Enrollment services is the last link in a long chain of marketing activities that connect a university to its prospective students. At their best, enrollment specialists speak with the voice of your school, building personal connections and guiding prospects to take the next right action on their journey to potentially joining your institution.
But an enrollment services department can provide significant personalization and make timely calls if the team has accurate and useful data. The best way to capture and organize all that data is by using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. If your school is still relying on spreadsheets to track prospective students—or not using any system at all—a CRM system can transform your department, improving efficiency and fostering deeper, more authentic communication with prospects.
From marketing integration to data tracking to visibility, a CRM system has many benefits.
CRM Bridges the Gap Between Digital Marketing and Enrollment Services
Colleges with the most successful recruiting strategies facilitate close collaboration between marketing efforts and enrollment services. A CRM system arms enrollment representatives with marketing data that gives them background and context on the prospective student they’re texting, calling, or emailing with.
A very simplified version of an enrollment funnel looks like this:
Marketing (e.g. Facebook advertising, paid search advertising) → Lead Capture (e.g. via email or forms) → Enrollment Services
Marketing is responsible for warming up a lead for personal connection, at which point enrollment services takes over. This process runs smoothly when there is a strong link between the two teams. At MindMax, we often provide a hosted CRM and marketing automation system to give the entire team visibility into a prospect’s enrollment journey.
Using a CRM system with marketing integration allows enrollment services to:
- Prioritize leads. CRM data helps enrollment specialists prioritize who to contact next. Prospective students with the highest lead score, for example, are the most engaged with a college and usually the fastest to convert.
- Inform outreach strategies. Before contacting a lead, an enrollment specialist can reference prior marketing activity to inform the conversation. For example, if the prospective student engaged with an email earlier in the week, the enrollment specialist can touch on the information in that email during the call.
Tracking Data on Prospective Students with a CRM System
The vast quantities of data generated by digital marketing analytics mean that spreadsheets, personal files, and sticky notes on prospective students can only get you so far. A CRM system easily captures, organizes, and standardizes data to track each aspect of a prospective student’s journey.
What’s the difference between a spreadsheet and a CRM system? It’s similar to what makes a regular phone different from a smartphone. One allows you to make a simple call; the other stores contacts, sends messages, and lets you see the weather where the person you’re contacting lives.
Maintaining your prospective student data in one centralized location will allow you to expand the kind of information you capture. Contact details are important, but there’s more you need to know about prospective students:
- When are they interested in starting?
- Which degrees do they already have?
- What’s their area of academic interest?
- Do they want to attend college part-time or full-time? On or off campus?
Improve Visibility in the Enrollment Process
Tracking data with a CRM system increases your college’s overall visibility through the entire enrollment process.
This heightened visibility is especially effective for:
- Humanizing conversations. In enrollment services, the human element is crucial for connecting with prospective students. If an enrollment specialist understands a bit about the prospect’s background or even what marketing channel they came from, it’s easier for them to have a genuine, personal conversation.
- Fostering cross-team consistency. Conversations in customer service, sales, and marketing might be happening simultaneously. CRM allows the entire team to see what other departments are doing, creating a smoother transition between representatives or campaigns.
- Providing valuable insights. It can be difficult to nail down the average length of a prospective student’s journey. A CRM not only compiles data on individual prospects, but it also helps colleges analyze patterns and calibrate expectations for converting leads.
Does CRM sound like a better alternative to your current system for capturing and nurturing leads?
Contact us today to learn more about CRM and our enrollment management services.