Unlocking HubSpot for Higher Education

HubSpot is revolutionising the way higher education institutions attract, engage, and delight students. Explore the benefits and strategies of using HubSpot in your university.

1. CRM challenges in higher education

In today's digital era, higher education institutions face numerous challenges when it comes to implementing and managing customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This could be:

Data silos

One of the main hurdles is the sheer size and complexity of these institutions. With multiple departments, faculties, and student services, many of which are often decentralised, it becomes challenging to consolidate all the data into a unified CRM system under a single source of truth.

The need for customised and personalised communication

Higher education institutions must cater to the unique needs and preferences of each individual, whether it's providing academic support, career guidance, or alumni relations. This requires a CRM system that can segment and target different audiences effectively. 

Variety of decision makers

Higher education organisations often include other roles additional to the typical CRM decision-makers seen in most businesses (CTO, CIO, Sales etc.) such as governors and trustees. The diverse range of stakeholders involved, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors, further complicates  CRM implementation and more general decision-making processes. 

Data security and privacy

These are paramount concerns in the higher education sector. Educational institutions handle sensitive information, including personal and financial data, which must be protected from cybersecurity threats. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, a robust CRM system, and a dedicated team to ensure successful implementation and management.

Smaller than average marketing and admissions teams

Higher education institutions often have smaller teams handling marketing and admissions, particularly when compared to other B2C businesses. This, considered alongside the fact that there might be a wider variety of channels (online as well as in-person events, working with schools and academic publications, etc.) means not only is data coming from more places but automation off the back of the data collected becomes more important. When smaller teams are already stretched, the fewer manual tasks required of them, the better.

2. How a new CRM can solve those challenges

Your choice of CRM solution can have a profound impact on the way your university runs, notably by streamlining and enhancing key processes in several important ways. 

  • Firstly, the right CRM can greatly improve the efficiency of student recruitment and admissions. With a suitable CRM system in place, you can easily track and manage prospective students, ensuring timely communication and personalised interactions. 
  • They can enable you to better manage student data, including academic records and performance metrics, allowing for better student support/intervention strategies.
  • A good-fit solution should also improve alumni relations by tracking engagement and facilitating targeted communication, which can go on to boost your fundraising efforts.

Implementing a new CRM solution like HubSpot can revolutionise the way your university operates, leading to enhanced student experiences and improved institutional outcomes.

3. Benefits of implementing HubSpot CRM in universities

Streamlining student recruitment and enrolment processes

In today's digital age, universities are constantly seeking ways to streamline their student recruitment and enrolment processes. In this area, CRMs can provide universities with a centralised platform to manage and track all aspects of recruitment and enrolment. 

From initial inquiry to enrolment, a CRM makes the entire process more efficient and less time-consuming. Universities can easily capture and organise student data, track communication history, and automate various tasks such as sending personalised emails and reminders. 

This not only saves valuable time for university staff but also enhances the overall experience for prospective students, as they receive prompt and personalised communication throughout the entire recruitment and enrollment process. 


Personalising communication and nurturing prospective students

With the help of CRM systems, educational institutions can gather and store valuable information about prospective students, allowing them to tailor their communication efforts. 

These systems enable the creation of personalised email campaigns, where each email can be customised based on the individual student's interests, preferences, and goals. By leveraging this technology, educational institutions can send targeted messages to prospective students, showcasing relevant programs, campus events, and scholarship opportunities that align with their specific needs and aspirations.

CRM systems also facilitate ongoing nurturing efforts by automating follow-up communications, ensuring that prospective students receive timely and relevant information throughout their decision-making process.

“I first started using HubSpot when I 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, too. I was blown away that we could use the one platform for both the roles that we played within the department. It really helped to align the whole student recruitment journey for us.” Hannah Fisher, HubSpot CRM Platform Consultant, BabelQuest

An inbound approach to your marketing aligns your operations to this change in buyer behaviour by positioning your business in such a way that it helps, supports, and provides value to your prospects.

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4. Case study: University X increases student enrolment with HubSpot

The university is facing increasing competition to attract the best and brightest students. With a growing number of institutions offering diverse programs and scholarships, it must find unique ways to stand out and showcase its strengths. It also faces challenges in terms of demographic shifts and changing student preferences. It needs to adapt its strategies, but it only has so many staff and limited resources with which to tackle these challenges each year. To maximise these resources and futureproof its strategies, it migrates to HubSpot.

With its powerful features and user-friendly interface, HubSpot CRM enables it to streamline its enrolment process and attract more students. With all its student data centralised in one place, it can now track and manage its interactions with prospective students much more easily. This helps its communications team to personalise their outreach and provide timely and relevant information to each individual. 

With HubSpot at their fingertips, staff can now automate certain tasks, such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling appointments, saving valuable time and resources. With its robust reporting and analytics capabilities, the CRM also provides the university with valuable insights into its enrolment strategies, allowing it to make data-driven decisions.

“Whether marketing or admissions, there was something very satisfying about having a goal and being able to go into HubSpot and use the platform to help me hit it. The whole platform lent — and still lends — itself very well to higher education. When I eventually started looking for a new role, I was actually offered a position at a different college administering HubSpot there.” Hannah Fisher, HubSpot CRM Platform Consultant, BabelQuest

5. Strategies for successful implementation of HubSpot by educators

1. Creating targeted content for different stages of the student journey

With its robust segmentation capabilities, HubSpot CRM makes it possible for universities to easily categorise their leads and prospects based on their interests, demographics, and behaviour. This allows them to tailor their content specifically for each stage of the student journey, whether it's attracting potential students, engaging with them throughout the application process, or nurturing them as enrolled students. 

By understanding the unique needs and preferences of their audience, universities can deliver personalised content that resonates with each individual, ultimately increasing their chances of conversion and retention. 

HubSpot CRM's comprehensive analytics also enable universities to track the effectiveness of their content strategy, making it easier to refine and optimise their approach over time.

Read more: Why Smart Content in HubSpot Could Help You Smash Your Conversion Goals


2. Utilising tracked interactions and automation to optimise student engagement

With its ability to track and analyse student interactions, such as email opens, website visits, and social media engagement, HubSpot CRM helps universities to optimise student engagement. This data allows universities to gain valuable insights into students' interests and preferences, enabling them to tailor their communications and offerings accordingly. 

Additionally, HubSpot CRM's automation capabilities help streamline communication workflows, ensuring timely and personalised interactions with students at scale.


3. Optimising workflows and automation in HubSpot

By utilising HubSpot CRM's automation and segmentation features, universities can easily map out the different stages of a student's journey, all the way from prospective student to alumni, and design workflows that cater to their specific needs and preferences. This not only enhances the overall student experience but also helps universities to effectively manage and track student interactions, ensuring that each student receives the right information at the right time.

With automation, universities can automate repetitive tasks such as sending out welcome emails to new students or reminding them about upcoming deadlines. Segmentation allows universities to categorise students based on their interests, discipline, or year level, enabling them to send personalised and relevant messages to different student groups.


4. Leveraging HubSpot analytics for data-driven decision making

In today's competitive higher education landscape, universities are constantly looking for innovative ways to measure their marketing and enrollment success. With its comprehensive tracking and reporting capabilities, HubSpot CRM allows universities to gain valuable insights into their marketing efforts and measure their impact on enrollment numbers. 

Specifically, universities can use HubSpot CRM to track metrics such as website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates, and student engagement. By analysing these metrics, universities can make data-driven decisions to optimise their marketing strategies, improve their enrollment success, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of higher education.

By utilising the platform's comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, universities can gain a deeper understanding of their student population, track engagement levels, and identify areas for growth. With this data, universities can tailor their marketing and communication strategies to better meet the needs of their students, resulting in increased enrollment and improved student satisfaction.

“As one division of Cambridge Education Group (CEG) continued to scale, it faced increasing challenges with proving ROI and attribution of spend and performance across the separate universities, which encompassed hundreds of users, over 80,000 contacts, and more than 5,400 deals. The division needed to ensure its platform structure could support its data, processes, and assets moving forward, and it needed a solution before the September intake of students.” Read the full case study.

6. HubSpot integrations for higher education institutions

Explore the various integrations available for higher education institutions to enhance their HubSpot experience. From CRM integration to student relationship management systems, these integrations can further streamline processes and improve student engagement.

CRM integration: Enhancing student relationship management with HubSpot

If you’re not in a position to move away from your incumbent CRM but you still want to unlock the many benefits HubSpot offers, you can have the best of both worlds by integrating the two together. One of the key advantages of integrating HubSpot with your existing systems is improved lead management and nurturing. By seamlessly connecting HubSpot with their CRM, universities can effectively track and manage leads throughout their entire lifecycle, from initial contact to enrolment.

Integrating HubSpot Marketing Hub with your existing systems also facilitates better collaboration and alignment between marketing and admissions teams, ensuring a cohesive and consistent approach to recruitment. Some examples of popular CRM systems compatible with HubSpot include Salesforce and Zoho. 

Read more: Integrated Marketing Tools: Why Your Technology Needs to Talk

Salesforce is a leading CRM system that seamlessly integrates with HubSpot. With Salesforce, you can keep all your customer data in one place, automate your sales processes, and gain valuable insights to drive growth. Zoho is another popular CRM system offering a range of features, including lead management, contact management, and sales forecasting, all of which can be integrated with HubSpot CRM.

Read more: 5 Easy-to-Use HubSpot Integrations to Enhance Your Sales Outreach


Other essential integrations for higher education institutions

When it comes to integrating with learning management systems (LMS), HubSpot has proven itself to be a highly effective solution. Integrating HubSpot Marketing Hub with your LMS allows for a smooth and efficient transfer of data that educators can use to easily track and analyse learner data, assess their progress, and deliver personalised content based on their needs. From small colleges to the largest universities, HubSpot's ability to integrate makes it a valuable tool for any organisation looking to enhance their e-learning experience.

HubSpot also integrates with a wide range of student information systems (SIS). From student enrolment and registration to managing grades and attendance, HubSpot offers a comprehensive solution that allows schools to consolidate their data in one centralised platform. This not only saves time and effort for administrators but also ensures accurate and up-to-date information for teachers, parents, and students alike. 

Even if you don’t migrate all of your infrastructure across to HubSpot, its ability to integrate with so many different systems and platforms means that educational institutions can still harness it to gain valuable insights into their student data. Whether it's synchronising student profiles, automating communication, or generating reports, HubSpot's integration with LMS and SIS is setting it up to be a game-changer in the world of education.

“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 worked to make implementation as user-friendly as possible, delivering a system that Globeducate’s teams would be happy to use and that justified their investment and implementation time. Liza Humphrey, Global Director of Admissions & Marketing, said the project ‘will transform the productivity and performance of admissions.’” Read the full case study.

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7. The future of HubSpot in higher education

As technology continues to advance, HubSpot is poised to play an even more significant role in the higher education landscape. This section explores emerging trends, predictions, and future possibilities of HubSpot in the education sector.

AI and automation: The next frontier for HubSpot in higher education

Universities are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance student engagement and support, and HubSpot's artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities offer a promising solution. 

With its advanced algorithms and machine learning capabilities, HubSpot can already analyse vast amounts of data to gain insights into student behaviours and preferences. This valuable information can then be used to tailor marketing and communication strategies in all the ways we’ve already discussed, including customised course recommendations, and proactive support. As HubSpot’s AI capabilities advance with the technology, universities on the platform will be in a strong position to foster stronger connections with students, improve their overall experience, contribute to student success, and gain the competitive advantage.

In the future, we can expect automation to revolutionise the way universities and colleges promote their programs and reach out to prospective students. 

  • With advancements in technology, AI and machine learning algorithms will play a crucial role in streamlining marketing efforts. 
  • Personalised advertising campaigns, tailored content creation, and automated lead generation will become the norm, not the exception. This means that higher education institutions will be able to target the right audience with the right message, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased student enrolments. 
  • Automation will also enable institutions to analyse data more effectively, giving them valuable insights into student preferences and behaviours.

The future of AI and automation in higher education is promising. As it becomes the norm. institutions will need to embrace to remain competitive in attracting and retaining students.

8. Hands up to benefit from HubSpot support

Case study: Pushing the boundaries of HubSpot to build a new university website

When a popular university started offering online courses, it knew it would need the help of an Elite HubSpot solutions partner to ensure everything ran smoothly.

The university wanted to offer a powerful new way for its existing students to learn, as well as a fully customised application portal that would be easy to use for prospective students and recruitment staff alike. This would elevate its standing and help it to stay competitive while improving the student experience all the way from application to graduation. 

The team responsible for overseeing this transformation knew HubSpot’s data management, marketing tools, and CMS capabilities offered the functionality it needed to achieve this because it had been using the platform for around four years at this point. 

For the same reason, it also knew that to use those tools in the way it intended and to unlock their full potential, the team would be best serviced by a HubSpot solutions partner. Having worked with BabelQuest on and off for several years, it turned to us for expert support.

To find out how we approached the project and what we delivered, read the full case study.

9. Demo portal: Book your place now

BabelQuest University is open to students!

Nobody knows the value of an open day like educators. A HubSpot demo offers much the same, giving you the opportunity to explore the software and test its capabilities in a safe environment. Specifically for organisations in higher education, we’ve built a demo portal that showcases the very best of what the HubSpot platform can do and how it could help you. 

The demo portal centres around the story of a university open day, and demonstrates how higher education institutions can use HubSpot to:

  • generate demand for an open day with Marketing Hub, with pre-made marketing emails, landing page, social messages, automated follow-ups
  • equip their admissions team to respond to prospective students using Sales Hub features like playbooks and sequences
  • provide students with instant resources using Service Hub features like chatbots and the knowledge base, and survey open day attendees

HubSpot is revolutionising the way higher education institutions attract, engage, and delight students. By implementing HubSpot, universities can streamline their student recruitment and enrollment processes, personalise their communication efforts, and optimise student engagement, while the use of targeted content, automation, and analytics can enhance the overall student experience and drive recruitment and retention efforts to new heights. 

Behind the scenes, HubSpot integrations with CRM, learning management systems, and student information systems further enhance the capabilities of this powerful tool. As the future of HubSpot in higher education continues to evolve, advancements in AI and automation will provide even more opportunities for universities to foster stronger connections with students and gain a competitive advantage. 

To explore the benefits and strategies of using HubSpot in your university, book a slot with the demo portal and embark on a journey to enhance your higher education operations.

Book yourself or your team onto the demo portal experience