K-12 software sometimes referred to as education software, is any computer software designed to help students in grades k-12 learn more effectively. Different types of this software are classroom management software, language learning software, student information systems, tutorial software, and more.
In this article, we’ll help aspiring tech salespeople figure out if K-12 software sales is right for them by sharing what it’s like to work in this field, its average compensation, trends, companies hiring, and more.
What it’s Like to Work in Education Software Sales
Like in most tech sales jobs, education software sales reps spend the vast majority of their time talking with or trying to get in touch with potential decision-makers. That means they’re giving web demos, making sales calls, sending emails, or even meeting with school administrators in person.
This field is hot and growing, so education software businesses often have openings. They hire Sales Development Reps to discover and open sales opportunities, Account Executives to close deals, and Customer Success Managers to further develop the relationship with the buyer and influence referrals and upsells.
Salespeople in education software are selling into schools or districts, which contain multiple schools. There are usually multiple stakeholders involved, including parents, teachers, and administrators. Although it's often teachers and students as are your end-users, they’re likely not going to be the decision-makers at the end of the sale.
Instead, the people with signing power will likely be the school administrators and officials. But, you’re still likely going to interact with teachers during the sales process, especially if they have a lot of influence at the school in which you’re selling. You’ll also need to get any parents involved on board as well.
Because there are so many different stakeholders in k-12 software sales, each with distinct needs and motivations, an education software salesperson needs to be more strategic in how they position their product to different people involved in the sale. They have to learn what matters to each individual.
Also, because it’s children at stake, sales reps have to do a good job of proving that their software works with evidence like peer-reviewed studies. The rep will also have to come across as extremely knowledgeable about the education space in order to impress the rightfully proud and protective educators.
Education Software Sales Compensation
The average salary for an educational software salesperson is $66,901 per year, according to ZipRecruiter’s data. However, that number doesn’t take into account on-target commission, which usually makes up anywhere from 40-60% of a tech sales rep’s total compensation.
That means many reps in this field, especially Account Executives or any title above it, likely bring in upwards of $100,000 total per year, and that number increase with each year of experience.
Image via ZipRecruiter
So that you can get a better idea of the compensations for different positions in the industry, let’s look at some average earnings for sales reps at a few education software companies:
- JAMF: Account Executives earn around $84,000 per year on average. SDRs earn $66,387.
- SAP: AEs average about $165,000 per year and Senior AEs earn a whopping 265,000 per year on average.
- Blackboard: AEs bring home an average of over $188,000 per year and Sales Managers earn around $103,000 per year.
How much you specifically can earn as a salesperson in the education software field depends not only on the company you work for and the title you hold but also on your selling ability. Commissions in this field can range from 0 to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year depending on how well you perform. And that leads us nicely to our next point.
How to Succeed in Education Software Sales
Success in any tech sales job requires skills like communication and perseverance as well as knowledge about your product and the industry in which you’re selling.
That said, there are some skillsets and strategies that relate specifically to the education software industry.
Here are some best practices that will help you succeed in K-12 Software Sales:
- Research Each School District: Each district will have different rules for how they operate. They’ll allocate funds differently and have different purchasing processes. Some might have state funding options. Others might have unions that impact decisions. Learn how they work to better position your software and find the right stakeholders.
- Leverage Your Network: According to a survey of decision-makers in edtech sales,92% of people used their peers as information sources when deciding whether to purchase an edtech solution. That means it’s important to ask your happy clients for referrals or introductions to people at other schools.
- Focus on Helping Students: Teachers and school officials care deeply for their students, and they are wary of anyone trying to change the way these children learn just so they can turn a profit. Make sure you emphasize your desire to help.
- Study the Education Space: There’s no better way to prove you’re actually trying to and capable of helping than by demonstrating your knowledge of recent trends, research findings, and changes in k-12 education.
Knowledge about the world is powerful. Knowledge of oneself is even more so. If you want to succeed in sales you’re going to have to know if you find the industry and technology interesting. So let’s go over some trends to see if the info lights your brain up or puts you to sleep.
Trends in Education
In any tech sales job, it’s crucial to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry so that you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to your prospects, whose trust your commission depends on.
- Increased Focus on Personalized Learning: The fact that everybody learns at different speeds and in different ways is gaining more notice from educators. Many are now using adaptive learning software that lets children learn in the best way for them.
- The New Practice of Genius Hours: Educators are beginning to give children free hours to work on any project they choose in an effort to increase their love for learning and unleash their creativity.
- Experiential Learning in the Virtual Space: Bringing children on field trips has been a common practice for a while. But now educators are using software platforms that take the children on virtual journeys in the classroom to Sub Saharan African towns or European Museums without the costs and difficulties of travel.
When you find an industry interesting, you know you’ll be able to talk about it with prospects with real enthusiasm. Also, you’ll have more energy to learn about your product and the challenges of your prospects, which will make you a better salesperson whom your prospects see as an advisor.
The Major Education Software Companies Hiring Salespeople
There are thousands of education software companies in the United States. Although not typically classified as k-12 software companies, even businesses like SAP and Microsoft have products that they sell to schools and school districts.
Let’s go over three education software companies that are great to work for and often looking for salespeople.
Jamf School is a mobile device management software solution that helps schools manage Apple devices that help them teach, such as the IPads they often give to their students. The company, JAMF, has a rating of 4.2 on Glassdoor and 87% of former and current employees would recommend working there to a friend.
Image via Glassdoor
PowerSchool is a leading provider of K-12 student information system software that helps schools and districts run more efficiently. They’re well-known for their customizable solutions that help school officials organize and view their information in ways that are important to their specific school district and operations. They currently have 2,600 employees and are often growing their sales department as they expand.
Frontline Education is a school administration software company that offers a wide range of software solutions to educators, including a human resource management system built for school officials to help them find, hire, and manage the best teachers around. This company is large and growing, and therefore almost always looking for sales talent.
Image via Google
Is Education Software Sales Right for You?
If you find education intriguing and want to help school officials and teachers implement systems that help them more effectively teach and manage their students, then this industry might be right for you. This is especially true if you have a general interest in technology and problem-solving. To find education software sales jobs, check out the Salestrax job board.