Sunday, 29 November 2015

#CEduAD: Thank You Connected Educators!


Five years ago I realised that the sales process was changing in Education. I noticed that tactics like phoning educators to discuss the services that I represented were becoming less and less welcome.

On the eve of the inaugural Connected Educator Appreciation Day I reflect on the instrumental role that EdChat Moderators and other Connected Educators have played with my professional development.

Connected Educators' input has allow me to achieve a lot of progress with #DigCitSummitUK within two weeks...without a single one of those phone calls that were proving to be annoying busy educators being made.

I am delighted to be able to give back by helping Connected Educators with this #DigCit event!

The last two weeks have been in the planning stages for the last 2-3 years. In this post I demonstrate how this is a direct result of Connected Educators.

I hope that I will be in a position to thank some of these amazing educators in person, as I endeavour to secure funding for them to make it to the inaugural #DigCitSummitUK in 2016
Join Tim and the regulars of #KsedChat tomorrow at 8pm CST
Collaboration and Co-Creation
In 2011 I started to map UK Further Education Colleges as I wanted to make my time more productive for meetings, and also look at the idea of having an app that could help other suppliers to save time with sourcing contact details for colleges (The sharing economy is coming... EdTech may as well get #FutureReady for it).

The data and feedback from my college contacts took me in a different direction. I noticed that colleges had a significant number of commercial services and, if marketed collectively, would be amongst the largest retail chains in the UK. Instead many were marketed as "The Best Kept Secret" and during a global recession too?!


I wrote to colleges to see what they thought of some collective marketing. This email led to 230 colleges saying that they'd be interested in finding out more. I wrote a strategy document at the end there was a "confirm participation" button and would cost £500.

10 Colleges signed up to this within 3 weeks. Not a single phone call had been made and all enquiries after the first email were "Inbound"


Go Slow or Go Home
Around the same time this was going on, results from a pilot were coming through which was a small scale 1 year pilot with 3 colleges.

When we got some indicative results, we shared this with others who were interested in the initiative... The result of  sharing these results?

Five Local Authorities confirmed they'd commission a project that would cost £15,000. £75,000 was secured in 3 weeks, most of which was confirmed over the phone. Of the 1-2 meetings that I was asked to attend, we got confirmation that the project was commissioned within 1-2 days.

When it comes to the best products, people want to buy them. 
Great sales operations are no substitute for product-market fit!

Death of a Salesman
Compare this with the sales model I had been working on, and that my then employer wanted me to continue with:

1) Identify the right person to speak to
2) Arrange a phone call to discuss the idea
3) Secure an appointment
4) Present to SMT at a follow up meeting
5) Wait for a decision

This whole process could take anything from 3-6 Months or more, and has significant overheads as wages and travel costs are accrued and need to be covered.

More significantly than this, if you have a product that takes two meetings and 6-12 months to deliberate over,

How much of a "Must Have" Tech Toy is this? 

How significant is the problem that the solution promises to solve and/or how well does the companies solution solve the problem?

I asked what educators thought of the various reports that I had produced and these approaches compared to the traditional methods. The feedback was unanimous with everyone... except my then employer.

EdChats
In April 2012, while researching my EdTech Report: Developing Relationships and Delivering Value, I joined the inaugral EdTechChat.

After 5 weeks I saw that my experiences were set to become mainstream. I didn't know it at the time but was later discover were inbound marketing, content marketing, social selling and community management.

My experiences in the first month of EdTechChat was that over 40 companies were mentioned 4-500 times without a sales call or rep in sight! It was all peer to peer word of mouth referrals


I cannot stress just how instrumental EdChats and Connected Educators have played with me re-skilling from Sales to Community Management.

I hope that some of these posts demonstrate the value that me being connected and listening to connected educators has been. Thank you all SOO MUCH! 

(NB A word of warning if you're new to my blog... there's the odd good idea in with some bad writing. Lol)

Mar 2013: Twitter Edchats - Chat or Change
May 2013: #EdChat Idle Twitter Chatter...Or Great CPD Forum
April 2013: Startup Education
June 2013: Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom
July 2013: An ISTE Post... with some big data
Aug 2013: Death of a Salesman...And New Edu Models
Aug 2013: Who Sells Free in Education
Sept 2013: How Online Engagement Leads to Collaboration
Oct 2013: Was Henry Ford a Connected Educator?
Oct 2013: The Connected EdChat Modarator
Oct 2013: Live Tweeting - Engaging Policy Makers and Students
Dec 2013: #StartupEduChat Meets #EdTechBridge
Jan 2014: Collaboration in Education - How can I help you achieve your goals?
Jan 2014: The Trouble with Conferences...Confessions of an EdTech Salesman
Jan 2014: Community Appreciation and Gratitude for my PLN... Esp When Going Round in Circles
Mar 2014: Community Building in FE & EDU - Building EdTechBridges
Apr 2014: The Greenwich Village of EdTech
Apr 2014: EdTech Startups & Beta EdChats - Lone Nuts or Visionaries
June 2014: EdTechBridge: Sales Matters in EdTech
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Record, Rewind & Replay
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Death of an EdTech Salesman
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - No Country for an Old Fashioned Educator
July 2014: Don't Leave Startups on the EdShelf
July 2014: EdChats by Numbers
July 2014: EdChat Moderators ISTE or Bust
Mar 2015: Online Abuse - I Blame the Politicans
Mar 2015: Digcit Vs the Trolls: I'm a Student Friendly Social Media Educator
Mar 2015: I'm An EdChatMod...Get me out to ISTE2015
Mar 2015: Nikki D Robertson: Bringing Tech Stories to Life
Mar 2015: An Amazing Global Edu Race: Get Craig to ISTE
Mar 2015: A Pledge to GetNikki2ISTE
Mar 2015: EdTechChat - How I met your Awesomeness
Mar 2015: EdChats... Getting Competitive?
Mar 2015: Connected Educator Day: Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2015 - Any Last Minute Support from Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2016 - Ways to Get Support During 2015
July 2015: Telling Tech Stories: Self Promotion, Self Doubt or Selling
July 2015: Blogging, Sharing New Ideas... Or Selling?
July 2015: Patience with Curating ISTE Data


Thank You Connected Educators! You Rock!

A Community Managers Best Friend
At the inaugural Community Manager Europe Twitter chat #CmgrEMEA the question "What's your faviourite #Cmgr tool" Christie Fidura gave an inspired reply "Your Ears"

Add to this that many community managers see empathy as a "must have" attribute for successful community management then the future might finally be looking a little brighter than it has over the last few years, because my Community Management training and early experiences will ensure that I never forget the value that a little Empathy can have.

Dear EdTech suppliers, 

I feel my training is complete... please give me a call if you have a great culture and product, if you listen to your users and appreciate the value of empathy and are currently looking for a "newly qualified" EdTech #Cmgr. 

A Message for the Unconnected: Paying It Forward
If there are any startups, suppliers or sales people starting out on their connected, inbound, social selling or community management journey, you may find some of these posts useful.
 If I can do anything to help with your digital journey please don't hesitate to get in touch.

PLN Please Help!
Dear PLN, If you know any suppliers who could support some of my friends with the costs to get to the UK for #DigCitSummitUK in 2016 please let me know.

I've also asked my Connected Educator friends to let me know which companies they would be prepared to represent at the #DigCitSummitUK

WITH A VIEW TO DELIVERING A RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR THIS SUPPORT

So if you are on any of these lists please get in touch to discuss the details, we think you'll like the proposal:
If you are a connected educator and are not looking to come to #DigCitSummitUK, but are looking for funding for any projects... please get in touch and we can discuss some options.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED ME RE-SKILL FROM SALES TO #CMGR

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