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					Igniting Cognite Sales:
Understanding the Customer and the Competition

                         Cognite Team Sales Meeting
                         October 13, 2010

                         Facilitated by Glen McCandless

The Cognite Competitive Process

• Market environment and competitive landscape
  – Terminology and the LMS lexicon
  – Adoption cycle and implications

• LMS space vs. library automation space
• Target segment positioning and characteristics
• Cognite positioning: platform or application?

Cognite Sales Environment
• Rapid changes in school market
   – Rapid movement to digital: school library > digital portfolio
   – Pressure to re-engineer the instructional process (why?)
   – Administrators are seeking fewer, more meaningful relationships and
     value-added partnerships with suppliers

• Demanding, highly-competitive sales environment
   – Products and product-features blurred
   – Information overload: decision makers swamped with sales calls

• Follett’s new product portfolio of strategic offerings
The Technology Adoption Curve

        15%         Solution Appeal

   Product Appeal

Innovators: Technology Enthusiasts
• Motivation: Learn about new technologies for
  their own sake
  – Aptitude for technical information
  – Like to test new products
  – Tolerant of missing pieces

• Challenges:
  – Unlimited access to developers and tech support
  – Want it free

Early adopters: Visionaries
• Motivation: Gain dramatic advantage from a
  technology breakthrough
  –   Great imaginations for strategic applications
  –   Attracted by high-risk, high-reward propositions
  –   Will commit to supply the missing elements
  –   Want order-of-magnitude gains — so not price-sensitive

• Challenges
  – Want rapid time-to-market
  – Demand high degree of customization and support

Early Majority: Pragmatists
• Motivation: Gain productivity improvements
  through structured, predictable change
  –   Astute managers of mission-critical applications
  –   Understand real-world issues and tradeoffs
  –   Focus on proven applications
  –   Like to go with the market leader

• Challenges:
  – Insist on good references from trusted colleagues
  – Want to see the solution in use at reference sites

The K-12 “LMS” Market:
Where Are We?

How do you achieve high growth with complex
technologies and product lifecycles? Attract

                     Market Leader

   $                 Sales Leader

                    Product Leader

K-12 LMS vs. Library Automation

                  Library         LMS

Market Share



Desired outcome

Funding Sources

Target Customer Positioning
Use stories and anecdotes to clarify your sales message

                        Identify and describe the most
                        powerful “before and after”
                        scenario for the primary user in
                        terms of:
                           • New approach
                           • Enabling factors
                           • Pay-off

Selling Applications vs. Platforms

                       Application             Platform

Design Strategy         Proprietary     Open

Competitive Strategy   Price /feature   Ecosystem

Standardization          Multiple       One

Importance to            Helpful        Essential
overall system
Economic incentives       Buyers        Developers
focused on

Understanding the Customer
• Decision-making matrix
• Decision drivers
• The buying and selling process
• Implementation of instructional technology
• Preparing for success

Buying decision matrix for
instructional technology
                  User                    Owner
                   Interested in how      Interested in
   High            the decision will      “looking good” and
   Involvement     affect his work–       may have strong
                   often subjective       biases or opinion

                  Gatekeeper              Ratifier
                   Interested in cost /    Interested in “big
    Low            benefit details and     picture” and usually
    Involvement    compliance –            has veto power
                   can’t say yes but
                   can say no

                       Influencers          Decision Makers
Cognite decision-drivers



District Buying Process
(for mission-critical technology programs)

Discover     Evaluate     Analyze         Verify       Decide   Implement

                             Barriers may stall or block each
                             step of the buying process

Buying Process Context:
Textbook Adoption Process

District Selling Process
Preparation, Tools, and Resources are Key to “Nailing It”

Qualify    Present    Prove        Refer        Close         Develop

                              Prepare the right tools to
                              remove barriers along the way

Sales process for “mission critical”
instructional technology adoptions
• Long sales cycle to reach full potential
  (district-wide adoption)
• Really, it is not a product buying decision… it
  is a commitment to implement a new
  approach to teaching and learning
• Multi-year, multi-step process to fully develop
  the account

• Mission critical instructional technology: Multi-
  faceted program based on a clearly articulated theory
  of instructional delivery; designed to address
  complex teaching and learning problems.
• Implementation: A purposeful set of activities
  designed to put into practice a new instructional
  technology so the new program is used in such a way
  that independent observers can see and understand its

Implementation of instructional
technology by school districts
                                        Exploring: Investigating the alignment of the new tools and
                                        approach with the prospective customer’s philosophy of teaching
                                        and learning.

                                        Developing: Learning how to use the tools and developing the
                                        skills to benefit from the new approach.

                                        Applying: Using the new tools and approach in classes with
                                        support (e.g., participating in additional learning opportunities and
                                        networking with the user community)

                                        Integrating: Adopting the new approach into the philosophy of
                                        teaching and learning

                                        Sustaining & Advancing: Impacting the learning environments
                                        through use new processes and tools

Any individual or group of individuals may be at different stages of the process!

Preparing for Success
Your time invested at
the top of the sales
planning pyramid                    Return on
will have the greatest   Strategy   Investment
impact on sales



District Sales Preparation
Knowing about the
potential customer,
especially the people                      Importance of
involved in the                            your research
decision, is critical    Decision
to your success.


                   U.S. Public Education

Do your homework!
You can’t bluff your way through.

• Research state’s education agenda and
  initiatives, political context, and issues
• Learn about district’s status, history, initiatives,
  news, organizational structure, leadership
• Research the people: so you know who to
  approach first. Identify “movers and shakers”
• Formulate your strategy; plan your meeting

Whoya gonna call?
Begin process with an administrator who…

• Is involved in the buying decision
• Has a personal interest in its outcome
• Has adequate rank to affect the decision
• Has sufficient influence to affect the informal
  decision-making process

Whoya gonna call?
Clues to look for during research phase:
• Track record: Was instrumental in the success of
  strategic initiatives and programs implemented in the
  district during the past several years.
• Current value: Their name is linked to a new
  initiative or important program for the district now.
• Network: Their name is linked to multiple
  initiatives and programs now, and has been.
• Inner circle: Regardless of their title, they enjoy
  high respect and connection to the formal decision

The Questioning Framework
Use questions to establish your credibility and trust
• The questions you ask during a district sales call are
  formulated based on the research you’ve done – they
  give you “credit” for having done your homework.
• “Question layering” results from careful listening
  and developing your ability to unpack issues and dig
  deep into the challenges that the district leader faces.
• Conduct an interview with questions that allow the
  administrator to reveal problems that you may be
  able to help solve

• Doing research, preparation and having a sales
  strategy is the most important aspect for
  success at the district level. You will be more
  confident with:
  – Who to call on to begin the sales process
  – Questions to ask and issues to unpack
  – Your ability to establish trust and credibility


• When you sell Cognite, you are really selling
  behavior change and the commitment to an
  implementation process.
• The way to overcome obstacles is to anticipate them
  and be prepared with a response
• Many people influence district buying decisions,
  formally and informally.
• Important to build relationship and trust through
  honest communication and intense focus on the
  people who will influence a buying decision.


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