Working With VisionPoint: CRM Lead Nurturing

Posted: January 12, 2023

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This post is one part in a series about what makes VisionPoint unique in the higher ed enrollment marketing world and what you can expect when you become a client partner with us. Stay tuned for other blog posts in this series that will pull back the curtain on what we do so you know exactly what you’ll be getting working with our industry experts.

Background Info

In over 21 years in higher ed enrollment marketing, VisionPoint Marketing has learned a thing or two. One of the most important facets of our business is the fact that we don’t just make the ads and stop there. We work with client partners to then use those ads correctly to nurture leads which will then hopefully turn into students. 

One of the main ways we do this is by giving support to our client partners beyond top-of-funnel efforts. We’ve refined those efforts and now our experts are refining and expanding mid- and bottom-of-funnel efforts within customer relationship management (CRM) software. So when a client signs on for our CRM expertise, they know they’ll be in very capable hands. 

The need for CRM support and lead nurturing is only growing; demand for this type of specialty is only increasing as the higher ed enrollment marketing landscape is changing. And our experts are adaptable to any institution’s needs. This is not a set-it-and-forget it type of relationship we have with our client partners. We are in the trenches working with them to gather the most qualified leads for them to nurture.

Each partner we work with has different needs. For example, our community college client partners are usually “open enrollment” institutions, so while applications are required, the admissions process can look more like a registration process. “Once we’ve got students through the inquiry-to-register stage – and that stage is usually a several-step process – our CRM efforts become about retention. Most community colleges have to work hard to keep students progressing from one term to the next, almost ‘re-registering’ them each term,” Matt Walters, VisionPoint Marketing’s vice president of strategic initiatives, states. So the nurturing process our community college client partners need for their current students requires different set-ups in their CRM.

And we’re here for it!

A Focus on CRMs

Drip campaigns have value for all higher ed institutions. Those emails that go out at specific times, those text messages that remind students to apply or register for classes, and those personalized calls by admissions counselors or advisors – these are all important, “but how do you sprinkle in personalization? Do you get outreach from faculty?” Brandi Stocker, senior director of enrollment strategy, emphasizes the point. “The CRM is only as strong as the humans using them.”

Higher ed institutions trust us to help find the balance needed for their students. What should they say and when? Finding that cadence of messages comes down to building relationships.

It costs more money to find new leads than it does to nurture leads that our client partners have. So if we can build those relationships and personalize their messaging, our clients can save money and we can deliver good ROI.

CRMs that are implemented by a good team can be game changers. And, let’s face it – higher ed institutions are doing good work, but it’s focused on improving lives. Getting students to fill out an application just gives our client partners a new starting line. We work at the intersection between marketing and enrollment to make sure those leads become students and that those students feel heard and valued. We build those relationships so that our client partners’ students want to stay students.

If you want to see what we can do, look no further than UC Davis. With our CRM setup and lead nurturing help during Covid, we drove unprecedented yield outcomes with seamless segmented outreach, including 3,200 students over their enrollment projections. Their website got over 13,000 clicks and 4.2 impressions. They had an open/click-through rate three times the industry average: 73.16% open rate and 12.96% CTR.

Our experts are, well, experts at knowing which system will best fit our client partners’ needs, and we’re here to help set it up. Our client National Park College was using a lot of systems, and what they needed was a full-scale CRM one-stop shop for managing leads and applications. Portland State needed nurturing that led to more certifications for their students. And the Center for Brain Health needed help leveraging forms, getting the information out, and tracking their records. They got it all with VisionPoint Marketing.

Meet VisionPoint’s CRM and Enrollment Strategy Team

Our CRM and Enrollment Strategy Team itself has almost 50 years of combined experience honing its expertise in enrollment nurturing techniques!

Brandi Stocker, senior director of enrollment strategy, has spent 17 years in higher ed enrollment management. She’s been involved in recruiting, advising, and retention strategy, and has implemented several CRM systems.

Danielle Attanasio, a CRM strategist, works mostly with the Slate CRM and is primarily focused on implementation and developing strong operations for daily CRM use.

Nadine Hawkins, a CRM strategist, has worked at all levels of higher ed – graduate schools, community colleges, and small private schools. She’s worked with several different front-facing communication CRMs, different student information systems (SIS), and has led several CRM implementations.

Kendra Oswald, a CRM specialist at VisionPoint Marketing, spent 14 years in higher ed, and now works alongside a CRM Strategist to build out key functional areas within CRM systems to help guide and support our client partners in achieving enrollment goals. 

The CRM and Enrollment Strategy Team knows that just because a CRM is fantastic doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for a specific school. They listen, discuss, and take the time to understand the needs of each individual client partner before recommending a specific CRM. They often emphasize that a CRM does not replace human contact, but frees up admissions staff to spend time elsewhere.

VisionPoint’s Offerings

We are excited to be updating our standard offerings to help our client partners achieve even better enrollment outcomes using CRMs. Some of our biggest work has been with Slate, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Ellucian Recruit, Pardot, HubSpot, Element 451, MailChimp, but our CRM and Enrollment Strategy Team has the expertise and know-how to work in other CRMs as well. VisionPoint Marketing’s standard offerings include:

  • Lead nurturing strategy.
  • Lead nurturing communications planning and content development.
  • Lead nurturing measurement and optimization.

Additional non-traditional services we can now provide include:

  • Improving CRM system utilization.
  • Choosing and implementing a CRM.
  • CRM measurement services.

If your institution doesn’t have a CRM or cannot afford the big budget that a CRM requires, that doesn’t mean we can’t help. Even without a CRM, VisionPoint Marketing can help clients with lead nurturing as long as you are willing to make some sort of investment in an automation platform (i.e., Mailchimp).

Work With Us

Whether you’re a big four-year system or a small community college, VisionPoint can help nurture your leads, giving you the best opportunity to increase enrollment. Ready to talk about your college’s specific needs? Reach out to our Vice President Dana Cruikshank to get the conversation started.

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