Last week, people from different education companies asked me this question: “why aren’t they responding to my emails?” They had been sending emails to people working in the education sector, including K-12 administrators and university professors, with no responses. Even before the pandemic, people were overwhelmed or annoyed with the amount of information they were exposed to on a daily basis. Now that remote and hybrid work and teaching has put on more stress and limitations in how much people can accomplish in one day, getting someone’s attention through email is not easy and it takes planning.
Here are some tips to get educators to respond to sales emails:
Always start by putting yourself in their shoes. Administrators and instructors have a lot of work on their plate as they deal with covid health protocols and increased workloads in translating teaching into virtual or hybrid lessons. Keep this in mind as you write your email and space out your follow-up messages to them.
Know what matters to them. I’ve found that receptiveness to early adoption varies greatly between K-12 schools and universities. K-12 tend to want to know what is working well with other schools like them. They have many community members involved so they want assurance that they are making a purchase decision that will benefit the school and students. Many universities want to purchase products or services that will set them apart from other universities in a competitive market. They are interested in learning about new solutions and being the first to offer something to their students. Position your emails to alleviate these levels of interest.
Put in the extra work to research and reach out to people who care about what you are selling. For K-12, check out the school’s mission, letter from the principal, or teacher/classroom websites that are sometimes publicly available. For universities, browse their social media, news and blog sections of their site and read through faculty profiles on the website. Focus on reaching out to schools or people who have an interest related to what you’re selling.
For schools that are hybrid, reach out on remote teaching days. On days that people are in front of their computer all day instead of in-person at the school or campus, they might be more likely to take a quick look at their inbox or have more time for email since they are not meeting with people in-person or commuting. Most schools have their schedule listed on their website.
Give them something valuable (for free). Sales is all about building relationships. You need them to respond to your email and you want them to get to know you and your product better. The lowest barrier to that is in providing them with something that will help their school or help them in their jobs, at no cost. This doesn’t mean you need to give away a free product or trial. It can be in the form of professional development training or a project idea for their classroom - try different ideas to see what people are receptive to.
Get ahead of procurement/purchasing department requests. Schools at all levels have a procurement or purchasing process that large purchases or new vendors will need to go through. Explore what those are ahead of time so that’s not a stumbling block in your sales process. You may need to apply to be a vendor through a state agency, for example.
Construct your email to best practices. No one reads an email beginning to end before deciding whether or not to delete, click, or reply. People start with the subject line. If that intrigues them enough, they’ll open the email and scan it. If they see something they like, they’ll read it or click-through. So spend time crafting a thoughtful subject line, and keep your subject line to 6-7 words. For the contents of your email, take advantage of formatting like bullets and bold phrases to grab their attention.
Email outreach is an effective and popular lead generation tactic because it can be executed at no cost and can be highly personalized if done right. It also takes effort, patience, and testing to get the formula right for which emails will get people’s attention. Taking these steps into consideration for your email outreach to schools and universities will help you get more responses quickly.