Remember life before smartphones, WiFi, or the cloud? Once you grow accustomed to technology, it’s hard to imagine your day-to-day experience without it. These now-ubiquitous tools foster efficiency and convenience in ways that would’ve seemed impossible before. After all, until you experience the miraculous ways a piece of tech can change your life, it can be challenging to fully recognize its value.
This is precisely the case with investing in an enrollment management platform (also called customer relationship management software, or a CRM). If you’re used to doing things the old way, you may not notice the inefficiencies in your process or recognize the headaches you’re causing yourself. And often, it’s not until admissions and enrollment teams adopt this new software that they realize how painless and streamlined their jobs can become — or how easily they’ll begin to hit their goals.
In fact, according to a SchoolAdmin survey of more than 350 private schools, more than two-thirds of schools that meet their enrollment goals and maintain below-average attrition rates actively record details about families in a CRM.
But why, exactly, does enrollment management software boost success? And what are you missing by not investing in this technology? Today, we’re breaking it all down.
What Happens When You Don’t Have an Enrollment Management Platform
Some schools avoid adopting an enrollment management platform because they’re convinced their current system is working. But, upon closer inspection, they begin to recognize all the hurdles, headaches, and daily frustrations they’re grappling with — including things they didn’t realize they could overcome with the right solution.
Here are a few examples of ways you’re hurting by not having an enrollment management platform:
1. You’re wasting time
We’ve all wished there were more hours in the day to knock out the seemingly endless amount of work on our plates. But, while there’s no way to stretch those 24-hours any further, having the right technology in place can help you cut down on the busywork eating up your workday – like tracking down prospective students’ records or manually creating each enrollment contract. With a good CRM, you can quickly find whatever data you need (from anywhere, at any time) and generate hundreds of contracts in minutes.
2. You’re missing the opportunity to spend time with families
Engaging directly with families is one of the most vital parts of your job. That face time is critical for guiding families down the funnel towards enrollment. But with all the minutiae weighing you down, it’s not always easy to grab opportunities for one-on-one interactions. However, because enrollment management solutions take over the busy work and free up your schedule, you have more time and energy to dedicate to fostering those essential relationships.
3. Conversations have become generic and repetitive
Who was the last person who spoke to a family? What was their previous conversation about? Where are they in the admissions process? Without this intel, you’re doomed to keep covering the same details over and over — which is frustrating for you and students’ families. But with a CRM, you and your team can quickly glean all the insight you need with a quick scan of a record. Conversations will not only be better informed and personalized, but they’ll be more fruitful and help move the ball further down the court toward enrollment.
4. You’re competing with schools that do have a platform
Here’s one of the most compelling reasons to get an enrollment management platform for your school: your competitors likely already have one.
Today, parents are accustomed to a certain way of engaging with the brands and services they use — and your school isn’t exempt from those expectations. [Learn more about liquid expectations and how to set a higher bar for your enrollment experience.] They desire an interaction that’s seamless, personalized, and designed for their convenience. And because other schools have invested in tech that helps them deliver those personalized experiences, they’re winning families over first.
5 Reasons Adopting an Enrollment Management Platform is the Best Strategy for Your School
Independent school leaders are judicious with their budgets — especially in a world where private schools are facing more competition than ever before. That means, as an admissions and enrollment pro, it’s not always easy to secure additional budget for new tech. You have to build a rock-solid case by showing senior management the value they’re missing by passing up this investment.
Here are a few examples:
1. It helps streamline the entire admissions, enrollment, and retention process
The admissions and enrollment processes are rife with complexities and stumbling blocks. In many cases, information is scattered across multiple disparate systems and owned by siloed teams. This makes everything more challenging for you as well as the families you serve. But an enrollment management platform makes it easy to track interactions with families, keep up with where they are in the process, and ensure information is always well-organized and highly accessible.
Also, because the data is centralized and available to everyone, it keeps teams on the same page. So whether you’re helping a family through admissions, completing enrollment, or building retention campaigns to boost re-enrollment, you have the insights you need.
2. It enables authentic personalization and meaningful relationships
Let’s face it — it’s not easy to create highly personal and relevant messages for hundreds of people. There’s simply not enough time in the day. Yet, given the targeted and individualized experiences parents see with other organizations, they expect it.
Having a wealth of easily accessible information will help you personalize the entire admissions process — and a CRM will help you automate personalization when it comes to communication like emails. By making families feel recognized as individuals (rather than just a faceless lead), you’re more likely to win them over.
[Download our Enrollment Management Software Evaluation Chart to determine which CRM is right for your school]
3. It boosts team efficiency
If you’ve ever had to track down a team member for information about a student or family, you know how time-consuming it can be. But most admissions and enrollment teams share responsibilities — and often that means picking up where someone else left off.
With an enrollment management platform, you no longer have to chase someone down for their notes or guess where a family is in the decision process because everything will be readily available in your student records.
This increase in efficiency translates directly into productivity and improved relationships with families — which improves your bottom line.
4. It helps you track, access, and share data
A great CRM allows you to easily build reports, which comes in handy when it’s time to communicate team progress to senior management or the board. (And can help illustrate the ROI of certain investments — like an enrollment management platform.) Tracking, measuring, and analyzing data will also help you work more strategically and identify your teams’ areas of opportunity. And as the old adage goes: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
5. It drives measurable ROI for your school
Enrollment is the lifeblood of a school and directly affects your bottom line and your ability to fund various operations within your institution. An enrollment management platform will help support your goals, ensure you recruit more mission-fit families, and help you identify where you need to improve so you can optimize your efforts. Additionally, it will assist you in proving your impact so you can claim your seat at the decision-making table.
Adopting an enrollment management platform helps eliminate many of the obstacles to boosting enrollment by streamlining your processes and ensuring families don’t slip through the cracks. And while it requires a front-end investment, the long-term returns will far outweigh the costs.
[Read more about CRMs and how to choose the best enrollment management platform for your school]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Web and Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, story-telling, coffee, and creating content that connects.