Three Ways You Might Not Be Using Your CRM & How It’s Impacting Enrollment

Posted: June 11, 2021

Brandi Stocker Director of Research & Analytics

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3.5 min. read

If you have found yourself trying to find ways to increase the number of applications and enrollments at your school, you’re not alone. 

As the pandemic year heavily impacted enrollment at most schools, leaders in Admissions, Enrollment Management, and Marketing shifted their energy into discovering new ways to attract and retain students. 

While one strategy won’t solve all enrollment challenges, there is one tool that you likely already have at your fingertips and may not be using to its maximum capacity. This magical tool is….drumroll….your CRM! 

Levering Predictive Insights

Think of your Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) as a repository of data. If it houses all of your prospect and admissions data, then you have exactly what you need to understand those data trends showing you who is interested and engaged with your school. By using predictive analytics, data you already have can be analyzed to forecast how many students and what student types can be expected to enroll in future terms. Having these kinds of insights can be used to your benefit, as you align recruitment and media spend to focus on audiences you already know are likely to be more interested in your school.

Develop Data-Driven Interaction Tracking 

Half of the schools I work with use standard interaction tracking functions within their CRM to document interactions and engagements with prospects, applicants, and admitted students. 

While this is a useful way to document and update records in your CRM, there are creative ways you can use interaction tracking to better align with recruitment practices. Whether you’re using Slate, Salesforce, or another platform, consider implementing these ideas for effective recruitment:

  1. Understand how your past and current prospects are interacting with your school. Develop custom interaction fields that better align with how they’re engaging with you.
  2. Align text communications with specific interaction types. For example, send a text to a prospect who has not answered their phone in the last three attempts. Perhaps that person prefers text over phone calls?
  3. Use CRM reporting to understand school engagements by audience type and use that data to invest in future activities and events. Do your prospective graduate business and nursing students engage with your virtual information sessions at a much higher rate than undergraduate students? What kind of data trends does interaction tracking provide to you based on traditional vs. non-traditional students? Perhaps traditional students have a much higher likelihood of interacting with an Admissions Counselor at least 5-10 more times than a non-traditional student? 

Use Those Forms to Personalize Your Communications

If there is one way schools use their CRM, it is primarily to send out email blasts or drip campaign communications. Chances are, you’re doing that already. Consider innovative ways to learn more about your prospects to develop even deeper, more personalized communication content that caters to who they are and what they’re really looking for.

In an age of personalization, prospects expect you to meet them where they are and serve them information that gives them exactly what they’re looking for, in the shortest amount of time. 

So how can you do this if you’re trying to follow best practices by keeping your RFI forms super short and asking for minimal contact info? 

One simple way to learn more about your prospects is to generate forms from your CRM to embed within inquiry based communications to capture additional prospect information. Think of this as an RFI form that is placed perfectly within that first “here’s what you need to know about us” email that goes out to prospects. Consider what additional information you want to learn about them and find a creative way to encourage them to share more about themselves. 

They’re already intrigued after having opened that first email, so the time is right to continue learning more about them as they learn more about you. By doing so, you can use future communications to target their needs more specifically, which can increase enrollments. 

CRM’s offer a ton of functions that can be used to have a positive impact on enrollment. I always encourage schools to think creatively about ways to enhance how they use the most basic functions. Attending webinars and conferences hosted by your CRM provider is also a fantastic way to learn how other schools, similar to yours, find innovative ways to make their CRM work harder and smarter for them!

Dr. Brandi Stocker is an accomplished CRM expert who has helped a number of higher ed institutions revolutionize and automate their strategies for nurturing leads to enrollment. If you have questions or want to start a conversation with Brandi about how we can help you use your CRM to its full potential, please reach out to us.