Around £300 billion is spent on public sector procurement every single year, and it’s expected to keep rising every year.
But becoming a successful school supplier of a district is a lot more than just having the best products. The field is incredibly competitive, so you need to take advantage of every little detail that you can to get a leg up on the competition.
Standing out from other education suppliers is a challenge, but there are key things you can do to increase your chances of winning the business that you want.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to stand out as an education supplier and get some of the biggest projects and opportunities for your business.
How to Stand Out in Public Sector Procurement For Education
There are several strategies your business can use to stand out and win those school contracts. Here are some of the most important ones.
The education industry is a people business that is formed on trust. It’s important to get to know the district administrators, the leaders of the schools, and the teachers.
School districts are especially known for their long-term relationships where vendors are chosen based on previous relationships. Many times, even when a better deal can be found, districts will stay with past relationships that they trust.
A great way to get access to the people who make decisions for these districts is by becoming friends with the administrative assistants who manage the schedules for the administrators. Every single day, several sales reps reach out to the school district administrators, so it’s important to find a “way in” to stand out.
Think About the Parents
Parent involvement in their children’s studies is at an all-time high. This means that parents are valuable members of the school community. When they get together, they can be an incredibly powerful force when it comes to school districts making decisions.
Try to attend a PTO meeting and introduce yourself. See if there are any fundraisers going and offer to contribute. It can be a key tool in winning your next public contract.
Do Your Research and Focus On Them (Not You)
Before you make a sales call for a school district, make sure you do your homework on them. Know exactly what that districts specific needs and problems are and figure out how you can provide solutions.
You can save time on a call and impress them by knowing what’s going on without having to ask. Every district is unique, so be sure to not default to a generic sales pitch. Even if something worked great for another school district, it might not be what this district needs.
Whether you’re calling, emailing, or leaving a voicemail, make sure your message is clear and concise, and be upfront about how your solution can solve a problem that the district has.
Increase Your Online Presence
In 2022, it’s essential to build a high-level online presence. A significant percentage of school suppliers said that they prefer to search on the internet as their preferred medium for sourcing suppliers.
This means that a professional-looking website that has great mobile functionality is vital to building clientele. Nowadays, district leaders could be looking for their next supplier on the phone on the way home from work.
Developing your social media presence is also an effective way to get in touch with schools and education groups. Utilize platforms such as:
Research where your target prospects hang out and find hashtags and communities that would best reach them. They are a great place to open up conversations that can lead to relationships down the line.
Add Your Business to the National Register of Education Suppliers
Another great way to increase your online presence is by making sure your business is on the National Register of Education Suppliers. This is a cost-effective way for businesses to access budget holders from schools in the UK.
It boasts several tools, including:
- Access to 25,000+ decision-makers from schools and academies across the country
- Marketing support to grow your client base
- A fair and even playing field for businesses of any size
- Access to several education marketing videos + insights about school district leaders
It is a great central hub to put your business on the map for school district budget holders across the country as a legitimate education supplier.
Share Your Testimonials
One of the most effective ways to build your credibility in any form of sales is to share testimonials from satisfied clients. Most schools source their suppliers through word of mouth, which means your previous clients’ happiness is incredibly important.
What other schools have to say about you is far more important than what you can say yourself. You can share your testimonials from previous customers on the National Register of Education Suppliers.
Become an Approved Seller
There are several associations and local authorities that have their own approved supplier lists. Many school districts will refer to these lists when they are sourcing new suppliers. They are a great way to put a badge of honour on your business and build credibility with incoming prospects.
Be Open and Honest With Your Clients
A key part of maintaining a successful business relationship with school districts is maintaining their expectations. Let them know where you can hit problems and what could be improved.
If you feel like you are being given unrealistic deadlines, a low budget, or unclear communication, make sure you talk to them about it. Many public sector contracts go past due or over budget simply because of bad communication.
In most cases, the people you are selling to won’t be experts in your field of expertise. They want you to teach them what they need to know about your industry.
Position yourself as an expert that has the answers to the questions that they are looking for. This will build trust and encourage schools to find out more from you, which can lead to better relationships and ultimately a sale.
Start Getting Those Public Sector Contracts
Getting the competitive edge when it comes to public sector procurement will take a lot of hard work, research, and relationship-building. Understand the buying cycle and become a trusted vendor that provides solutions to districts and their problems.
If you want to win more business from the public sector, book a meeting with us today and we’ll show you how we can help get more business with data-driven marketing solutions.