Identifying, planning and building the right CRM system for a global education provider

calendar (1)

Months ahead of schedule

user (1)

Contacts migrated into a single CRM

student

Schools onboarded in Phase 1

Introducing Globeducate

Globeducate is an education network running more than 50 international schools and online learning programmes. It has around 25,000 students in ten countries. It states its mission as aiming "to prepare each student to become a global citizen who can shape the world".

Industry:

Schools and online education

Company size:

50+ schools

Location:

Madrid, Spain

The business challenge

Globeducate is a large and complex operation, involving many stakeholders and individual marketing, sales, IT and operations teams. Seeking a shared CRM for numerous schools, Globeducate needed to manage its contacts, reporting and permissions effectively. It also wanted the new CRM in place before the start of the next academic year.

One of this education provider's major pressure points arose in the admissions process, managing information for numerous applicants and schools. It wanted to consolidate contact data (housed in disparate systems) and to standardise processes for its admissions staff. It also needed to limit visibility of sensitive student data without hindering its management’s global reporting ability.

Bringing clarity and control: how we implement a new CRM

BabelQuest is well-versed in managing complex CRM implementations. We were one of the UK's first recipients of Hubspot's Advanced implementation certification (AIC) and have carried out successful projects for B2B organisations across technology, education and other fields.

We break down our CRM implementation process into five stages:

  • Discovery stage
  • CRM architecture stage
  • Building the CRM
  • Training/User Acceptance Testing
  • Optimisation

The Discovery stage: scoping CRM needs

As a top-rated HubSpot Diamond partner and solutions provider, we believe that preparation is key. Truly understanding a client's needs is the best way to achieve them and to mitigate the problems they might experience during and after CRM implementation. Therefore, our Discovery stage is comprehensive, gaining a thorough understanding of an organisation and its processes.

We began by scoping Globeducate's range of unique CRM requirements, with varying languages and user requirements being just one part. We also researched the other platforms Globeducate already used in order to understand the systems that would need to work together.

Safeguarding sensitive data could be addressed by 'partitioning' (i.e. limiting visibility to those with permission), so we dug into who would be using the system, what level of access they needed, etc. In addition, we investigated ways to handle applications to multiple schools by one contact.

Accurate, easy-to-use reporting was another key requirement, complicated by the need for different views. Globeducate needed to report at management level, separate from the reporting capabilities of individual schools.

HubSpot's Enterprise-level Marketing Hub fit the bill — not least for its partitioning capabilities, options for calculated properties and the ability to further optimise specific views for specific schools.

Read more about how partitioning can help you grant access for the right teams and get control over your content.

The architecture stage: designing effective solutions

After scoping, the next step was to design an effective hierarchical structure to meet Globeducate's needs and solve some of the problems identified during scoping.

One possible confusion that occurs in the admissions process was the variation in some giving a parent name and some the child’s. The challenge is multiplied if they apply to different schools, and so a Globeducate standard was needed to create consistency which could be reported on easily.

In HubSpot, we identified that we could label parents enquiring about schools as 'contacts', but children within the 'deal' field. We also explored a way to simplify the admissions admin process: auto-populating deals when initial enquiry information was provided, saving time and effort and decreasing the possibility of inconsistent reporting.

This was the first time Globeducate had used a single CRM for the entire organisation, so data was collected across several different platforms and spreadsheets. There was also variation in how schools entered contacts, so we designed a standardised format and created a bespoke HubSpot data upload sheet (ensuring consistency and creating an expected standard for all new data).

For an education provider such as this, getting as much information as possible in the enquiry stage helps tailor future outreach, communications and messaging effectively. Deploying smart forms — with enough fields on the form to match the number of children added by a parent earlier — was one way of delivering a better user experience.

The build: putting in place effective tools for the future

Yes, it sounds pretty great — centralising and consolidating activity onto one global system — but is it really that easy?

The build itself meant taking a highly organised and logical approach, including tackling migration of existing data. A mixed approach was needed to bridge the different systems already in use.

A small number of schools were already using HubSpot, so their data needed to be transferred between portals. Notes, tasks and assets also needed to be moved across, including transferring scheduled tasks and communications. Globeducate also had over 30,000 contacts on their various platforms, making the build stage no small task. 

The BabelQuest Expert Practices team took on many hours of data manipulation, plus the building of workflows, automation, forms, and templates that could be segmented and partitioned. They also set up properties and specific views for each school, all of which were partitioned to ensure schools only saw what was relevant to them.

Globeducate CRM

BabelQuest's Gem Latimer used our user permissions matrix to map out different roles, enabling team partitioning with the right levels of access for the appropriate team members.

"Our goal was to make a highly capable system as simple as possible for its actual users, the admissions team. They needed to be able to deal with enquiries quickly and easily, while keeping track within HubSpot."
Chris Grant, Sales Services Consultant, BabelQuest Expert Practices team

Automation, for example, was a clear way to simplify, speed up and guarantee important actions. Generating an automated response to an enquiry form — tailored to each school and its various languages — ensures that communication between school and parent continues. The automated process also helps to maintain a standard for admissions team responses and follow-up, which takes the pressure off administrators.

The Training Stage and User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

Lack of adoption can be one of the big hurdles when implementing a new CRM. A 2016 survey by technology market research organisation Forrester investigated pitfalls and risks associated with CRM projects: 38% of respondents reported issues due to "slow user adoption, inadequate attention paid to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working." 

Lack of adoption is a key issue to address to prevent the failure of your CRM implementation, but UAT (User acceptance testing) helps drive adoption.

To tackle the issue, we aimed to have users start using the CRM as soon as training was complete. We wrote and recorded a comprehensive list of training documents and videos (although we made sure the training materials themselves were bite-sized and easy to digest). 

We placed the training videos within Globeducate's own HubSpot portal so that answers would be available straight away, without having to navigate away. We also organised training tasks into chunks according to relevance, allowing testers to consolidate their knowledge and see their progress.

advanced CRM implementationA section from Chris Grant's HubSpot training plan for new users

Key to the success of training and adoption was a UAT approach. This process involves giving groups of new users tasks to do within the platform; participants ensure they've understood the task and confirm they've completed it. As their Solutions Partner, we can then refine portal set-up based on their feedback (although, happily, there was very little refining to do because of the success of the training). 

It wouldn't be an implementation project without some kind of unexpected challenge, but this project also had another twist. The BabelQuest team planned to fly to Rome for Globeducate's go-live and training workshops, but COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works. Travel bans meant that the delegates had to stay put so we adapted our plans, providing the same high quality of training remotely to ensure the project didn't stall at the final hurdle.

The results

Globeducate wanted to have the new system up-and-running by September 2020. We started work at the end of December 2019 and were able to go live in April, just under 5 months after the start — having also negotiated some unexpected challenges resulting from the global pandemic.

Globeducate now has a single CRM that enables powerful contact and deal tracking, with integrated data that enables the required level of insight and reporting. We also worked to make implementation as user-friendly as possible: we planned out how to get Globeducate off on the right foot, with a system they would be happy to use and that entirely justifies their investment and implementation time. 

Liza Humphrey, Globeducate Global Director of Admissions & Marketing, says the project:

"will transform the productivity and performance of admissions. [BabelQuest's] insight and expertise in this platform are invaluable for ensuring we get it right.”

We've also identified the next steps. Now that Globeducate's CRM is in place, even more is possible, from further improving reporting to using marketing tools for better onboarding. They will be rolling out to even more schools, tackling the added complexities of variances in school systems, boarding requirements along with dialling up the powerful reporting now made possible thanks to connected data.

"The point is to think of your CRM as a tool that can, and should, evolve with you,” explains Gem Latimer, HubSpot Strategist, BabelQuest Expert Practices Team. “It should be as future-proof as possible. It needs to enable the smooth running of your operations, but it can also unlock the potential of your future plans."

If you are interested in scoping a new CRM or need help with implementation, contact our team. We'd be happy to advise you.