How Do Edtech Companies Generate Leads?
Most founders wonder how edtech companies generate leads, but lead generation is much more than collecting a bunch of email addresses. There are lead generation strategies for ensuring your lead generation efforts are worthwhile in getting you a return on your investment. Read on to learn about lead generation for education companies!
Why is Lead Generation Important for Businesses?
Lead generation is important for businesses of any size, especially education companies selling into schools or universities. The sales process in these cases can be long, from three months to two years, because the buying process is complex. There are usually many stakeholders involved in the purchasing decision, and sometimes they need to get approval from formal committees that only meet once a month or quarter.
Additionally, some edtech products are funded by grants or other sources of government funding, which have an application process. It can take several months to receive a grant award, which slows down the sales process for edtech products being funded through this source.
Because of the long and complex sales cycles in education, edtech companies need to continually bring in new leads. Only a small portion of leads turn into won deals. In addition, since a lead can take a long time to turn into a sale, generating new leads improves your chances of getting a sale.
Leads vs. Conversions
When generating leads, it's essential to understand the marketing and sales pipeline and what are leads vs. conversions. Before a sales team gets involved, there is a marketing process for generating leads and getting the leads ready for a meeting with the sales team. You want to avoid wasting your sales team's valuable time talking to people who have no interest in buying. The stages in the marketing funnel are:
Cold Leads: Lists of people you have identified to reach out to
Warm Leads: People who have expressed interest in your company by providing you with their email address
Marketing qualified leads (MQL): People who engage with enough of your marketing to show that they might be ready for the sales team
Sales qualified leads (SQL): People who have expressed a need to buy and have a budget
Along this funnel, the leads turn into conversions. Leads convert to marketing qualified leads. Then marketing qualified leads convert to sales qualifed leads. Sales qualifed leads convert to the sales team, and the goal is that the leads convert to closed won deals.
You want to get to a point in your marketing where you know, on average, what percent of people convert at each stage. This can take time, especially in education, where it takes months to years for a lead to convert to a closed deal, but you will eventually be able to set goals around the number of leads you need to generate when you have these benchmarks.
As you go through the process of generating and converting leads, keep in mind that it's not always about quantity when generating leads. Quality is most important. You want to generate leads that are most likely to convert to the sales team and bring in revenue. This is especially critical with an edtech startup or small business with a small marketing budget. You want to generate leads effectively, so you're not spending money marketing to get a lot of leads that don't end up converting to sales. So if you're only focused on quantity vs. quality in lead generation for education companies, you won't get a return on your investment.
Generating quality leads comes down to understanding your customers and the various stakeholders involved in the buying process. Reference your buyer personas and the buying journey insights that highlight where you need to reach your buyers. For example, if your buyer personas attend specific conferences or say that they search online, then you'll want to generate new leads from those places. You will more likely convert leads similar to your customers instead of marketing in places your customers don't go.
How Do Edtech Companies Generate Leads?
So, how do edtech companies generate leads? Here are five ways that edtech companies are generating leads:
Optimizing the website for organic search (SEO)
Hosting professional development events
A combination of emails, LinkedIn outreach, and calls from SDRs (sales development reps)
As you can see, a variety of activities have been successful in lead generation for education companies. One theme across these different lead generation activities is that they are highly targeted, either by topic, product, or audience. In each case, the lead generation activities are focused on reaching qualified leads and promoting products with the most revenue potential.
For example, an edtech company is not running ads on Facebook targeting all teachers. They are running ads in a few locations to teachers with specific characteristics using ad copy and imagery that appeals to a certain type of teacher.
Lead Generation vs Lead Nurturing
We've covered generating quality leads that convert to sales. In a perfect world, that would happen smoothly in predictable timelines. But that's not reality. You'll find that many leads you generate aren't ready to buy when they come to you. Maybe they attended an event you ran or downloaded a guide you published because they were interested in the topic, but they don't have a budget or are not the right decision-maker. Don't give up and delete their contact information right away when this happens!
In these situations, you want to move to lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is when you stay in touch with leads you've generated by providing them with helpful marketing content. The goal is for you to stay on their mind for the moment when they are ready to purchase.
Here are some example marketing activities for your edtech company to nurture leads:
Run retargeting ads that show ads about your edtech product when your leads are on other websites or social media platforms
Send newsletters with helpful articles and occasional product promotions or case studies
Invite leads to events you host
Offer free trials or tools
Is Lead Generation Worth It?
Lead generation is always going to be worth it for edtech companies. The sales process in education is complex and lengthy, so it helps to have a steady system for generating leads and most importantly, converting leads into won deals. Creating lead generation strategies and understanding the marketing funnel and your customers will help you get the best results from lead generation for education companies.