Securing sales to departments and faculty members may be some of the most beneficial selling you can do as a retailer in the education market. However, selling and marketing to faculty and departments is much different than the targeting you do towards students. The products that are carried by a department often dictate what will be purchased by the students themselves. Faculty members assign the course materials and determine the curriculum. They set the requirements on which products are needed by the students for the semester. Likewise, products and materials that students have experienced and worked with on campus may inspire future purchases of those products. Faculty and departments can be tough sells but their sales lead to even more opportunities as their students follow suite and as the institutions continue to update and upgrade their products with you for as long as you can offer them what they need.
Know Your Audience
Faculty members in general, as well as department heads, play a key role in the purchasing decisions of an institution. And while faculty may not always be the end decision makers, they do have a lot of influence in what gets ordered and in what is needed within their departments and institutions.
One key thing to remember when trying to target faculty members is how tight their schedules are. In any given week their time is usually divided between teaching a class, preparing for a class, or doing their own work and research. Getting a meeting or even a phone conversation can be a challenge. So how do you combat the issue of time? The key is finding the best medium in which to get your message across.
If one thing is true about educators it’s that they are always connected to their email. They communicate a hundred times a day with other faculty members and students. In research conducted by MDR, it was found that over 69% of faculty members accessed education-related email through a wireless device. What does this mean? It means that faculty at educational institutions are always connected.
In a survey conducted by The Douglas Stewart Company 58.9% of faculty members stated that they were most likely to purchase new products based on recommendations from other faculty members and friends. Translation, faculty members have a great deal of influence over one another. They value each other’s opinions.
Catering to Their Needs
One of the best ways to capture the attention of this audience is to market to them digitally. Capturing their attention by sending an eye-catching email is a great way to get your message into their daily lives. With an email, faculty and decision makers can browse your offerings on their own time and contact you when they need to purchase. Plus, even if they’re not ready to purchase immediately, your name will be in their head when the time does come.
When marketing to faculty and department heads through email you must be sure to include all the necessary information in your email, but it should also be easily digestible. Faculty members will want to have all their basic questions about a product answered within the course of the email but if the email is too dense you’ll lose their attention.
Another great way to engage faculty and institution members is by hosting a demo event or a tutorial session at your store. By inviting several members of your school’s faculty you can engage them within an interdepartmental outing or a webinar if it’s easier. By demonstrating the product and its features, like the benefits to the students and the institution as well as the solutions it offers your audience, you will touch on all things ranked as most important to these faculty members and show that you understand what they are looking for in a product.
One result of hosting a demo event or a webinar is that a topic of conversation is started among faculty members. If the product is a hit, faculty members will be even more encouraged to buy it because their peers are exhibiting excitement about the product as well. If their coworkers missed the event, you may have your attendees passing along the information that you presented at the event. These are just a few good examples of why it’s important to provide materials that your attendees can pass along or take home to review later themselves.
We’re Here to Help
The Douglas Stewart Company offers lots of opportunities to pick up free marketing materials specifically created for marketing and selling to faculty and departments. Be sure to read through our promotional emails, as there may be downloadable marketing assets attached in the form of email templates, sell sheets, flyers or web banners.
Getting your products in front of this market can be tough but if you can isolate the main reasons why the products you carry would benefit this audience, i.e. in what ways it makes their lives easier and the ways in which it affects their students, your pitch will be the most effective. Likewise, by communicating with them in ways that are most likely to attract their attention you can ensure that your message will be seen and heard by your target audience.