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October 27, 2014 Business Technologies

CRM Systems for Colleges and Universities

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By Sonja Fridell

The future of higher education lies in successful implementation of CRM

We’ve all heard about how successful Arizona State University has been with their online learning programs. So how did they do it? Truth is, Arizona State would have gone nowhere fast if not for their CRM System.

CRM, or “Customer Retention Management” software is the means in which growing colleges and universities track applicants, students, and alumni for a multitude of reasons.


How are colleges and universities using CRM?

1. Admissions and Enrollment –

Schools use CRM systems to track students from the admissions and application process all the way to graduation. Below is a quote from Georgetown University’s Director of Executive Recruitment and Admissions at the McDonough School of Buisness, Kirsten Sands, as she discusses Georgetown’s implementation of Salesforce:

“I am confident that the next cohort of executives we recruit will be the strongest we have seen at the business school in the program’s 20 year history because we have been more effective at targeting who we are working with, we’ve elevated our level of customer service, and we support every applicant’s unique interest to the program by effectively managing relationships through Salesforce.”

Sands explains how the data of a CRM system influences alumni targeting and improves customer service. With a well developed CRM system, you can track logged emails and notes, helping you zero-in on alumni interest.

2. Student Retention Software –

With CRM, institutions can track student retention and degree completion rates with ease. You can segment which programs at your school have the highest and lowest retention rates and find out what you can do to improve them. CRM systems with easily customizable modules like SugarCRM allow you to track year-by-year and semester-by-semester trends to make educated decisions. There’s even a way that you can receive a warning when students dip below a given GPA (represented by the diagram below). In this example, once a student’s GPA is not above a 2.5, an alert is sent out automatically.

3. Alumni Management Software –

Georgetown University also uses CRM to control Alumni relationships. Again, custom modules within the CRM can monitor donations, events and more. Salesforce has an excellent article on how schools and non-profits use CRM for fundraising, more on that here.

4. Capital Campaign Fundraising Software –

Westmount College was using the same applications for fundraising it had been using for a long, long time. The problem was, the upkeep on the fundraising application was so severe the IT team at the college had no time for anything else. Here’s a quote from a Salesforce regarding Westmount:

“By leveraging a cloud computing solution like Salesforce, Westmont College freed up its IT staff from keeping the lights on for legacy applications to focus on advancement innovation resulting in a 250% increase in fundraising in 3 years.”

5. Which CRM is Best for Your School –

Salesforce? SugarCRM? There are a large variety of solutions out there, but how can you be sure you’re choosing the best one? Before you submit a lengthy request for a proposal, it’s best to check in with an objective consultant (we don’t just sell one brand of CRM) that is experienced with learning institutions (like BrainSell) to get exactly what you want out of your system. Contact BrainSell for more information.



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