If you’ve decided to use Salesforce to help improve the student recruitment process at your school or university, you’ve made a great choice. Salesforce is a powerful and flexible platform for educational institutions.
When it comes to your implementation, you (and your implementation partner) will have some important choices to make. This post focuses on one of those choices: whether to use the Salesforce “Leads” object. KELL almost always recommends that educational institutions use the Leads object to help with their student recruitment. Here’s why…
Prospective Students = Salesforce “Leads”
Think about the people who interact with your website, contact your office, attend admissions events, or send you their test scores. Are all of these “prospective students” interested in your school? Will they actually apply for admission? As “prospective students”, you’ll communicate with them in a certain way. Once they begin an application, then a different set of processes, communications and people are involved.
Salesforce was originally designed for B2B selling. It uses a Leads data object to track people who express interest in a company by visiting a website, attending an event, making a phone call, or sending an email. When a lead becomes more engaged by asking for a quote or placing an order, then a different set of processes, communications and people get involved. In Salesforce data lingo, this is Lead is now a Contact.
You can see how prospective students and Salesforce leads are actually quite similar. The tools Salesforce designed for sales leads work really well for capturing data and reporting on prospective students. You can read more technical info about the Salesforce Lead object here.
The main benefits to educational institutions of using the Leads object to manage prospective student data are:
A Cleaner, More Useful Database
Using the Leads object allows you to keep individuals who don’t ever become engaged (ie. never apply) in a separate data pool from those who do. Throughout the recruiting season, you’ll be analyzing, segmenting and marketing to all your leads. Those who begin an application are “converted” to a Contact record and removed from the pool of Leads. At the end of the recruiting season, you can easily set up rules to delete remaining Lead records based on their age or other criteria so your list of prospective students (Leads) stays current and relevant over time.
Easier To Manage Staff Permissions and Activities
Salesforce has different default permissions for Leads and Contacts and by using the Leads object for prospective students, you can use these different permissions in a host of ways.
- The most obvious application of permissions is protecting data security, which certainly applies here. Your Recruiting and Admissions teams need different levels of access to prospective students than to those in the applicant pipeline.
- You can also leverage permissions to more easily manage activities. The people and activities associated with prospective students are different than the people and activities associated with applicants. By using different permissions for each group, these activities are separated, better organized and easier to manage.
- Finally, permissions are commonly used to simplify reporting and dashboards. This makes it easier to create metrics and dashboards focused on recruiting for your recruiting team and metrics and dashboards focused on the applicant pipeline for your Admissions team.
Assigning a Score to Leads
Salesforce includes tools that enable you to assign a numeric score to your prospective students to reflect their level of interest and engagement. You can score leads based on their source as well as any demographic data you may have. For example, you may score a lead from a campus tour higher than one from a recruiting event which would be higher than one from a website form. You may also score students based on their expected enrollment date with higher scores for more immediate enrollment. You can use these scores to determine future recruiting campaigns and can include them in reports and dashboards.
Salesforce enables you to segment Leads based on source, interest area or geographical information and assign different segments to different marketing campaigns. This lets you customize your recruiting message to the unique needs and interests of each prospective student and improves the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts.
By using the Leads object, you can take advantage of standard reports and customizable dashboards designed to help manage your prospective student pipeline. A few examples include:
- Lead Conversion Report – analyze what percentage of prospective students begin an application and how long it takes from first contact to application
- Prospective Student Pipeline Dashboard – view all prospective students grouped by unique phases of the recruiting process
- Lead Source Report – analyze where your prospective students are coming from and make adjustments to your recruiting plans based on real-time data
Whatever key performance indicators your organization chooses to adopt, Salesforce reports and dashboards are configurable to provide visibility into the pipeline, evaluate the performance of your campaigns and events and make better decisions.
If you’re looking for help to make your student recruitment process more effective with Salesforce, KELL Partners can help. We’ve helped over 1,000 clients go farther and faster with Salesforce. Contact us today!