How Education Companies Can Thrive in the Most Volatile Month of the K-12 Sales Cycle

Partnerships Manager, Cognitive ToyBox

What does June 30 mean to K-12 districts? It’s the end of their fiscal year. Why is this important for education companies selling to K12 districts to know? Because June can be the craziest feast-or-famine month of the K12 sales cycle.

Key Factors

Here are some end-of-fiscal-year factors to consider as you think about your short-term sales and marketing activities:

1.  If districts didn’t already get their budgets approved, they will be scrambling now before the June 30 fiscal year end. You are in good shape if they already have your proposal in hand and are incorporating a purchase into next year’s budget. It’s a (fleeting) opportunity to get last-minute funds budgeted for your product.

2.  That said, most districts have already approved next year’s budget. Chances are if your proposal isn’t already in their hands, you are too late for a purchase using allocated budget funds for next year. It’s possible they could purchase using from discretionary funds, but it’s much better to enter the next fiscal year knowing a district already has allocated funds for your product in a line item on their budget.

3.  Some departments are in use-it-or-lose-it mode. If programs don’t use all their allocated funds they may receive a reduction in next year’s budget. Stay in close contact with your prospects who are on the fence about purchasing in case they find themselves in a position of needing to spend funds before the fiscal year ends.

4.  Professional Development is often a budget category that contains unused funds at the end of the fiscal year. In the past, email and phone campaigns to sell PD, workshops, seminars, and other PD opportunities have successfully generated sales for us during this time of year.

5.  Quite often spending unused budget dollars means that there is a fixed amount of funding available. Be prepared to offer flexible packages or standalone products that can easily fit into a range of budgets. Don’t offer steep discounts, as that usually comes back to haunt you in later years. You can offer a deal where they pay now for a certain part of the overall purchase, and then complete their purchase in the following fiscal year. Or start with a pilot that fits their current allocation, which can then be expanded as demand (and budget) grows the following year.

6.  Yobudgetur prospects may be willing, but unable to purchase in this fiscal year because they do not have remaining funds. They may be delaying their purchase until after July 1. Stay in touch with these prospects and follow up right after July 1 to make sure they have everything they need to make their decision and issue a purchase order. Sounds easy, but time goes by quickly and a competitor may sweep in and make a sale if you don’t remember to follow up until August (or later).

Be Ready to Move Quickly

No matter what, you need to be prepared to act FAST!!! Return calls and emails quickly so you don’t miss out on making last-minute budget-induced purchases.

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Image by flickr user GotCredit, licensed under Creative Commons

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