3 Best Higher Education CRM Software Buyersí Guide


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Higher Education CRM Software

Higher Education CRM software serves one overarching goal for creating more valuable customer relationships. Create existing relationships more valuable and assists in creating new relationships to in turn create value.

More value typically means simply more money in the business world. But few schools are fully¬† profit-driven, so where and what exactly does “creating value” really mean in terms¬† of an HEI? It can actually mean:

  • Getting new students and enhancing enrollment
  • Increasing student engagement thru school activities
  • Growing community involvement by participation in school programs
  • Strengthening & improving relationships with alumni and faculty
  • Getting in touch with¬† donors and alumni & improving relationships with them

These are the few broader goals of higher education CRM software which is being mentioned in the specific CRM applications used to meet them. It will be assist to first distinguish CRM from the other software platforms used by institutions for higher learning.

How Is CRM Different From Other Higher Education Software

There’s no shortage of software designed for HEIs. Conventionally, the most common type used by learning institutions is called school administration software. Another typically used term is “student information system.” The said system is designed to manage the mission-critical aspects of school administration, like :

  • Application process
  • Class enrollment and scheduling
  • Tuition invoicing and billing
  • Class attendance and student grading
  • Class credit and graduation needs
  • Student and parent contact information

School administration software mainly focuses on the basic nuts-and-bolts activities of school administration. It generally operates in relatively black-and-white contexts where, like, a student is either enrolled or is not. A bill is either paid or is not and classes are either gone attended or not.

Contrast to the School Administration Software, HEI CRM software which operates in the much larger and less black-and-white areas of school/institute administration. It can assist schools in the following jobs:

  • Finding and attracting applicants from different pools and groups
  • Improving course offerings to increase retainment and better meet student needs
  • Strengthening student and alumni relations to improve fundraising
  • Clearly communicating a school’s mission statement and benefit to the community

School administration software and HEI CRM systems are both used basically to manage information. While school administration software utilizes that information to facilitate the school’s daily operations, HEI CRM utilizes it to enhances better relationships while working towards a larger strategic goals of a school/institute.

Features of Higher Education CRM Software

Speaking very commonly about the software, most HEIs get CRM software to increase their quality in their recruitment programs, improve communication, be it with students, parents, donors and the general public and increase fundraising efforts by strengthening and improving relationships with alumni. HEI CRM systems assist with data collection and analysis to meet  goals and the launching and management of campaigns based on  data collected and analyzed. Features and applications that are generally built into HEI CRM systems can have:

Email marketing : Automating email campaigns, measuring their performance and iteratively improving them based on data from earlier campaigns.

Recruit management : These tools help in managing the whole pipeline of new applicants and recruits by automating the steps in these lengthy procedures.

Data integration tools : The apps assist in integrating data from other systems like school management and student information systems for improving the CRM and vice versa.

Social media apps : Social media monitoring apps assist school administrators for keeping track of relevant online discussions and helping in coordination of the school’s responses.

Contact information management : A core app in the CRM platforms, the databases so created helps in ensuring schools use the right details while reaching out to applicants, students and various interested parties.

Personalized communications : Personalization solutions assist in automating the above and various other activities by helping schools customize communications which are based on a recipient’s current status or success of earlier communications.

While CRM as a type of software has been there for decades, only in the past five years have sellers begun creating it to the specific requirements of higher education institutions. It’s a relatively new and young market, and offers may vary greatly between sellers. HEIs that are looking for a system having CRM capabilities along with various integrating features might be interested in higher education ERP systems.

Considerations while Buying Higher Education CRM Software

Adoption: Single and lone department or whole institution? One lesson learned from the world of business is that CRM systems work at its¬† best and return the most value & money when they’re used by company’s customer-dealing departments. Before a school begins the selection process, it must first have a crystal clear understanding of how the system will be providing for, across campus, not only in one lone and isolated department.

Deployment. Whichever it may… Cloud or On-premise… CRM software is conventionally provided as a cloud-deployed or Software-as-a-Service or SaaS or as an on-premise software. The school subscribes to the platform with cloud software, and the seller organizes everything on the back end. Schools typically pay a one-time licensing fee but then manage the installation on their own servers with on-premise software.

Integration. Integrated or stand-alone software…most colleges and universities already use multiple various systems of software.¬† the school should determine what degree of integration it requires with existing systems. This analysis should be made with school’s IT staff.

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