Here is how to entice them:
- Pitch-Specific Curricular Goals: You should clearly understand specific curricula' unique challenges and educational objectives. Thus, you can suggest exclusive practices to department heads to achieve the set goals.
- Collaboration and Professional Development: You should support collaborative lesson planning, resource sharing, and smooth coordination among educators.
Who Are the Hidden Decision-Makers in Education Business?
The visible hierarchy of titles and positions mentioned above only scratches the surface. A cadre of hidden influencers exists beyond the superintendent's office and the school board meetings. Their perspectives and opinions can significantly shape the course of technology adoption within the educational ecosystem.
These influencers are often composed of teachers, parents, and community members.
Here's how these hidden influencers impact the decision-making process:
As the backbone of the education system, teachers stand on the front lines of the classroom. They firsthand experience the impact of technological interventions.
For example, incorporating an online teaching platform for remote students depends on their suggestions. It’s because they are the ones who will use the platform for daily lectures.
They are the ones who witness how ed-tech solutions:
- Resonate with students
- Enhance engagement
- Streamline instructional processes
Their experiences and feedback, therefore, hold immense weight when making technology adoption decisions.
Thus, you must engage with teachers, understand their needs, and incorporate their insights to design their sales process.
Nowadays, there's an increase in parental involvement in education. Parents can exert influence by championing specific ed-tech solutions that align with their values and expectations for their child's education.
Their experience-based perspective and interest in their children's academic journey are crucial to the decision-making process.
Thus, you must acknowledge and understand parental perspectives. Parents' support can significantly impact the acceptance and success of technology integration initiatives.
3. Community Members
Beyond the immediate educational community, active members such as Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) leaders or local business representatives can influence school board decisions.
Due to a genuine interest in educational innovation, their advocacy can sway opinions on technology purchases.
Businesses should consider community members' insights. They can show target stakeholders the broader social and cultural context around tech implementation in the academic environment.
However, they need to find their targeted decision-makers among the diverse base of these stakeholders.
Traditional Methods for Identifying Decision-Makers
Here are three conventional methods you can use to find education business decision-makers:
LinkedIn is the best professional networking platform for B2B lead generation. It features a filtered search option to find targeted decision-makers. You can get insights into individuals' job titles, roles, and connections within a company.
You can upgrade to LinkedIn’s paid service- Sales Navigator. The service offers more advanced search filters, including:
- Company size
- Seniority level
This service also gathers information like:
- Individuals who have recently changed job roles
- Users who have posted on LinkedIn, sharing their experiences, or have been featured in the news
Thus, LinkedIn has become an excellent tool to identify target decision-makers and understand their professional backgrounds.
Limitations: Not all decision-makers may have a LinkedIn profile. Even if they do, the information on their roles and responsibilities may be outdated. Sometimes, LinkedIn profiles may not accurately reflect a company's hierarchy and decision-making structure.
2. Company Websites
Many companies provide organizational charts, executive bios, and contact information on their official websites. Typically, you can discover such information on the "About" page of the website. The page usually lists the company's leadership team. Additionally, executive profiles of the company display the personnel's full names and their respective job roles.
These are valuable resources for understanding the organizational structure and identifying key decision-makers.
Limitations: Smaller companies or startups may not have detailed website information. Larger organizations may have complex structures. The information may not always be easily accessible, up-to-date, or accurate. Additionally, decision-makers may not always be prominently featured on the website.
3. Industry Directories
You can access centralized sources for key personnel details across various industries via industry-specific databases. By consulting these directories, you can efficiently navigate through organizational hierarchies. It helps gain insights into the roles and responsibilities of decision-makers.
These platforms often include profiles of executives, managers, and leaders and links to the company's official website. Thus, such databases can provide a comprehensive view of the professionals in a particular sector.
Limitations: The information in industry directories may not always be current or accurate. It may also be limited in scope, especially for niche industries or emerging sectors. Relying solely on directories may result in overlooking key decision-makers who are not listed.
The above methods can be effective, but they may lack accuracy. A study shows how inaccurate data negatively impacted 88% of businesses. Thus, you need to think beyond these traditional methods that can provide more accurate information.
Modern and More Effective Strategies to Find Decision Makers
Besides conventional methods, you can use more advanced education sector lead gen tactics.
Among all, the most impactful methods are listed below:
1. Social Media Intelligence (SMI)
It is also known as social media monitoring or social listening. Use it to monitor social media channels for mentions, keywords, and conversations relevant to your brand, industry, or topic.
- Brand mentions
- Lead engagements on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and educational forums.
Thus, you can quickly pinpoint the influential voices of their target decision-makers.
For instance, you can track hot discussions around the education-based issue your solution solves across social channels. It’ll help you create appealing posts to entice decision-makers who are active on their respective channels.
Besides static posts, you can upload videos, product photos, or text updates.
2. Patent Filings
Patent data encompasses the technical details in patent documents and pertinent legal and business-related information. They typically include an initial page containing fundamental details like the invention's title and name.
Thus, you can build a list of emerging innovators and potential partnerships by examining the ed-tech patent applications.
Further, through patent data analytics, you can derive data-backed insights. You can use the information to support decision-making across various business scenarios. These include:
- Whether an innovator’s patent portfolio fills a gap in their current technology landscape.
- Predict the next trend or disruptive technology in their field of operation.
3. Academic Research
Academia is pivotal in driving ed-tech innovation by serving as both:
- A breeding ground for groundbreaking ideas.
- A critical testing ground for educational technologies.
Involved researchers and educators can identify emerging pedagogical needs and technological gaps. Thus, they are often open to collaboration with industry partners to contribute:
- Theoretical frameworks
- Empirical studies
- Rigorous evaluations
-that shapes the design and implementation of practical ed-tech tools.
You can leverage academic reports to connect with educators, technologists, and researchers. These may form their target decision-makers.
4. Niche Forums
You must foster relationships within your industry-based niche forums. It'll lead to meaningful collaborations with decision-makers who actively contribute to and influence discussions in these spaces.
Actively participate in these platforms by sharing insights and expert knowledge/opinions to build credibility. It also establishes valuable connections with fellow participants and gives a sense of a strong community of like-minded individuals.
It's a proactive way to connect with decision-makers.
Tips to Build Authentic Relationships with Ed-tech Decision-makers
Here are some tips to build a meaningful connection with target individuals:
1. Harnessing the Power of Networking
Networking is an invaluable tool for identifying and engaging with ed-tech decision-makers.
Here are the top three ways businesses can do networking:
Sharing Insightful Content
Before sharing content, you must understand the target decision-makers' interests, challenges, and preferences. Then, you should tailor content to address their specific needs. It should be high-quality, relevant, and provide value to the audience. For example, insightful articles, whitepapers, case studies, or industry reports.
You can use the following channels to generate education leads through outbound marketing:
- Cold emails: You can share gated content that holds value to the targeted recipient (decision-maker) via cold emails. Offer access only in exchange for the recipient's contact information. Simply ask them to sign up for the newsletter to unlock the content.
It's effective as only truly interested recipients will follow the procedure and sign up. Next, you must regularly use the newsletter to syndicate education industry content with promising decision-makers. Also, you can set up an email drip campaign for the newsletter subscribers to contact them constantly.
- LinkedIn: The most active contacts in the newsletter subscriber list are the best LinkedIn outreach choices. You can stay connected with them by sharing insightful and relevant article links to the feed. Also, join ed-tech-based groups where decision-makers are present.
- Attending Networking Events: Conferences, workshops, and events relevant to the education technology industry are the best places to build connections with target decision-makers. However, it’s essential to research the speakers, attendees, and companies present to prioritize business interactions.
Here's how to make the networking event profitable:
- Creating a Well-thought Elevator Pitch: Create a concise and compelling elevator pitch that introduces your business’s expertise. It must also share how your services can address the challenges faced by decision-makers in the industry.
- Following-up Strategically: Ensure that the participants' business cards or contact information. Thus, you can follow up promptly after the event, expressing gratitude and referencing specific points from previous conversations. Further, you can directly message them on social media, make phone calls, and mail them to follow up.
Leveraging Mutual Partnerships
You should make the most of accessible collaborations with companies that are mutually beneficial.
Here are some steps to do so effectively:
- Researching Potential Partners: Do thorough research to identify potential partners with complementary products, services, or expertise. Look for organizations that share similar goals, target audiences, or areas of expertise.
- Creating a Value Proposition: Keep it clear and compelling, outlining a partnership's mutual benefits. The highlight should be how the collaboration can drive innovation and ultimately benefit the end-users.
- Establishing Common Goals: Identify shared objectives of your partner company. Show how collaboration can facilitate the achievement of strategic aims for both parties. This alignment can significantly enhance the likelihood of decision-makers recognizing the value inherent in the partnership.
2. Nurturing Relationships for Long-Term Success
Create a nurturing campaign for a long-term relationship with a series of strategic steps to:
- Build trust
-with your audience over time. The goal is to provide consistent value and stay top-of-mind of target decision-makers.
Here are the ways to do so:
- Identifying Key Touchpoints: Build a detailed customer journey map to align each sales cycle stage with the nurturing content. For example-
- Awareness Stage- Educational content (How-to guides, problem-solving blogs)
- Consideration Stage- Commercial content (Product comparison blogs)
- Decision Stage- Transactional content (Product demos, success stories, case studies)
It ensures your shared content is relevant to where the target decision-maker is in the customer journey.
- Utilizing Marketing Automation: Use marketing automation tools to streamline and personalize nurturing campaigns. The automation will send targeted and timely messages to decision-makers based on their behavior and engagement with your shared content.
- Engaging Through Multiple Channels: You can use a variety of channels to engage the audience, including email, social media, webinars, and personalized landing pages. Pick multiple channels at once for consistent communication with target individuals. It reinforces the brand message.
Maintaining Ethical Requirements
The sensitive nature of educational data underscores the need for conscientious practices. Thus, you must respect privacy and uphold the industry's ethical standards, particularly when identifying decision-makers. Some key points to consider include:
- Getting Needed Permissions- Obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting and utilizing their data for business purposes. Also, always provide opt-out options.
- Being Transparent- Let decision-makers know about the type of information being gathered, the intended use, and the safeguards to protect their privacy.
- Establishing Clear Data Retention Policies- Mention clearly that contact information is retained only for as long as necessary. And you will dispose of it securely when it is no longer required.
- Following Standard Guidelines- Maintain compliance with relevant regulations such as GDPR or COPPA.
Wrapping It Up
As the education landscape evolves, your thinking beyond traditional methods will catalyze innovation and transformative change. Thus, you must embrace more precise and newer strategies that can bring success to your ed-tech businesses. This way, you can unlock a forward-thinking mindset, which may open unique business opportunities for you.
To turbocharge your efforts, connect with Revnew. We have expertise in generating high-value education leads. Plus, we can customize our marketing methods around your business needs. So, contact us today to know what we can do for your business.