To get a signature on a PO, you must first engage with those whose names you’ll never see on that PO. Decision making in schools is never unilateral, and before those with final say in education purchasing have their say, they have taken into consideration input from multiple staff from many departments. Although these staff people don’t often have the final say, they most certainly heavily influence decisions during every step of the process.
Let’s take a look at who a few of these influencers are, what roles they play, and what decision makers they are most closely associated with.
Direct line to: Lead Teachers, Principals, Other School Leaders
Teachers may not have a lot of purchasing power when it comes to large-scale purchases such as IT infrastructure, but they do have enormous bottom-up influence. Teachers often are the first to recognize a need, search for a solution and propose a solution to school and district leaders. They also interact regularly with the Lead Teacher, especially in the Lead Teacher’s role as staff mentor, often evaluating and ultimately recommending or discouraging professional development, curriculum and classroom-level solutions.
What to send them: Information that makes their everyday work life easier, such as professional development books and webinars, case studies showing how your product or service works in the real world, and lesson plans and activities they can use with their students. Make sure your content is shareable, as teachers routinely pass along helpful information to their colleagues and school leaders.
Influencer: Lead Teacher
Direct line to: Principals, Curriculum Coordinators, District Leaders
Lead Teachers (or Head Teachers) serve as the de facto chiefs of staff of teachers in most schools. They are responsible for supporting teachers’ effectiveness, providing mentorship, and overseeing professional development. They also are key players in curriculum design and implementation, providing crucial, often make-or-break insight to Curriculum Coordinators, and regularly interface with Principals and other leaders.
What to send them: Content, content and more content. Lead Teachers are innovators and are hungry for new knowledge about staff development, pedagogy, curriculum development and design, and staff management, among other topics. Show results, and show them with numbers. Lead Teachers are looking for evidence-based solutions that they can share with leadership.
Influencer (& Decision Maker!): Principals
Direct line to: District Leaders
What to send them: While Principals have a great deal of decision making and purchasing authority in their own right, they are also play a key role in influencing purchasing decisions at the district level. Principals often make curriculum and technology recommendations directly to district Curriculum Coordinators and EdTech Directors, and, depending on the size of the district, be consulted by the Superintendent on what is resources are needed.
What to send them: Principals are looking for the facts, but don’t have much time to dive deep until they’re really interested. Grab principals’ attention with infographics and case studies outlining the results your solution achieves. Cost is also of concern for principals so be up front about your pricing structure.
Get more inside intelligence about how decisions are made in schools, who makes them and how to effectively reach them in Be Buyer Aware, a free guide from Agile Education Marketing.