Mastering EdTech SaaS Sales: Negotiation, Objection Handling, and Relationship Building

EdTechSales🕑 Reading Time: 13 Minutes

The EdTech SaaS industry presents a promising future and a significant opportunity. This sector has been exploding with growth and is only expected to continue on an upward trend – through 2030, the EdTech market is expected to grow each year by 16.5%

However, increased growth also means increased competition when selling a product or service to educational institutions. To stand out, you need to deeply understand how your product meets stakeholder needs. Becoming an expert on the ins and outs of the nuances of selling to the widely varied needs of stakeholders in the education space is vital.

Between sales strategies, negotiation tactics, and building strong long-term relationships, Insivia shares our top tips to master selling in the EdTech SaaS space.

Understanding the Unique Landscape of EdTech SaaS Sales

In the fast-paced world of Software as a Service (SaaS) sales, the Education Technology (EdTech) sector stands apart. EdTech’s unique characteristics and stakeholders mean that traditional sales tactics often fall short.

To sell EdTech is to understand educational institutions. This understanding starts with knowing what type of impact they aim to make. SaaS selling often shows value through how much a solution can help generate revenue for a business. However, for selling in EdTech SaaS, the audience can have diverse goals. These goals could include a university aiming to increase endowment or a public school looking for a virtual classroom.

There are three key types of education, and within those, there are even more subsets – higher education, secondary, private, public, etc. Finding your niche on who benefits from your product within the education space will boost your sales results.

A graphic showing the three types of Education

To succeed in EdTech SaaS sales, one must fully comprehend the landscape, the goals, the main players, and the distinctive features that define this industry.

Exploring the Distinct Features of the EdTech Industry

The EdTech industry sets itself apart from other sectors through a variety of attributes. The EdTech industry works with educational institutions, which operate very differently than traditional businesses. Between these institutions’ missions, their organizational makeup, and their financial sources, educational institutions are defined by several industry-specific characteristics.

Understanding the Key Stakeholders in EdTech Sales

In EdTech sales, sales teams must have a comprehensive grasp on the organizational structure of each individual educational institution. Successful sales in the EdTech sector require understanding and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders that each hold diverse needs and interests:

These stakeholders and their goals can also vary depending on what type of educational institution you’re selling to, whether it’s a non-credit night class for working professionals, a technical school, or a private boarding school.

Why Traditional Sales Strategies May Fall Short in the EdTech Context

Given the particular characteristics and stakeholders in the EdTech industry, traditional sales strategies often fall short. Tactics that otherwise can help close deals in different industries cause educational institutions to run the other way. Some of these techniques that are often ineffective for in EdTech include:

Navigating the EdTech SaaS sales landscape requires a deep understanding of the industry, its stakeholders, and the value that your product brings to the table. By focusing on building relationships and demonstrating impact, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor and partner in the education sector.

Mastering the Art of Negotiation in EdTech Sales

As a sales professional in the EdTech SaaS industry, you are not just selling a product; you are partnering with educational institutions to help them leverage technology to meet their educational goals. This partnership begins with negotiation – a delicate art that requires tact, strategy, and a deep understanding of the education sector.

What makes a well-crafted negotiation necessary is that a firm negotiation strategy doesn’t just help close deals. It sets the foundation for what can be a positive and long-term partnership. In this section, we will delve into the specifics of effective negotiation techniques and provide tips on how to turn prospects into partners.

Understanding the Importance of Research and Preparation

Before entering any negotiation, doing your homework is key. Research the institution you are negotiating with, understand their needs, challenges, and goals. This information will not only help you tailor your pitch but also help you anticipate their concerns and objections.

Strategies for Effective Negotiation with Educational Institutions

Once you’re prepared to negotiate, strategies you’re bringing to the table should reflect your knowledge of the educational institution itself. Aim to show value, not to merely sell. By showing your understanding of their needs and your focus on mutually beneficial outcomes, you begin to build trust and show how your solution satisfies an unmet need.

Tips for Closing Deals in the EdTech Industry

35% of salespeople find closing to be the most difficult piece of the sales puzzle. When closing a deal, there are a couple key tips to ensure you drive the sale home. At time of closing, it’s the perfect time to show your new partner that they’re in good hands. After all, closing a deal is just the beginning of the relationship. The closing process is what will set the tone for the future of the partnership.

Overcoming Objections in EdTech Sales

Navigating the landscape of objections is a valuable step in the EdTech SaaS sales process. Objections can often feel like roadblocks, but when handled with empathy and understanding, they can be transformed into opportunities for deeper conversations and stronger relationships.

In this section, we’ll explore common objections in EdTech sales and share practical advice on how to address and overcome them.

Identifying Common Objections in EdTech Sales

Recognizing the common objections in the EdTech industry is the first step to overcoming them. By recognizing these issues ahead of time, you can better highlight how you can assist. Below are a few commonly encountered objections:

Practical Advice on How to Address and Overcome These Objections

Once you’ve identified potential objections, you can harness this knowledge to strategize on how to overcome them. With a better gauge of what stalls educational institutions from making the leap to partner with EdTech businesses, you can help create solutions. Here are some practical tips to consider:

The Importance of Empathy and Understanding in Handling Objections

When dealing with objections, you must handle them with empathy and understanding. Objections come from a place of aiming to conserve budget that can be hard to come by, as well as wanting to protect students’ best interests. Taking the extra time to show that concerns are heard and addressed has a multitude of benefits:

Building Long-Term Relationships with Educational Institutions

In the world of EdTech SaaS sales, closing a deal is just the beginning. The real value lies in nurturing these initial transactions into long-lasting partnerships that continue to provide value for both parties. This section will delve into the strategies you can employ to build and maintain strong relationships with educational institutions, with an emphasis on becoming a trusted advisor and partner.

Understanding the Needs and Goals of Educational Institutions

The first step in building a long-term business relationship is understanding the unique needs and goals of the educational institution you’re working with. Ideally, this process began during the early stages of selling, but the curiosity and focus on goal impact should continue after closing.

As with all organizations, educational institutions have shifting priorities and concerns. Staying on top of any needs and fluctuations keeps you invaluable. This process involves:

Strategies for Providing Ongoing Support and Value

Keeping a business relationship going strong with your partners means staying close. It’s crucial to provide ongoing support and continually demonstrate the value of your solution. Staying close to your partners throughout the many stages of the relationship ensures both parties are still getting the desired outcome. Here are some strategies to keep providing value:

According to SmartKarrot, the majority of startups hold a 60% churn rate, particularly for startups with less revenue. Getting ahead of customer needs and being an essential partner helps create insurance that your customers are more likely to stay.

A graphic showing churn rates for start ups

Churn rate data from SmartKarrot

The Role of Trust and Reliability in Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

Trust and reliability are the cornerstones of any long-term relationship. Partnerships between an EdTech SaaS company and an educational institution are no different. As time goes on, staying proactive and showing continued passion and enthusiasm for the educational institution’s mission and goals keeps the relationship sturdy.  In the context of EdTech SaaS sales, this means:

Studies show customers act when trust is lost, and won’t hesitate to end a business relationship and share the word. Keeping trust as a service and sales tool ultimately leads to better financial results for your product.

Salesforce’s latest State of Sales report underlines the importance of trust in an ongoing business partnership. The top 5 tactics to maintain a relationship post-sale help show empathy and accountability.

A graphic showing five ways how reps maintain relationships after sales

Sales relationship tactics from the Salesforce State of Sales report

Putting EdTech SaaS Sales Strategies into Practice

Mastering EdTech SaaS sales is so much more than selling. It’s doing the work before, during, and after the sale to create a mutually beneficial relationship between your product and an educational institution.

By understanding the needs and goals of educational institutions, providing ongoing support and value, and fostering trust and reliability, you can build and maintain strong, long-term relationships that drive positive impact for both parties.

Looking for help getting started? Contact Insivia to learn more!