Making Schools Safer with Mission-Driven Sales
Sales Productivity 06.06.2024

Making Schools Safer with Mission-Driven Sales

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Shownotes

Randy Welch talks about mission-driven sales in the education sector. He discusses his background in school psychology and administration, and how it led him to a career in education technology focused on school safety solutions. He emphasizes the importance of truly understanding customer needs through active listening. Randy also provides insights into navigating the challenges of the education market by prioritizing safety over sales numbers. The interview covers Randy’s vision for developing a holistic safety ecosystem and recommendations for incorporating learning into a sales mindset.

Best Moments

01:25 –  Randy shares his interesting career path from school psychology to education administration to education technology sales.
04:08 –  Randy discusses his passion coming from knowing they did something every day to make students, staff, and visitors safe.
05:53 –  The importance of truly understanding customer needs and pain points through active listening, rather than just hearing what they want to sell.
07:46 –  The importance of understanding the customer to help prioritize and bump up their needs on the priority list.
10:56 –  Randy provides his vision for a holistic, integrated safety ecosystem approach rather than isolated systems.

About the guest

Randy Welch is an educator at heart but found his way into the technology sector through his passion to ensure the safety and security of school students and staff. At Motorola Solutions, Randy oversees the education focused Sales efforts for the North America region and highlights the technology, safety, and security solutions schools need to solve their biggest safety challenges. Prior to Motorola Solutions, Randy served for more than 20 years as a school psychologist, special education director, Chief Program Officer, and board member for multiple public and charter schools. Randy has also spoken nationally and internationally about a variety of education topics.

Connect with Randy Welch

Key takeaways

  • Understand customer needs through active listening, not just hearing what they say
  • Prioritize solving customer problems and mission over making sales numbers 
  • Develop a holistic, integrated ecosystem approach to school safety rather than isolated systems
  • Keep focus on the mission of keeping students safe even during budget cuts or challenges
  • Incorporate continuous learning into sales through recommended books and shared learning
  • Bring an educator’s passion for learning to the sales field

Quotes

“Someone has a problem, your job is not to solve their problem, your job is to help them find a solution to that problem.” – Randy Welch on drawing connections between education and sales.

Highlights from this episode

Why is it important to uncover the true needs and pain points of customers in the education sector?

It’s important to uncover the true needs and pain points of customers in the education sector because their priorities may not always be obvious or what the salesperson expects. Randy emphasizes that educators are dealing with real challenges on a day-to-day basis, and it’s critical for salespeople to truly understand these challenges through active listening, not just hearing what will help make the sale. Discovering the real problems customers need to solve allows the salesperson to then craft customized, effective solutions instead of just pushing whatever product they want to sell. It helps form a better, more trusting relationship and ensures the customer’s most pressing needs are being addressed.

What are some of the challenges in solution selling to the education sector?

Some of the challenges in solution selling to the education sector that Randy mentioned include:

  • Politics and changing priorities – Initiatives and hot topics in education are always shifting based on the latest news or budget cycles. 
  • Tight budgets – Education budgets are often constrained, but understanding real needs helps prioritize spending. 
  • Bureaucracy – Multiple decision makers and approval layers can slow down sales cycles.
  • Changing administrators – New leadership means new priorities that may differ from past decision-makers.
  • Competing priorities – With limited funds, safety may compete with other important education goals.
  • Isolated systems – Past purchases were often one-off solutions, not integrated into a holistic approach.

The key is maintaining focus on the mission of safety, navigating political and fiscal challenges, and taking a holistic view of the customer’s entire operation and needs.

How would you like to see technology enhance school safety? What are the right metrics administrators should think about?

Randy would like to see technology enhance school safety by developing a singular, integrated ecosystem approach rather than isolated systems. He envisions tying together multiple systems that naturally work as one to fill all potential safety gaps.
The right metrics administrators should think about are taking a layered approach to protection – looking at safety solutions from the district level down to individual classrooms. Administrators should consider how to plug all holes that could lead to unsafe situations by developing an overall safety plan, rather than just purchasing separate systems individually. 

Some specific metrics Randy mentions are considering things like access control, intrusion detection, video surveillance, and other technologies not just as standalone products but as an integrated whole that enhances overall protection for students, staff, and facilities. The goal is a comprehensive, coordinated approach versus focusing on the single hottest or newest product category.

Along the lines of prioritizing, how do you navigate through initiatives, budgets, and bureaucracy in the education sector?

Randy shared some insights on how to navigate initiatives, budgets, and bureaucracy in the education sector:

  • Keep the focus on the mission of safety, rather than getting distracted by political changes or fiscal challenges. 
  • Truly understand customer needs and pain points so you can help prioritize safety even when budgets are tight. 
  • Find creative ways to phase solutions over multiple years if necessary to still address critical needs.
  • Decision-makers are more open to finding a budget when they understand the importance of the problem being solved.
  • Bureaucracy takes time but building trust through active listening helps solutions move up the priority list. 
  • Emphasize how solutions integrate with existing investments to maximize value for tight dollars.
  • Partner with organizations setting safety guidelines to demonstrate alignment with broader initiatives.

Resource recommendations

Books

-“New Sales. Simplified.” by Mike Weinberg.

-“Sales Management. Simplified.” by Mike Weinberg.

-“Selling in a Crisis” by Jeb Blount.

-“Sales EQ” by Jeb Blount.

-“The Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffrey Gitomer.

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OnBase

Bridging the Divide, Between Sales and Marketing

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