The process of attracting students to universities has undergone profound changes in recent years, especially due to the high competitiveness of the sector and the growing offer of undergraduate courses, both in person and remotely.
In this scenario, it is essential to structure more intelligent processes, automate activities and develop an inside sales process in your educational institution. But, do you know what inside sales is? And how to form a great team in the education sector?
What you will see in today's post:
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What is inside sales for a college?
The term inside sales means “internal sales” and refers to the commercial team that does not go out into the field to look for customers. This team, made up of specialist consultants in their market niche, uses inbound sales to attract and convert students into learners.
According to Forbes, the inside sales grew 15 times more than external sales, a fact that can be understood based on the exponential growth in the use of the internet and the tools it provides, such as email, chats, videoconferences, social networks and instant messengers, such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
With the use of technologies that are currently very accessible, such as webinars, videos and graphic animations, educational institutions are able to demonstrate the value of their products and services virtually, without the need for travel, which favors the inside sales process and makes it so effective.
However, more than the extensive use of technologies that make work easier, you need to have a team prepared for this new approach.
How to define an inside sales process in your educational institution?
Attracting students to universities completes a complex journey, which can take weeks to months until the student decides about enrolling in the entrance exam or even about enrolling.
Several factors influence this process, such as the price of tuition fees, the distance from the university to the student's home, brand recognition and even the qualifications of the teaching staff. Infrastructure offered and connection to opportunities in the job market are also on this list.
The inside sales team takes action when marketing identifies the lead as qualified for it (MQL). This means that the lead has already covered more than 70% of the purchasing journey and has sufficient knowledge about the educational institution.
The role of the inside sales team is to eliminate objections that may occur and carry out the negotiation in a consultative manner, that is, always thinking about the student's experience and total satisfaction with the educational institution. Therefore, some steps must be considered to implement inside sales in your educational institution:
- Alignment between marketing and sales (smarketing): allows sharing goals, objectives and results, integrating efforts, instead of dividing them;
- Construction of personas: general understanding of who the ideal students are for the educational institution;
- Standardization of processes: all consultants must use the same documents, tables and communication standards to avoid dissonance when serving students;
- Intense use of technologies: consultants must have the technologies needed for your work always available;
- Data use and sharing: data-based arguments, all focused on management tools, such as CRM.
Finally, what about the team?
Having understood what inside sales is and the process that leads to the success of internal sales, we will address the skills needed by your team so that your enrollment objectives are achieved:
Anyone who works inside sales needs to have the profile of a business consultant, a professional who presents solutions and benefits, not features and prices. This is one of the big differences between an inside sales team and a traditional sales team.
The educational consultant must know all the courses, master job market information and articulate this information so that the student feels motivated to enroll.
- What is CRM and how can you use it to boost your student’s capture?
- How to capture qualified leads in a digital marketing campaign?
- How to capture leads with inbound sales in the education sector.
Focus on the quality of conversions, not the quantity
Another point that an inside sales team must have internalized is that the quality of conversions is more important than quantity. As the dropout rate in higher education reaches 50%, it is clear that enrollments are not always of high quality.
Initially, the goals of attracting students to universities can be met, however, in the long term, the investment made ends up becoming a loss due to the student not remaining in the classroom.
Acting as a team
In a sports team, each athlete has their role within the whole and it is up to them to contribute to achieving the team's objectives, independently of themselves. In inside sales, the behavior must be the same.
The natural rivalry between sellers must give way to collaborative work, focused on student experience and in their total satisfaction with the educational institution. For this reason, goals must be shared, as well as the rewards for achieving them.
Are inside sales teams born ready?
The answer is obvious, no. To have a great inside sales team in education, you need to hire professionals willing to listen to students, understand their challenges and needs and find personalized solutions for each one.
While one student's difficulty is getting to college during rush hour, another's may be paying their tuition fees in full. Using these barriers in favor of your educational institution is what will determine the success in enrollment (and the students’ retention until the end of the course).
This means that forming an inside sales team for educational institutions requires training, both technical and behavioral. It also requires providing your sales team with autonomy to solve problems and resolve objections that could impede the enrollment process.
And let's go a little further: your inside sales team needs to understand, in a broad way, the educational legislation that governs undergraduate and postgraduate courses, after all, a good part of the doubts that arise in the process of choosing a course Higher education is related to issues such as the validity of diplomas, recognition of courses and professional validation in the job market.
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