If you’re not familiar with a Customer Relationship Manager or CRM, it’s a tool that’s primarily used in B2B sales. But, as schools continue to implement new technologies, it’s a system that’s being used to build, manage, and nurture relationships with prospective families. In this post, we’ll take a look at how CRMs work and why your school needs one!

What's so special about a school CRM?

A CRM is a system that helps schools manage the entire lifecycle of a potential customer — sometimes also referred to as a lead. With a CRM, you can track and store the data that’s important to your operations, all in one easy-to-access place. 

You can collect data either manually, such as by logging a phone call with a lead, or automatically, by integrating an online form on your school website. Having all of this customer data in one place gives you a holistic view of the customer journey — from awareness to enrolment. Many CRMs also offer you the ability to filter leads based on particular attributes, which is especially helpful when needing to view specific groups of leads. 

For example, to see all leads that have been generated from an organic Google Search you can use the ‘source type’ filter to achieve this. Filtering your leads allows you to more easily send targeted and personalised email communication to different audience segments.

You can focus on quality leads

If you’ve created a strong enrolment strategy by nurturing prospective leads with targeted events, email communications, a responsive website, and more, it’s likely that you’ll see an increase in enrolments coming through your portal. Once you have these leads, it’s important to distinguish between leads that are still in the ‘shopping’ phase and serious leads that are driven to enrol at your school. 

But how do you differentiate these leads? That’s where lead scoring comes in. Lead scoring allows you to rate the quality of the relationship and interactions between a lead and your school to determine which students may be the best fit for your school and which families will be best served by your unique selling points. It’s likely that your school has an outline of the perfect application and leading scoring allows you to prioritise and find the applications that have attractive attributes in the sea of submissions.  Attributes that could be assigned to your lead scoring could be proximity to campus if a student's parent is alumni, if the students’ sibling attends the school or if they have an interest in particular areas such as sport or music. 

Build better relationships 

The ‘customer’ in school customer relationship management is generally prospective parents who are considering enrolling their child in your school. As the parent makes key decisions for their child, they’re the focus of school CRM. 

The goal of using a CRM system is to develop meaningful, personal relationships with prospective families, resulting in the ultimate conversion: an enrolment. The steps or stages through which the prospective parent passes (the customer journey) focus on encouraging the parent to enrol. These stages include lead nurturing activities, such as open days and student interviews.

CRMs offer an incredible amount of opportunity for your school because enrolment decisions rely heavily on the strength of your relationships with parents. Using a CRM to manage parent relationships allows schools to: 

  • track every communication with a prospective family
  • understand which stage of the admissions journey a family is in
  • set reminders or tasks to create follow-ups
  • send families communications that are targeted to their requirements or the child’s interests.

The CRM should be supported by an engaged team, focused on providing support, information, and encouragement to prospective families.

Reduce clunky processes and admin

Some of the benefits of a school CRM are internal, offering efficiencies for your school’s registrar or admissions team. First, your school will benefit from having all key prospective parent data in a single system. This ensures information is not duplicated and is easy to keep up-to-date. Second, having task-setting and bulk communications functionality in your CRM will allow you to continue nurturing prospective parents while saving time. You can also nudge your team to complete tasks by setting automatic reminders, follow up on a lead or schedule in a call.

When parents know that we’re able to fast-track acceptance letters, they’re often very keen to start their student as soon as possible. Thanks in large part to Digistorm Funnel, we’re able to send parents a letter of offer and allow them to actually sign and pay online within hours!

- Brendan Wood, Marketing & Community Relations Manager at Green Point Christian College

Lastly, you can save time and effort with administration tasks with the latest feature of Digistorm Funnel, Automations.  Automations is a tool that allows marketing and admissions teams to streamline their daily processes by automating repetitive and tedious tasks. For marketing teams, you can use automations to set up email campaigns for upcoming school events, an incentive campaign to push prospective parents to finish applications, or even a drip campaign for unengaged contacts. Admin and admissions teams can likewise use automations to send a welcome campaign email to new students or use it to streamline onboarding processes. Using workflows and contact triggers you can create multiple automations that cater and nurture your relationships. 

Keep track of every new enrolment application

The key impact of the school CRM is that not a single prospective enrolment slips through the cracks. While there may be reasons why prospective parents do not enrol, schools can rest assured when using a CRM that they have every opportunity to build their relationship. Schools using a CRM effectively will see an increase in completed school enrolments and a general improvement in the way that they are managed. Connecting school CRMs with online enrolment systems can improve the overall visibility of prospective parent data.

You can host your enrolment portal and forms on your school website and once a parent has filled out their application the data will all be stored within your CRM. You can then use the CRM system’s basic analytics to access user data and see exactly where your enrolments are coming from. A CRM can also easily be integrated with a Student Information System (SIS) so that your data can be quickly and easily uploaded directly into your existing school system.

Seamlessly manage school events

Does your school host events for prospective, current, and past students and families? A CRM can help make the event organisation and execution process easier, with features that keep track of your event registration, attendance, and new leads. With Digistorm Funnel, you can create detailed registration forms for your school open day tours, manage your registrations, and send email reminders directly in the CRM.

On the day of the event, you can use the live search results in the events functionality, which means at an event you can search for an attendees’ name and details to quickly find and check them in. After your event, you can use the CRM to easily view the number of registered attendees versus the number of people that actually attended. 

Digistorm Funnel is our leading CRM, specifically designed for schools who have described it as a 'game-changer' to their admissions processes. To learn more about Funnel in action, take a look at our case study with Immanuel College.

Published 14 March 2021