Strengthening Your Position in a Competitive EdTech Marketplace
Optimization and Growth in EdTech
SaaS has moved into the classroom and shows no signs of slowing down. The global EdTech market is expected to grow at 16.3% annually, reaching $404B by the end of 2025. In 2020, there were an estimated 1,385 EdTech companies in the U.S. and as of March 2023, there were 30 EdTech unicorns.
The market—thrust into growth during COVID—continues to evolve in how they meet the demand of an underserved community of educators, administrators, learners and parents. Less than 5% of the current education market is digitized. Premier technology solutions enhance the learning experience; however, market adoption is hindered by a fragmented market, budgeting processes and layered stakeholder management.
Different areas of the education market face distinct challenges and can handle change at different paces. K-12, which relies heavily on government funding, is frequently capital-constrained and struggles to invest in large infrastructure or implementation programs for new technologies. Higher education can be highly fragmented with educators making individual choices on which titles and/or technologies to integrate with their curriculum. Professional development is on the rise and requires a new sales motion to engage with corporate buyers in addition to academic institutions.
These submarkets divide the 1,300+ players into microcosms where growth is often sourced from gaining market share versus expanding market size. Buyers are looking to evaluate their current offerings. After the boom of platforms and solutions during COVID many administrators see an array of tech solutions inserted to solve an immediate need and are forced to reassess as funding/budgets are reset. The market is in a unique position for both optimization and growth.
Growth in a Purple Ocean
Achieving growth targets in EdTech relies on two fundamental components: product position and stakeholder management. Commercial organizations are realigning their revenue organization as the way solutions are bought/sold continues to evolve. Organizations are layering in new or previously unleveraged routes to their customers via motions toward administrators, faculty and students.
Engaging the different layers of buyers, influencers and users has stretched the responsibilities of sales reps. In addition to the increase in the number of stakeholders to manage, the complexity of products continues to grow which puts pressure on existing sales teams. This stretched bandwidth leads to reduced productivity unless well supported by digital tools and enhanced customer support.
Reinforce Your Value Proposition
Revenue leadership is expanding ownership to include post-sales engagement that drives adoption and utilization of solutions in addition to the pre-sales, sales and renewal cycles. Leading organizations are investing in Customer Success to drive stickiness of their solution and value for their customers. Customer Success is being deployed to create leverage for sales teams as they elevate their relationships to the chief academic officers, deans, superintendents, etc.
The rise of Customer Success is expanding into the EdTech space at a growing rate. New solutions that enable instructors to customize curriculum to better engage learners require additional support to maximize feature adoption across the plethora of user types. Educators need to understand how to best integrate solutions into their syllabus; students need training/access to EdTech platforms; administrators need to see the value of their investments.
Enable Your Commercial Organization
Modern EdTech revenue leaders work to establish clear guidelines for cross-functional coordination as the number of teams and touchpoints for customers continues to grow. They create rules of engagement and playbooks to aid both new and legacy sales teams in understanding how their role fits within a broader concept of customer engagement. They establish a unified compensation philosophy and minimize internal friction to drive a positive customer experience. While digital is still relatively new to the education market, managing the multitude of users and buyers requires a team that wins together.
It’s crucial for EdTech companies to create a go-to-market strategy that consistently exceeds the market growth rate and provides a competitive edge. EdTech leaders now focus on optimizing their commercial models with new pathways for growth and targeted investments. This change is often challenging but necessary to unlock the next level of growth.