Pulling data from one system to another using your CRM for education creates a multi-channel communication strategy that speaks directly to each student and puts your institution in prime position in an ultra-competitive landscape. When using a CRM to take your strategies to the next level, there are critical components to address in order to maximize the benefits of your platform.
Here are five tips that can help you maximize your CRM to its full potential:
Don’t keep information for the sake of having information
Bringing in too many data elements from the beginning can cause headaches down the road. Data held in the system can be incredibly powerful, but only when it can be understood and harnessed. Keep data limited to what is necessary to ensure your system remains clean, navigable, and valuable. Common data points meeting these criteria are: basic contact information, academic programs and standings, registration information, and any special financial aid or scholarship statuses.
Create target groups
CRMs allow institutions to have a wealth of data that can easily be segmented and grouped to create effective target groups. Want to reach students who have a GPA over a certain point? Or, perhaps you’d like to send a message to all first generation students to let them know of a special scholarship? A CRM can allow your staff to create these target groups in a matter of minutes by simply selecting desired data points to group and hitting “save." Being able to create target groups on the fly offers flexibility in your communication plans and strategies, and provides institutions a way to make sure they are maximizing their use of multiple communication channels.
Put your communication plans to use
Changing communication content and target groups on the fly allows institutions to make quick decisions in reaction to large events like important registration dates or academic deadlines. However, once a communication is sent, the action doesn’t stop. The results and characteristics of that message can impact future communication decisions and make your communication plans stronger.
Using the reports feature in your CRM to create functional reporting dashboards, modifies communication plans for maximum effectiveness. Maybe you see that a certain group of students responds poorly to direct e-mails being sent.
- Did sending an e-mail a second time get a higher open rate than e-mails sent only once?
- Should you change your communication channel with that group to achieve better results?
Make use of the portal feature
Does your CRM have a portal feature? If not, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to get the right message in front of students. With today’s tech-savvy student, providing a centralized online environment for students to receive and consume relevant and personalized information is crucial. Portals, allow institutions to incorporate dynamic content relative to each student who logs in to make sure that content on the page is not white noise. Delivering this content can help make sure students are engaged and feel like they are getting the content they need and that institution is speaking to them directly.
Monitor the system regularly
Without regular maintenance and upkeep, a CRM can easily become overcrowded with duplicate information, outdated data, and unorganized communication plans. Conducting a regular system audit is a great way to help keep your system clean, valuable, and functioning the way originally intended. Think of a CRM like you’d think of your house: having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place will make it much easier to live in.
Important Steps for System Auditing
- Identify any data points or communications that are outdated or unused and remove.
- Run suspect duplicate checks to minimize duplicate contact records.
- Organize appropriately by using simple folder structures.
- Update reports and events that have changed over time.
People often believe that a CRM is a silver bullet to any recruiting or retention strategy. While a CRM is one component that can increase your results, it is just one piece of the overall relationship management puzzle. However, using a CRM can help you revitalize your institution’s recruitment and retention strategies, and ultimately recruit, enroll, and retain the right students. Contact us to learn more about our technology solutions for higher education.
We want to hear from you. What advanced CRM techniques do you incorporate into your communication plans?