How Can a CRM Expand Higher Education?

Let Salesforce Lead the Way

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 3,982 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. Each one of these schools is vying for a limited number of students who enroll each year by providing an exceptional educational experience that helps each student to fulfill their goals and aspirations. Additionally, a person holding a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $32,000 more annually than someone with only a high school diploma. However, despite these statistics, college enrollment has been in an average annual decline of 1.67% since 2010.

So with a lot of competition, high expectations, and fewer students, what can school administrators and academic staff do to maintain, sustain, and grow their enrollment? The answer: create a strong technology backbone centered on a significant CRM (customer relationship management) that provides strength, vision, and clarity for the future. But how do you get there? Bitwise Industries has a couple of ideas to help you get started.

A Unified View

The biggest benefit of a CRM is its opportunity to provide a unified view of a school’s constituents: students, staff, faculty, and donors. It’s important to see how a robust CRM can make a difference in all things higher education. From the cost savings of booting an old legacy system to a technically equipped faculty and staff, an empowered student experience to a flexible piece of technology that will continually grow and stretch, the CRM benefits are limitless. According to this Salesforce report, the average university uses 35 different applications or systems. Ditch the redundancy and invest in your institution’s future by using a custom CRM platform to reduce IT costs, increase user productivity, and maximize student engagement. When considering a tool that provides proactive communications across every channel and device, it makes sense to shift towards a forward-thinking platform.

A Great Example

Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a comprehensive Christian institution with five campuses, a Seminary, and online programs located throughout the San Joaquin Valley of California. Since their humble beginnings with 28 students in 1944, FPU has been forward focused on “broadening the base” to expand their facilities, enlarge their curriculum, and develop strategies to grow their enrollment year over year while maintaining a quality student experience. Their efforts have paid off with national recognition and significant awards

A big part of their plan included introducing industry-leading technology to incorporate automation on all of their campuses. Over the years, FPU has done just that for their staff, faculty, and student body with their early adoption of Salesforce Classic, and eventually, the newer Lightning Experience. When Salesforce introduced Lightning, the advantages were obvious: a new workspace layout, an activity timeline, and homepage features that provided quick advantages. FPU realized it was time to update and make that changeover. As a technology trailblazer in the business of education, FPU understood that each year their incoming student body would become more tech fluent and expected high-end digital platforms that were easy to navigate and simple to use. 

The university approached Bitwise Industries—an industry expert—to architect the rebuild needed to keep them at the forefront of the technology vision they continually pursue. Going beyond a straightforward migration, Bitwise enhanced automations and UI/UX along the way, focusing on permissions and security, system integrations, system performance, functionality, and accessibility. Most importantly, Bitwise provided consultation and education for FPU’s staff to ensure they were comfortable navigating the upgraded build. 

Choosing the Right CRM

Selecting the best CRM for higher education doesn’t have to be difficult. The best place to start is understanding the upfront parameters your organization requires. From there, consider a platform that allows for continual customization and is scalable with your organization’s growth projections. Make sure the CRM provides the integrations you desire and customer support you deserve. After that, look for a CRM that specifically champions colleges and universities of any size with an outstanding reputation of satisfying user experience and ROI. 

In the end, choose a CRM that is flexible and forward-focused. This is one of the few ways to ensure that you keep up with the topics and trends that your students and staff will come to expect. No matter if it’s advising, recruiting, or retention—the student experience will lead the pack. After that, it comes down to equipping your staff and faculty with the tools that allow them to clearly communicate digitally with constituents in a simple and effective manner that feels personalized and unique to every individual user. 

Let Us Help

Bitwise Industries specializes in custom software development, Salesforce implementation and administration, and Contact Center-as-a-Service. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help entities of all sizes navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their operations.

This post was written by Jeff Rickels, Technical Writer for Bitwise Industries. When he’s not writing, he’s thinking about birthdays and funerals. It might sound dark and dreadful on the surface, but it’s a really good reminder to celebrate life no matter what day it is. 

If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to find more ways to increase your ROI with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.

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