Optimizing Your Campus CRM: How to Get the Most Out of a Misunderstood Tool

Scott JeffeVice President, Research (Graduate and Online)April 27, 2023

While working in enrollment operations at Columbia University, Penn State University, and Carnegie Mellon University, Robert Tallerico became increasing interested in how technology can assist in enrollment operations—when systems are set up correctly. He then joined Slate and spent a few years learning the ins and outs of that platform. These experiences provide the foundations for Robert’s work in advising RNL clients on how to get the most out of their CRM. (He has also written about how critical an institution’s CRM is in reaching enrollment goals.)

Dani Rollins works with a wide range of RNL clients including traditional undergraduate institutions, graduate schools, and online programs after a career in enrollment leadership at Reed College, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Arizona. Her accumulated experiences have focused her attention on the importance of data to inform enrollment growth strategy—with the CRM being the best tool, if set up to do so.

These two experts recently hosted RNL’s Planning for Success: Integration, Preparation, and CRM Optimization. Before delving into how CRMs can be made to work for (rather than against) the efficiency of the enrollment team (more on that later in this blog), Robert asked attendees to rate their confidence in how their campus currently uses their CRM. Neither Dani nor Robert were surprised that a very small proportion (3 percent) were “highly confident” about such usage, but both were somewhat surprised at that nearly one-third of attendees lacked even “average confidence.”

POLL: How confident are you in the way your campus uses your CRM?

  • Not confident/Do not use CRM—11%
  • Less confident—18%
  • Average confidence—39%
  • More confident—28%
  • Highly confident—3%

Of these results, Robert commented “Your CRM should make your job easier. If it isn’t, there is a disconnect between how the system was set up and what you as enrollment staff need it to do. The good news is that this can be fixed through a redo of that set up.” He and Dani spent a good deal of time walking attendees through how to work with their technical teams to make improvements.

Dani firmly agreed with Robert about the disconnects or lack of understanding of what the most important outcomes are, but she was more pointed about some of the challenges. “Your data are only as good as what you put into the system,” Dani told our webinar attendees. “I had a colleague who said ‘garbage in, garbage out’—which is an overstatement of the challenge. But it does underscore how critical is it to understand at the point of set up what enrollment leaders will need to get out of the CRM.”

Watch the webinar to see how Robert and Dani suggest institutions go about the following (and more) critical issues in CRM optimization:

  • Integrations across campus systems that work
  • Third-party integrations that lighten your load
  • How to effectively audit your data to ensure it is working for you
  • Using your CRM to build population profiles
  • How to use CRM data in predictive modeling

Strengthen your enrollment results by optimizing your CRM

Are you getting the results you want out of your CRM? Is it holding your marketing and recruitment back? Talk with RNL’s CRM experts and find out how you can ensure your CRM is properly set up and fully optimized to help you reach your enrollment goals.

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About the Author

Scott Jeffe

Scott Jeffe has worked with more than 200 institutions in 40+ states to apply market data to strategic decisions. With a focus on profiling the demands and preferences of nontraditional (adult, online, etc.) students, Scott...

Read more about Scott's experience and expertise

Reach Scott by e-mail at Scott.Jeffe@RuffaloNL.com.

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