Customer Relationship Management software also referred to as CRM is a universally used tool across many industries. Whether it’s a platform like hubspot or any other CRM available it’s the most universally accepted system for holding customer data and tracking activity. They have evolved over time as well, one might say pencil and paper was the first iteration then we moved to spreadsheets and now you have sophisticated intuitive cloud based SASS platforms available to companies large and small. Schools utilize CRM’s a as well, public, private, elementary to universities institutions have found CRM as a useful tool especially when it comes to enrollment management. The challenge is CRM’s have become so sophisticated that often times people in enrollment management positions aren’t utilizing the full capabilities of the system. This could be b/c they were poorly trained on the system, or perhaps through updates and new versions have been able to keep up with newer functions. Whatever the case may be schools should take the time to train enrollment to utilize all of the necessary elements of their CRM and they’ll hit and exceed goals. This is more cost effective, there’s also automation features, you have access to analytic and it can help better connect your marketing and sales efforts,and you can track contacts from lead to close.
One of the biggest advantages of current day CRM tools is automation. However your institution is procuring leads i.e - school fairs, guidance counselors, ads with a call to action etc. Once those leads are secured and entered into the CRM most will allow you to set up parameters in which it will automatically reach out to the prospect mostly via email perhaps social media or another type of messaging service or can alert you that it’s the appropriate time to reach out/follow up with a prospect. These automation functions will on a basic level give the department more time to focus on activities that will continue to feed the pipeline with potential students and not be bogged down with administrative functions like follow up emails or tracking if a student registered for a class etc. Use automated functions to take some of that of their plate.
Connected to the function of automation a CRM can also track what stage you’re prospective student is in on the “buyers journey” (Awareness, Consideration, Decision) depending on exactly where that prospect is on the journey you can automate the type of correspondence they’re supposed to receive. You don’t want a prospect who’s dong prelim research to be receiving phone calls from the school about registering for classes and in the same way you don’t want a prospect who’s ready to make a decision receiving awareness level emails. You’re CRM should be intuitive enough to let the administration know where a prospect is in that journey and more than likely they'll be able to automate the appropriate response.
One of the best advantages of a good CRM is the analytics. Most CRM can provide you with in depth metrics on every aspect of your sales and marketing especially in regards to the digital functions. How many visits to your sites, which pages specifically are garnering the most visits, which calls to action have the most conversions and what is the prospect to close ratio. These and many other metrics can be generated via your CRM, most will also let you customize not only which metrics you’d like to see most but the time span it should cover daily, weekly, monthly, year to date, compared to last year etc. A continuous deep dive (At Highbrid we do this on a Weekly basis not only for our clients but ourselves as well) into these metrics will uncover nuggets of important data that will improve your overall process. Imagine looking at a 3 month data set and realizing that most prospects converted on blog content that’s released at 3pm on Friday afternoons. Once you have this piece of data what adjustments might you consider making? If you said creating more blog like content to be released at or around 3pm on Friday’s your correct! This is a small example of how access to the proper data provide by your CRM can help you hit those ever important goals.
Whether it’s a school or a mom and pop convenience store it’s always to the businesses advantage to have sales and marketing that work in sync with one another. “Smarketing” as it’s often referred to is not only a system it’s a mindset and culture. A seamless integration smarketing makes sure that all of your efforts are geared to one ultimate goal completing the sale/delighting the customer. The most intuitive CRM’s have smarketing functions built in. Now depending on the bandwidth of the department sales and marketing can be handled separately or under one umbrella either way smarketing techniques and tools provided by your CRM can be advantageous. Ideally your system that can alert you to when your prospect has reached key benchmarks on the buyers journey. When they’re a prospect to the point where they’ve become a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and continue to be nurtured down the buyers journey till they’re a sales qualified lead (SQL) at this point they can be exposed to decision stage material and closed. A smarketing mindset and process will increase results if implemented properly.
One of the consequences of not using all elements of your CRM is that you’re letting wins that are right there in front of you slip through your fingers, while probably at the same time expanding resources to make gains that are further away. Using automation, smarketing, analytics and many of the other tools that modern day CRM’s give you access too can maximize your efforts and increase ROI helping you scrape every last morsel of meat of those bones. In the end it’s for more effective and lucrative to maximize yields from current efforts than to try and and increase or add to those efforts.
Maximizing return, having sales and marketing work together, access to in depth metrics, and automation are a few of many reasons utilizing all the tools in your current CRM or finding a CRM with the tools can increase enrollment activity and help your institution achieve it’s goals. What are the other ways you’ve seen schools maximize CRM use for enrollment management? Feel free to share in the comments section below we love feedback from our readers.