From Admissions to Alumni, Higher Education CRM Directly Impacts Student Experience

From Admissions to Alumni, Higher Education CRM Directly Impacts Student Experience

How does your choice of CRM and the way your institution configures it help your admissions and support teams to improve the end-to-end student experience?

Omnichannel CRM is playing a growing role in helping university teams to give their students choice, but as our CRM platform consultant Hannah Fisher explained, the system’s function extends much more broadly than that. With the right CRM in place, institutions can better understand, engage with, and support their students from the first moment they express an interest in your university right through to their time spent in successful careers afterwards. 

“HubSpot CRM can collate communications from every potential channel, but its function extends much further than just omnichannel,” she says. “The customer data it stores is really useful to have from both a collaboration point of view but also for Admissions or Marketing to create more effective, data-driven strategies. And you can send automated communications to prospects, students, and alumni alike to keep your contacts informed and leads warm.”

In this article, we’ll look at an overview of each of these areas and more so you can see the potential for how your CRM could be better shaping your students’ experiences.

At the start of your digital transformation journey? Download our Higher Education Digital Transformation Checklist to get off to the best start.

About Hannah

Hannah’a background is in education. She first started using HubSpot in 2018 when she worked within the marketing department of an independent school in the UK. “At the time I was just using Marketing Hub, but I already thought it was an amazing tool. When Marketing was merged with Admissions I got to use Sales Hub for the first time. I was blown away that we could use the one platform for both the roles that we delivered within the department. It really helped to align the whole student recruitment journey for us.”

Speaking your students’ language(s)

CRM systems allow higher education institutions to collect and analyse data about students' interests, preferences, and interactions. While this is basic functionality for any CRM, how you use it will depend on your wider Admissions strategy and the tools at your disposal. 

Implemented alongside Marketing Hub, for example, universities using HubSpot CRM can use this data to personalise communication with students, delivering relevant information about academic programs, campus events, and support services tailored to their needs.


Admitting your students with ease

CRM systems help streamline the recruitment and admissions process by automating tasks such as application tracking, applicant communications, and admissions decision-making. This improves the efficiency of the admissions process and provides prospective students with a smoother and more responsive experience.

“If you’re using HubSpot for admissions and you’ve set up your portal to include all the communications channels preferred by your students, you have one inbox to manage, one space in which to communicate with them regardless of how they’re choosing to communicate with you,” Hannah explains. “From a user perspective that's really valuable.”

You might also be interested in: How to Scope Your CRM System Requirements [Example + Free Spreadsheet]


Supporting your students through difficult times

CRM systems enable higher education institutions to track student interactions and identify students who may need additional support or intervention. Advisors/support staff can use CRM data to proactively reach out to students, offer direct assistance at their convenience, and connect them with resources such as tutoring, counselling, or academic advising.

“Using HubSpot CRM, I could convert incoming communications into tickets and present them in a customer portal for the student to access at their convenience,” Hannah adds. “Student support becomes much easier for you to manage and the student benefits too.”


Efficient resource allocation

The insights provided by CRM systems into student preferences, behaviours, and needs, can also be used to help institutions allocate resources more effectively. By understanding which programs, services, and activities are most valued by students, for example, you can prioritise investments and initiatives that have the greatest impact on the student experience.

This is what Hannah was touching on when she mentioned utilising the data in the CRM to create more effective, data-driven strategies.

“Anyone from the university with the permission to view that contact record,” Hannah explained. “In higher education, when a prospective student might take years to decide where they want to apply for university, and students in general are characterised by a diverse set of needs, interests, and preferences, this is invaluable.”

Once a contact has been created in the CRM, a log is made of every action taken by the contact, from the university website pages they have visited to the guides or other assets they have downloaded and, of course, every course application they’ve submitted.

Read more: Why HubSpot CRM Is One of the Best Sales CRM Systems


Activating your alumni

Given the important role alumni play in fundraising, CRM systems can support alumni engagement and fundraising efforts by tracking alumni interactions, preferences, and giving history. Specifically, HubSpot enables you to use CRM data to segment and target alumni communications, cultivate relationships, and encourage involvement and philanthropic support from the former students you served so well during their time with you.


CRM key to higher performance for higher education

“The whole platform lends itself very well to the industry,” Hannah explains, “but unlocking its full potential requires you to look again at the processes in place to govern its use.”

By leveraging CRM technology effectively, institutions can create a more student-centric and responsive environment that fosters student success and satisfaction. To help you gauge the effectiveness of your current setup, we’ve created a checklist specifically for higher education. If you’re interested in reviewing your CRM system, with a mind to optimising it or potentially replacing it with a more innovative system, you can download it for free below.

In the fast-paced world of higher-education technology, every day’s a school day. Your CRM is a textbook for delivering an experience tailored to your student body, teaching you everything you need to know about delivering a student experience they won’t forget. What knowledge does your CRM system hold on your students and what can you learn from it?

If you need help to define your digital transformation objectives, create an action plan and implement it, download our Higher Education Digital transformation Checklist.

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