The end of this school year hasn’t looked like anyone expected. No graduation. No prom. Classrooms went virtual. But it wasn’t just school districts that were suddenly relying on eLearning software to make the new normal feel as much like the old normal as possible. Businesses and universities turned to these platforms as well, and suddenly a multi-billion-dollar industry that was somewhat in the shadows was pushed into the spotlight.
You’re finding now, that the spotlight feels pretty good. It’s a place you’d like to stay a little longer, because along with the spotlight has come opportunity. People want to talk about eLearning software and learning management systems. Suddenly, those expectations that the eLearning industry will be worth more than $300 billion by 2025 are looking a little short sighted.
With a growing market, you’re no doubt thinking about what you need to be doing as a marketing leader to help your teams selling eLearning software sell more of it. There’s not enough time to scale up your sales team, so the best that you can do is eliminate the buyer’s friction in the sales process. To do that there are five things you have to know.
- You have to know your buyer. Your real one.
Most companies know who their buyer is in a general sense. They can answer questions like “What kind of company do they work for?”, “Where do they sit inside the organization?”, and “What are their struggles? Their pain points?”. All of that is good to know, but, in the end, general knowledge of your buyers will leave you with generic marketing programs and a much more difficult sales process.
Without completing a robust buyer persona development process that uses conversations with your actual wins and losses to dig deeper into buyer motivations you are making selling eLearning software harder for your team. When you know specifically what prompted someone to look for a solution like yours, what they were looking for in a provider, and why they ultimately made the choice they did, you give yourself a solid foundation to start from. This makes selling eLearning software easier, because when you know specifically who your buyer is you aren’t wasting time contacting those people who aren’t likely to ever become your customer.
- You have to know your message.
Generic messaging is like chit chat at a party. It’s fine for a short while, but if you and the other person are ever going to move on to a relationship of any kind you have to start talking about real things. Most business aren’t really talking to their buyers; they’re chatting.
It’s because the messaging they’ve built is based on buyer personas that are, at best, generic, and, at worst, inaccurate. That often leaves them with messaging that gives a passing glance to buyer concerns and then settles comfortably on benefits and features of their product. While communicating benefits and features is important, unless your eLearning solution is so radically different from your competitors, that kind of messaging is going to leave you sounding like everyone else.
But by starting with the specific concerns of your buyers you can deliver a message that meets their wants. Do most of them say they are looking for a partner more than a vendor? Concentrate on service. Are they looking to feel like they’re ahead of the game? Focus on innovation.
- You have to know what your marketing plan is.
If you have specific buyer personas and messaging built from them, then you’re more than halfway to a marketing plan. All that’s left is to determine how you’re going to reach those buyers.
Not to harp too much on it, but buyer personas will help here too. When you build buyer personas from actual conversations you can ask your buyers where they go for information and then use that to target your spending. Instead of wasting money and time putting content in places where your buyers aren’t, you can concentrate your dollars on places where they are.
Do they start the buying process with a Google search? Then PPC ads might be a valuable place to spend money. Do they trust the trade press and turn there for info? Then a PR-forward plan makes sense.
Knowing where you’ll be spending money also allows you to make a budget and set up expectations. That will allow you to quickly track your efforts and success and then adjust if needed.
- You have to know your inbound marketing strategy.
Once your marketing plan works, and it will work, you’re going to have leads that need nurturing. This will involve creating content to not only attract people but to move them through the funnel. But it also involves nurturing emails that keeps you top of mind with those buyers who’ve given you contact information and scoring their activity so you know when to pass the name of a potential customer off to sales. That’s the point of all of this, after all. Inbound marketing doesn’t necessarily shorten the sales cycle dramatically. But what it can do is take some of the sales process out of the hands of your sales team and make the conversations they do have with these prospects more productive.
- You have to plan out post-sale activities.
Nurturing doesn’t end once someone becomes a client. Any salesperson will tell you that it’s easier to sell to a current customer than it is to bring a new one on board. So, after the purchase you need to be doing what you can to keep customers satisfied, and that’s more than just contracting with a call center to provide support.
Before these companies were your customers you were nurturing them with valuable information. Keep doing that. It can help you to continue growing your relationship so when there’s another opportunity to make a purchase, there’s little doubt where they will turn.
Selling eLearning software is easier when customers come to you ready to have a conversation. They are already doing research online before ever contacting a member of your team. Are you offering the information your buyer—your specific buyer—needs to have a productive conversation with your sales team?
eBook: How eLearning Providers Can Use PR and Marketing to Build Trust with School Districts and Businesses
The time is now for the eLearning market. But how do you sell this software to the organizations that need it?
We love helping mid-market B2B tech companies like yours grow with purpose. If you are wanting to turn this moment into momentum, let us tell you how we can help.