Advice for EDTech Startups

Success as an EdTech startup is very challenging because of the difficult procurement process, market fog, and customer disposition. I asked more mature companies to provide wisdom by asking them what they would change if they could go back in time. Below are the raw responses:

💡Charge the right price (don’t be too cheap)
💡Segment and target the schools with more chances to pay.
💡Sell PD as an add-on
💡Renewing is more important than selling. Focus on account management from day one.

💡Multi-year deals by default.
💡Easy to understand the value proposition. Do not make it hard to understand what they are paying for.
💡Streamline everything — don’t bifurcate or trifurcate a product — start by selling one thing — even if there are add-ons, they can be lumped into a higher package (district/school sales)

💡Keep better track of sales — track and chart where sales come from and use geography to intentionally take over a location
💡Churn is the most important thing — don’t let people fall out of the funnel without knowing why they are leaving — even with a successful company, you will feel the pain of the high churn at some point.
💡Don’t give away too much value for free. If there is value, charge money.

💡That will fuel growth and allow you to do freemium later on.
💡Teachers are huge advocates for products that actually work — and teachers listen to other teachers more than anyone else. Listen carefully to their problems and keep iterating until you delight them.
💡Start selling earlier with a simpler product vs. feeling we had to have a pretty mature offering. Once we started selling, many people bought for only one aspect of our features — we could have started with just that!

💡When going into “Sales” meetings, focus on allowing the buyer to state their problem, and position your product on their terms. And also, know when it’s okay to say it might not be a good fit, and move on!
💡Make sure you have a teacher advocate for your product. This is vital to help admins and get that crucial teacher buy-in.
💡Referrals are everything. Focus on making each customer feel valued and successful. Then you will never have to sell anything because they will sell it for you!

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John Faig

Learnaholic trying to improve learning. Aspiring EdTech product manager. Love chatting about EdTech.