One of the biggest challenges educational technology startups face is determining the best approach to enterprise sales in the higher education market. Assuming a company has defined a product, general value proposition, and pricing, what should its strategy be with regard to B2B or enterprise sales to universities and colleges?

The real answer, as usual, is “It depends.” That said, I find the two rubric templates below useful as starting points for opportunity analysis. How you score the rubrics will depend on your particular product(s) and goals. You can access a Google Sheet with these rubric templates here.

Image showing rubric for evaluating value of different types of higher ed institutions to a vendor

For me, the process begins with deciding how to rank different categories of institutions with regard to my own business goals. This rubric is intended to help me define my priorities and the opportunities within those priorities. In the very early stages of product rollouts. especially for startups, gaining key reference clients is critical. If they have high brand value, regional or national, that’s a big plus. It’s also important to determine how you are measuring success and what your timetable is. For instance, if your key success indicator is the number of institutions signed in a short period of time, then you would probably prioritize smaller private and two-year universities /colleges, as well as regional public universities.

Image showing rubric for evaluating the value of a product to institutions in higher ed

Once you’ve narrowed your outreach scope to specific market segments, the next step is to think about your product/services from the viewpoint of the institution. What is the key value you are providing them and how big is their need?

Again, these are just starting points for your market analysis and organizing your thoughts around go-to-market strategies and the best way to get gain traction for your product(s) in higher education.