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Angela Kunawicz 20th October 2023

Selling to Schools

THE UK’s schools and local authorities are as unique as the children they support. It goes without saying that school funding and spending needs to reflect this. The government has pledged an extra £2 billion of revenue funding to schools this academic year and the same again in 2024-25. And while schools can choose how to spend this supplementary funding, why should they invest in your services and how do you know if they’re the right fit for your business? With more than a decade of experience in the education sector, Blueberry is here to guide you through the process and help you meet your business aspirations.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr Seuss
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First and foremost, by pinpointing the target demographic of schools, you can successfully develop a focused marketing strategy to suit schools in your area of interest. You should review indicators such as Ofsted results, school size and phase of education. What type of establishment is it? For instance, is it an academy or a Special Education Needs & Disabilities (SEND) school? Consider pupil characteristics – are they from a deprived area, do they have low prior attainment, is English their second language and how many students receive pupil premium funding? Schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged or vulnerable children may receive extra funding to address their specific needs.

What is Your Target Demographic?

You may run a reading initiative to tackle the rise in “reluctant readers,” hold mindfulness workshops to alleviate anxiety or help to foster children’s creativity, teamwork, and personal growth through extracurricular activities. Your company may provide specialised support services, learning aids for teachers or simply white boards and handwriting pens. Whatever you deliver, produce or supply, make sure you understand school budgets. After all, extra funding comes with extra opportunities for your business to collaborate with schools.

School Funding – What Do You Need to Know?

You may be thinking, do I really need to know about school funding? Can’t I simply call every school in the directory and charm the headteachers into employing our services? To be blunt, that attitude is as maddening as asking an English teacher if you must write in full sentences.

How can you possibly reach your target audience without understanding which budget your provisions could come from? Are your services more in tune with a forest school than an ultramodern sixth-form college? Do your skills lie with gifted and talented students, children with special educational needs or pupils with reading difficulties? By figuring out your definitive demographic, you can ensure you’re not casting your net too wide and lowering your overall ROI.

So, how much do you know about school budgets and school funding? Do you know your PG Tips from your PDGs? How about the difference between an NFT and the NFF? And what on earth is an Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI)?

Find out the answers & uncover more exclusive content by downloading our selling to schools e-book here.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Dr Seuss

Location, Location, Location

Another factor to consider is demographic location. While your services might be of interest nationally, do you have the resources to manage this? Think about where your team are based in relation to each school. And what about your sales team? Can they logistically get to appointments? Are you allowing enough time for them to engage with clients? In Blueberry’s experience, going out and meeting school staff in person shows you value their time and business, helps to foster strong relationships and is key to building loyalty and trust.

But at the same time, we understand that in person meetings are not always possible. Fortunately, virtual meetings make it easier to coordinate with colleagues and potential clients. In fact, some people (especially swamped teachers) prefer remote interactions to in-person sales meetings. Find what works best for you and your client.

“Today is your day, your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”
Dr Seuss


Another point to remember, is that you’re not actually selling to the school itself, you’re selling to a person. And that individual is likely to be the main driving force pushing your product or services to the ultimate decision-maker. And while you might presume the head teacher is the first person you should approach, you’ll find more affinity with the senior leadership team, a departmental head, business manager or key stage coordinator. Focus on building a relationship with these individuals. Find out what their job entails, what day-to-day challenges staff face and how you can you alleviate some of their “pain points.”

It goes without saying that school staff are time poor and have many responsibilities and pressing obligations. Make sure you don’t add to their workload. Blueberry understands why school decision-makers don’t respond well to a “hard sell” approach. That’s why we’d encourage you to build a rapport with key decision-makers - be personable, conversational, and responsive. Take the time to really talk to them, understand their needs and explain how your service could help their school, staff, and pupils rather than pushing your hard-sell agenda.

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Once you have identified your ideal target profile, you need to think about how to promote your services to attract the greatest uptake. It is crucial to use the right method of engagement to reach the right people. Begin by distinguishing between the different channels of communication and identify the best route and sales process for you and your potential clients.

Is email, social media, or telemarketing your best bet? Would your prospects be interested in an informal webinar, workshop, or demonstration? Your clients may prefer to be approached at exhibitions, conferences, or twilight events? Develop a marketing strategy that outlines your overall communication process, then identify the available budget and your chosen methods of engagement. What do you want to achieve? What is the crux of your message? How can you help them? Whether you choose one or multiple channels of engagement, make sure you don’t bombard prospects with an overload of information from all directions. A friendly follow-up call after meeting a prospect at a trade show is effective, but several emails, direct mail and voice messages is excessive.

“And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! 98 and three-quarter per cent guaranteed.”
Dr Seuss

A key barrier in engaging with schools is the time you choose to get in touch. Given the non-office-based nature of teachers, getting through can be a challenge. Scheduling engagement time accordingly is imperative to ensure you’re maximising speak to rates.

Find out how Blueberry reached significantly higher numbers of prospective clients by selecting the best time of day to call them. And discover how personal emails can increase your sales opportunities by downloading our schools e-book here.


Lastly, consider your final steps to reach your goal. Do you want teachers to sign up for a webinar, download an e-book or attend an engaging twilight event? The way you handle yourself and your potential clients at this stage could determine whether you clinch the deal. If you’ve made it this far, then you could rightly assume they are interested. But remember, it’s not always about persuading your prospects to sign up at once. You’re highly likely to put them off completely if you put too much pressure on them to engage with your product or service. Blueberry has found that running targeted events can triple engagement with teachers compared to setting appointments alone. It’s far more sensible to nurture your prospects until they’re ready and able to broker that coveted deal.


Setting yourself up as a thought leader and expert in your field is crucial in convincing schools that they need your business and considerable expertise. Ensure that you and your team are equipped with essential, up-to-date, and salient information before you make your pitch. Do you have any other information, practical advice, or valuable tips you could share with your prospects? Do you have glowing testimonials from other educators endorsing your work? Can you show how effective your work is in schools by providing them with previous success stories, impressive case studies or flourishing collaborations? Brainstorm the fundamental type of questions they might ask you. Be prepared for any awkward, complicated, or problematic queries that may arise. Positioning yourself as a leading authority in the market will increase your likelihood of conversion.

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Spending decisions within schools can be complex, but by delivering your sales pitch to the right individuals you have a greater chance of conversion. As Fergal Glynn, VP of Marketing at Docurated, says, “communication and relationship-building are what selling is all about. But you cannot do either if you never meet.”

[Copyright © 2023 Angela Kunawicz & Blueberry Marketing Solutions. All rights reserved.]

Need some help? Get in touch! Blueberry will help you develop an outstanding school selling strategy and ensure your campaign is top of the class with our engaging, data-driven, and multi-channel marketing approach. Discover how we can help you meet your business growth objectives. Visit https://blueberryms.co.uk, email: info@blueberryms.co.uk or call: 0113 4877013

Written By Angela Kunawicz
Angela is an award winning journalist, videographer and marketeer who has worked in regional and international media outlets across the UK and Middle East, including the BBC and Abu Dhabi Media Company. With a flair for human interest stories, hard news and campaigns, she has also been commended for her outstanding photography and video productions.

Also written by Angela