In the education sector, managing data effectively with CRM software is the key to unlocking the full growth potential of your establishment, regardless of size or market. This is precisely the challenge that faced one of our European customers, the Rome Business School, who have embraced our software and transformed their approach to student recruitment, in-take and profile management. In the last four months they have enrolled more students than in the whole of last year!
So how did they accomplish this feat?
By Taking Ownership
To implement CRM for maximum gain, it’s clear that someone has to take firm ownership, which means committing to becoming a ‘super user’ of your chosen CRM, setting it up to match your precise needs, engaging colleagues – and ideally other teams – and tracking success.
Ryan Lee Ashbaugh, Head of Admissions Department is firmly at the helm of Rome Business School’s CRM project. He explains: “Maximizer was a perfect fit for our organisation as we could customize it easily using User Defined Fields (UDFs), without needing specialist technical knowledge. No CRM system just ‘works’ without effort. It took me a month to configure it; adding company-specific fields identifying the number of days between each process milestone, thereby providing a clear baseline to improve upon. It was a bit involved as we have about nine gates in our process with many variables, but that effort has paid off.”
Like many CRM leaders these days, Ryan prefers to self-educate – and turned to our video tutorials for assistance. “I was able to teach myself how to use the lead module, for instance, and set up an integration with Word to quickly and easily generate official documents on the spot, saving hundreds of labor hours per year. Now, we are working on doing the same with Excel for our reporting to upper management. I like that the tutorials are public and easy to digest. Although Maximizer’s partner EagleProject provides great service if we need them, we are able to work independently.”
Being Clear On Objectives
As with any business transformation project, defining your objectives from the outset is vital to pave the way to success. Rome Business School’s aim is to increase admissions from a baseline of 400 to 1000 by 2020 and 5,000 by 2023 – which is perfectly achievable given the progress they’ve already made with Maximizer.
Ryan says: “My intention from the outset was to leverage powerful sales and marketing intelligence by drilling down into the characteristics of our applicants, and then applying this knowledge to target our communications more effectively. Understanding our customer base, refining our marketing and communications, driving enrolments and ensuring a smooth journey from initial enquiry to job placement – we aim high!”
Wide Internal Adoption
In our experience, many CRM initiatives fall down because the system isn’t used extensively enough to deliver value.
You need to make the most of the features available to you. With Maximizer, there are no additional costs – you can access every module within the all-inclusive fee, and tailor the way you use each one to suit your needs.
Rome Business School is using the lead module to log, track and analyse enquiries, giving them much greater control and visibility than before; and then when leads get ‘warmer’, our Opportunity module comes into play. This gives them real insight into their sales process. Additionally, they use Dashboards to report on enrollments and to show precisely how many students they have at each sales stage. If you want to improve conversions, this granular information is invaluable.
Ryan also highlights: “CRM will under perform unless you use it to bridge teams within your organisation. It’s ideal to prevent siloed working. We have an expanding user base of around 20 across Recruitment, Marketing, Student Services and Administration. This means that one single record is set up for each student – from the point of their enquiry. It starts with basic information and then becomes a more rounded profile as we capture data at each stage of their journey with us.”
With this set-up, each team can access and update their records in real-time, empowering them to deliver a consistent and seamless student experience.
Turning Insight Into Improvement
Capturing and managing data in a structured, centralized way is hugely beneficial for the administration side of Admissions. But the real power, as Ryan has pinpointed, lies in turning data into intelligence and acting upon your findings.
“By analyzing what our enrolled students have in common – and also the profiles of those who make an enquiry but don’t go on to enroll – we have gained a unique understanding of our audience,” he says. “For instance, we receive a large amount of applications from Sub-Saharan Africa so we wanted to improve our knowledge of this target market. By using Maximizer to segment this group, we identified that students are typically over 35 and are interested in online learning. This really helped us to refine our marketing techniques and direct spend in the most efficient way.”
Do you know why your leads are not being converted to opportunities? How successful are your marketing campaigns? With a properly configured CRM, you can perform the data-driven analysis that will provide the answers.
Our customers are continually pushing themselves to derive even greater value from their CRM investment, and to learn how to shape Maximizer’s range of functions to their organisation.
Rome Business School plans to delve deeper into marketing analysis, for instance tagging records by their lead source (Facebook advert, Google Ad words, email campaign etc). They also want to automate more in the future, now that they’ve made such good progress with defining and standardizing processes. Ryan adds: “I would also like to see both the Academic Office using the CRM to track metrics such as grades and attendance as well as the Administration Office for tracking payments and issuing invoices. That would mean that we can manage the entire student life-cycle in the CRM.”
Putting science behind decision-making is paying off enormously for the Admissions department, and that is directly attributable to Maximizer. They feel in control of their CRM, have confidence that it is working for them, and that it optimizes their processes and their time.
Ryan concludes: “Undoubtedly we have become more efficient per capita, and it’s an exciting time as we embark on the next phase of our CRM journey.”