Reading time: 10 minutes
PUBLISH DATE: Dec 28 2023
UPD: Jan 19 2024
Reading time: 10 minutes
Education

Benefits of CRM in Higher Education

Let’s define the challenges, capabilities, and future-proofing of your CRM. What plays a vital role in its implementation? Which challenges stand behind? Today, we’ll help you review your business landscape and let your client get much of your CRM startup in higher education.

I. Introduction

A. Definition of CRM in Higher Education

Before exploring the definition of CRM, let’s see what Edtech is. 

Edtech is the industry that integrates innovative tools and technologies to transform the educational sector and make teaching and studying more personalized and interactive. One of the tools we’re going to define today is CRM.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a solution that incorporates strategies and technologies to manage interactions and data effectively. When it comes to education, it aims to help higher institutions and organizations in the education sector drive growth by establishing strong relationships between people involved in organizational processes. 

The Edtech market continues to grow, and considering the opportunity to launch a startup is a bold idea that can bring profits in the long run. So, we’ll discover more about CRM (Customer Relationship Management), its role and importance, and prove why you must invest in this solution.

B. Importance of CRM in the Education Sector

Remember how educators stored students’ data and class programs? They set timetables manually; they wrote almost all class programs in journals, and it wasn’t possible to hold the class without the physical presence of an educator. Fortunately, those days are over, and now we see a great digital move positively influencing the educational journey for students and teachers. With a properly executed CRM, all processes can run like clockwork, offering a fast search and modifiable changes whenever needed.

Considering last year’s events, we see a great shift in the education sector. Virtual learning and enrollment are rising, and higher education institutions are finding ways to create a flexible and highly targeted digital student experience. The global market size for CRM software stood at $2110.34 million in 2022 and is projected to grow to $7755.42 million by 2031, exhibiting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.56%.

Statistics on the global market of CRM

CRM is important for:

  • the organization of class schedules and tracking of learning progress;
  • individual portals for students and teachers, allowing them to upload assignments and get reasonable feedback;
  • automation of workflow and providing learners with interactive communication channels;
  • making decisions based on its reports and analytics;
  • improving the quality, extension, and access of educational services;
  • for building parent-educator communication to inform the first about the student’s academic progress and the university’s initiatives. 

This list isn’t completed. In the next sections, we’ll present other benefits, covering the importance of CRM for educational organizations and potential clients who plan to launch ed-tech startups and release them to the market. 

C. Overview of the Article Content

In a digital era, more educational institutions employ innovative tools to cater to evolving students’ and educators’ needs. The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is one of the technological solutions that has helped higher education change a lot. 

At Keenethics, we see a high need for using CRM in education. It can help implement education practices from different perspectives, from better planning and organizational management processes to student engagement and retention. In this article, we aim to show you the practical side of CRM in education and present valuable insights to persuade you of its application.

Key questions to consider:

? How does CRM streamline student recruitment?

? What role does CRM play in building and maintaining student relationships between academic departments and students?

? How can CRM ease and modify administrative and management processes in higher education?

? In what ways does CRM empower educational organizations to make data-driven decisions?

Who should read this article? Educational leaders, administrators, and faculty members within higher education organizations and the customers who plan to develop CRM software. Let’s get started.

II. Streamlining Student Recruitment

CRM in higher education allows educators to streamline student recruitment. In what way? Let’s look at the main benefits of CRM in higher education.

Benefits of CRM including four cycles

A. Targeted marketing and communication

Since the applicants have different intentions and motivations, understanding them is essential. The admissions committee should properly track their behavior on the websites of educational institutions and other communication channels. A good tool to track this is targeted marketing and communication. It allows the admissions committee to better form marketing messages based on the data collected from CRM analytics and the communication with the applicants and marketing team. When implementing CRM in the educational process, administrators get all the tools they need to manage and automate campaigns using data collection, communication, and student engagement. 

Although the market is busy, CRM helps institutions increase the conversion rates of student inquiries. Different channels like emails, social media, websites, and text messages can work simultaneously if set properly. CRM software can track and manage the student’s journey from inquiry to enrollment and improve the recruitment experience for future students.

B. Tracking and managing prospective student data

Customer relationship management centralizes customer data and communications in one place. It helps enrollment managers improve their recruitment strategies by learning the needs of their target audience. Based on the student’s interests, location, and engagement levels, the system tracks and segments potential students. 

CRM software can effectively store communication history, track educational background and progress, and record all interactions between students, their families, and educators. It helps the manager understand what works and what doesn’t and implement their tactics accordingly.

C. Improving the admissions process

CRM analytics help institutions understand the different touchpoints on a student’s journey from application to enrollment and make insight-led decisions.

The CRM solution helps institutions create relevant campaigns and tailor them to the right students. 

What benefits do the professionals in the admissions process get?

  • They can prioritize whom to call or send emails and predict who will likely react to their messages.
  • CRM increases efficiency in the admission process by reducing staff workload and making them focus on other critical tasks. It’s a great tool for working with large volumes of data and making the right decisions based on student interactions and top-performing channels.
  • It provides the applicants with a personalized experience. Educators analyze CRM reports, communicate with the potential students individually using their names, and deliver relevant info about the programs in which the students are interested. 
  • All stakeholders involved in a campaign can assess its effectiveness by tracking the overall ROI. They can follow students’ engagement and compare the number of messages sent and events attended.
  • CRM saves time and resources by optimizing workflows and automating marketing assignments. The software helps to do repetitive tasks like sending messages and scheduling interviews with applicants.

III. Enhancing Student Engagement

A. Personalized communication with students

Using CRM, educators can access student profiles, gaining insights into students’ academic goals and progress. This allows for personalized communication strategies, enabling educators to reach out proactively with relevant information, support, or resources tailored to each student’s requirements. Moreover, CRM systems often have multi-channel communication capabilities, allowing educators to connect via preferred channels—email, chat, or notifications—assuring timely and effective correspondence that aligns with students’ communication preferences. 

Furthermore, CRM systems empower students to engage more actively with educators. These platforms offer self-service options where students can access information, submit queries, or request assistance conveniently. By enabling students to track their progress, access resources, and seek guidance within the CRM interface, it encourages a proactive approach to their education. Communication facilitated by CRM not only bridges the gap between students and educators but also cultivates a collaborative environment that promotes learning and student success.

B. Managing student interactions and feedback

CRM provides institutions with centralized interaction tracking. It tracks all students’ inquiries via various channels and events to provide a holistic view of each student’s engagement history. Based on their preferences and level of engagement, CRM helps educators deliver personalized communication. Also, CRM automates feedback processes through automated surveys and feedback forms, allowing institutions to get needed data concerning the efficiency of study without overwhelming students with regular requests. By analyzing interactions with advisors and educators, CRM software identifies areas for improvement and student satisfaction. Through CRM, administrators can also personalize support services, advising and resources to better help students in their academic journey. Overall, a CRM system is a comprehensive solution for institutions to manage students’ academic experiences effectively.

C. Building and maintaining student relationships

Higher education has many people involved, but it takes a lot of time and resources to keep track of them all. CRM helps universities to simplify the communication between all stakeholders, including faculty members, donors, partners, and alumni. CRM allows institutions to build and maintain relationships with students and alumni who can contribute significantly to institutional growth. Institutions can collect data about the alumni’s career paths and achievements and use it for later research and development initiatives. The relationships between alumni benefit them and the institutions’ reputation. Additionally, evidence of educational effectiveness and continuous advancement is essential. CRM offers data-driven insights concerning different aspects of institutional performance, which is highly valuable for institutions to secure and maintain accreditation. 

IV. Improving Administrative Efficiency

Integration with other systems (e.g., LMS, ERP)

Integrating CRM within higher education with other systems like Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software creates a seamless ecosystem.  When these systems are integrated, all processes related to student involvement, academic organization, and administrative tasks work smoothly. 

The integration of CRM with ERP systems ensures a seamless data flow between departments, enabling institutions to synchronize student information, enrollment data, and financial records. For instance, when a student interacts with the CRM for admission inquiries or updates personal details, this information seamlessly reflects in the ERP system, ensuring accuracy and consistency across platforms. CRM records the time when potential clients browse the website, view a demonstration, and make registrations for events. All these activities are shared with the LMS (learning Management System). With all this data, the marketing specialists of a higher educational institution can engage potential applicants and stakeholders through personalized messages. 

The integration of a CRM system with an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system delivers a 360-degree view of students. By integrating customer data from CRM and LMS, the educators gain an enhanced overview of the individuals’ activities. Integration of CRM with LMS and ERP reduces the risk of errors or inconsistent data, optimizes management, and helps create a cohesive and efficient educational environment.

V. Data-Driven Decision-Making

A. Utilizing data analytics for insights

CRM allows institutions to use data analytics for future insights. Educators and administrators get a concise picture of the student’s behavior and approaches to learning. By analyzing the data collected within the system, institutions can define trends in student interactions, course selections, and engagement levels. They can also learn if their outreach strategies work and in what areas the students require additional help. Communication with the students occurs through preferable communication channels, breaking the old frame of formality in educator-student relations. The best thing that educators benefit from is student segmentation based on specific criteria. Student segmentation allows for better-tailored communication and targeted interventions to improve students’ academic experiences.

B. Predictive analytics for student success

Higher education institutions use predictive analytics within CRM systems to forecast student success and engagement levels. CRM stores the data on student performance, gaps in learning, engagement metrics, and demographic information. It’s highly valuable for educators to identify students at risk who need intervention and support the most. As a result of predictive analytics, the students are more engaged, improving overall academic outcomes. 

VI. Challenges and Solutions

If you continue reading the article, we hope you’re likely to launch an ed-tech startup like CRM software for higher education. If we’re right, we suggest reviewing the common challenges you may face while developing the product. 

Remember, despite the existing challenges of CRM implementation, it’s the best way to show your clients how much you appreciate your collaboration with them. Often, salespeople of CRM get many benefits, but for businesses across industries wanting to implement the system, there are a number of challenges first. We’ll examine the main challenges and answer how not to get companies to pay out-of-pocket expenses. What if CRM isn’t implemented properly for its full application? Let’s see.

CRM challenges vs. strategies

A. Common challenges in implementing CRM in higher education

Challenge 1. Planning and clear objectives

If you decide in haste, nothing works. Moreover, if considering the price, before implementing CRM, a business should make a robust plan and decide for which purposes it needs CRM. The wrong tactics can lead to a wasteful budget. Try to assess the main benefits of the system and the ROI for the business. With robust planning, we guarantee a seamless CRM implementation. 

Challenge 2. Training

A simple implementation isn’t enough. It’s critical to provide the staff with relevant training. So, before its implementation, we suggest picking all the potential users from each department in the early stages of CRM use. To get CRM software to work effectively, all stakeholders, like educators, administrators, and students, should be familiar with the CRM functionality and application. It’s the only way to get much of it.

Challenge 3. Poor data quality and integration

In addition, before CRM implementation, it’s good to review the data quality. The inconvenience of poor data quality is possible when the data operations are set manually by the company. As a result, there are many inaccuracies, like duplicates, missing fields, or outdated data. In this case, it’s good to cleanse the data before moving it into the new CRM software. A comprehensive audit and assessment of the data can help in understanding the scope of data cleansing required. To ensure uniformity across records, it’s good to establish clear data standards on formatting, structure, and quality. To identify duplicates, you can use tools like Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or manual processes. Before migrating data to the new CRM system, perform rigorous testing by running test migrations, verifying data integrity, and cross-referencing against the original data source. To avoid data troubles, we suggest regularly monitoring and cleansing data, implementing data governance practices, and conducting periodic audits to maintain data consistency and accuracy. By systematically addressing data quality issues through these steps, a business can significantly improve the reliability and consistency of its data.

Challenge 4. Low cooperation

When different departments or teams fail to cooperate during CRM implementation, they may face a number of issues. Due to different data standards or sources, they can find data inconsistencies. Lack of cooperation between different teams can lead to overdue deadlines and errors in the integration process. Also, to understand the integration requirements, the teams must communicate effectively to avoid ongoing issues related to data in CRM implementation. 

Challenge 5. Limited budget

If the project is complex and fully custom, it’ll be difficult to meet customers’ requirements. Usually, a lack of budget leads to delays and errors in development. Instead of adding unnecessary functionality, the company can focus on the most relevant features. To minimize unnecessary expenses, the company can discuss requirements in detail with the project team to prevent issues in the early stages. The company can predict the average costs and benefits and see objectively if the budget fits the requirements. 

B. Strategies to overcome implementation challenges

Step 1. Select the CRM vendor

A problem with the best-fit CRM software is among the widespread issues. Sometimes, people can spend a lot on CRM software, but it may not be a good fit for their business objectives. Therefore, we recommend not hurrying with the CRM implementation process. It’s better to search, analyze, compare, and define the most relevant features of specific software specifically for your business. You should define your requirements clearly, consider your potential users, and understand the main touchpoints for improving customer relations. To get the full picture of what a specific CRM offers, do a thorough research. Before doing research, it’s best to compile a list of questions that may bother your business. The possible questions are: how does the system deal with outages? How does customer support react to user inquiries? What fits your business model best, and what doesn’t? Also, make sure it provides the needed reports, tools, and automation features for your workflow.  

Step 2. End-user application

Another challenge in CRM implementation isn’t so much tech-related as people-related. The success of CRM adoption depends on different factors, some of which are management commitment, employee desire to change and adapt, and proper training. But what if employees aren’t so ready for changes? To make them motivated, the administrators are responsible for explaining the main profits that the staff can achieve through CRM adoption. A simple CRM implementation doesn’t work. The best solution is to empower your team to learn more about a new solution. Only when employees feel they’re an efficient part of the process can you get much from them.

Step 3. Improvements, support, and maintenance

A technical part of CRM implementation is behind. Now the practical side of its application starts. CRM implementation isn’t the final destination. To make the most of it, you shouldn’t forget about continuous training and support for your system. With your team, try to dive into the possible system’s capabilities and acquire skills to go beyond the basics of the software. You’re only the one who defines the challenges, opportunities, and future-proofing of CRM for your business.

Step 4. Integration with existing systems in business

Usually, an education institution has already established systems like learning management systems (LMS), student information systems (SIS), or financial management tools. You should enable smooth integration with any software systems commonly used in educational institutions. Accordingly, incompatibility between the systems may lead to data leaks, duplication, or outages in some processes. Find a professional development company that can support your project through all development cycles. While they’ll guide you through cycles from business analysis, testing, and integration of API tools to support and maintenance, you can address other issues related to CRM advancements.

Step 5. Scalability and flexibility of CRM

When businesses scale, CRM also needs to evolve. CRM that works for a small business may not be efficient for a larger one. With a development partner, make a flexible CRM that caters to the evolving requirements of your clients. Build your CRM with a modular architecture that allows institutions to choose and scale features based on their specific needs. Offer basic modules for smaller institutions and additional modules or add-ons for larger enterprises, enabling customization without overwhelming complexity. You can also include customizable features to ensure flexibility for the clients and allow them to accommodate diverse requirements. Design the system architecture to handle increased data volumes, users, and functionalities without compromising performance. By focusing on flexibility, scalability, and user empowerment, your CRM solution can effectively serve the diverse needs of small educational institutions and larger enterprises within the higher education sector.

C. Finding a trusted partner in CRM development

CRM integration requires constant improvement and adaptation from the side of the development company. For this reason, before finding the right professional development partner, you should identify your needs and set clear objectives and requirements for CRM. Define the functionalities you want to include in your CRM. You can also explore the industry forums and events to understand what the users require. Network with professionals at workshops or educational events to understand what critical CRM aspects they focus on. 

After finding a partner, you can evaluate their expertise by reviewing case studies and client testimonials. Assess the partner’s technical capabilities, including their proficiency in CRM development platforms, knowledge of industry standards, compliance with data security regulations, and ability to integrate with other educational systems. Seek partners who adopt a collaborative approach. A partner willing to understand your institution’s unique needs, communicate openly, and involve stakeholders throughout the development process is crucial for a successful partnership. Take your time to evaluate potential partners thoroughly, considering their expertise, approach, references, and alignment with your institution’s objectives.

Keenethics houses professional engineers who can help you analyze your project requirements, set clear goals, and get the final quality product. If you have any questions, you can request a consultation. We have years of expertise to offer you the solutions needed to navigate the most common issues in development.

VII. Conclusion

CRM adoption is a vital undertaking for any business that wants to have a competitive advantage in the market. Despite the existing challenges, remember that a well-executed CRM brings profits and has a great impact on your customer relations, operations, and conversion rates. What works for one company may not work for yours. Therefore, before CRM implementation, you should make strategic requirements for your business, search and compare possible CRM systems on the market, and select the best fit for your business approach. 

If your project idea is to launch an ed-tech CRM startup to bring profits to higher educational institutions, it’s your chance to make your idea come alive. The future of any technology is promising. So does the future of CRM. When properly used and integrated with the procedures of a specific business, your clients can use it as a seamless bridge that connects their needs, preferences, and interactions with their purpose. It becomes a powerful tool for them to effortlessly navigate services, access tailored solutions, and enjoy a personalized experience that feels not just efficient but also uniquely catered to their requirements.

Do you require support in developing CRM for higher educational institutions?

Keenethics specialists are ready to assist you. We have experience in developing ERP, Business Analysis & Report, and CRM systems. You can also contact us to learn about AI, IoT, and cloud solutions for businesses. Our robust solutions in education development can help your clients open a new era in the learning environment and give you many opportunities through the release of your project.

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Daria Hlavcheva
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