The Big Change in Admissions Strategy & Admissions Software
Higher Education has been a sector where adoption of Admission Software especially in developing countries like India took its time. However, the need for the PREFERRED ADMISSION SOFTWARE IS VERY CRITICAL. But any solution can be only deemed best when the product takes into account changes that are happening with the industry, user & buyer personas & how courses are being advertised, bought & chosen today.
Primarily due to 3 reasons :
- Industry Marketing Spent & Lead Generation trend : Education marketing moved slowly from conventional Print, PR, TV, Banners to digital i.e. Adwords, Publishers, Facebook, Website very drastically in last 10 years. Acc to Inside Highed Ed higher education institutions spent roughly $730 million on advertising in 2017. In India & other countries this shift is more digital now.
- Rise of millennials tipped in 2018-20 : There was a demographic shift in the student population i.e. millennials born around the 90’s who just entered the higher education scene in around 2018-20. They do not follow herd mentality & need to be acquired, branded & nurtured on online & social platforms. Out of 400M WhatsApp messages sent in India daily around 200M are being sent by the age group of 18-26.
- A new age admission user & buyer : With the education technology boom in India e.g. Byju’s, Toppr, Unacademy of the world’s a richer pool of education marketer’s are joining education admission teams & making the buying decision to digitise admissions. They not only choose the best but also choose what’s right for them. For e.g. SalesForce is the best CRM in the world but Zenoti, PipeDrive are themselves multi million dollar companies for different industries.
One of the core tenets we focus on building for this new age counsellor user & the buyer who wants to combine the power of Admission CRM Software, Marketing Automation, Calling Capabilities, Conversational Tools, Sleak Application Workflow, AI & ML for prediction of enrolments & with a for a Mobile First admission team.
The Biggest Problems with Admissions Software
While many colleges and universities have deployed an Admission Software, they are not taking full advantage of the technology.
Lack of System of Records – Consolidation
A quality Admission Software will enable the university to streamline their communication efforts across the entire student lifecycle through easy data segmentation and automation, saving on time-consuming administrative and operational tasks.
In other words, an Admission Software reacts as a single source of truth, containing both contact details and engagement history.
No Decision Analytics – Only Reporting
Historically, gathering data and inputting it into a report consisting of multiple excel sheets was something of an arduous and time-consuming task. Inbuilt reporting systems mean individuals and departments can do away with spreadsheets and access reports instantaneously. A lack of decision making reporting impedes an Admission Software to provide key decisions.
Lack of Operational Efficiency – Waste of time
Time wasted up on admin tasks can be channeled into directly talking to the prospect students moreover creating targeted and meaningful content. Automated email marketing campaigns can do wonders to boost engagement. They can be scheduled for different stages of the admissions process and segmented according to things like academic subject and level of study.
Almost No engagement Consistency – The recipe for failure
Lack of meaningful messages in a robust Admission Software in the form of emails and SMS delivered in a consistent, timely way can destroy universities’s abilities to drive academic results as well as admissions. Regular communication helps the university to establish itself at the forefront of the stakeholder’s mind, pre and post-graduation! A lack of this impedes building a brand in the mindspace of the parents & students.
Data Distributed & not Data Driven
Conventional marketing wisdom says consumers have to engage with a brand’s marketing message at least seven times before they commit to purchasing a product. Similar buying behaviors are exhibited in students when looking for the best higher education institution for their needs. With the correct Admission Software, a university can build and implement an excellent student recruitment campaign. Having access to data highlighting the most (and least) engaged applicants can help the admissions team target the right candidate at exactly the right time, ensuring the best applicants reach the stage of conversions.
Admission Motions are Random & not Candidate-focused
Communication & engagement is key to admissions. Admission Softwares which cannot track student’s journey, can never engage them with meaningful brand touchpoints across email, SMS, social & website.
This lack of ability to see academic and personal interests together with the engagement level of candidates, never allows admissions teams to reach out with relevant content. This content will be directly in line with each candidate’s needs. As a result, the relationship with each individual becomes more personalized and a higher level of trust is built.
Updates and messages of support can also support the well being of students, especially at stressful times in the academic year like during exams. If not done right prospects get a sense that the institute’s admission teams do not care.
No Key Insights – Intelligence in Marketing & Outreach missing
Admission Softwares help universities track how prospective students initially find them. Did they find them by visiting the website, a well-placed ad on Google or from a specific marketing campaign, social-media oriented or otherwise? This enables the marketing department to determine where the largest scope return on investment is and where there is room for improvement. A bad one would not deliver any of the above promise.
The Biggest Reasons for these Problems with Admissions Software
Admission Software can bring so much to the higher education market, according to Tim Copeland, CEO at DemandEngine, a CRM consulting and interactive marketing services firm dedicated to colleges and universities. Copeland adds that many schools have deployed CRM systems “for all the wrong reasons.” Copeland asserts that at many schools, CRM is just a tool to help send more email to prospective students. “That’s not true CRM,” he says.
According to DemandEngine’s research, the goal for CRM deployments at most universities is to simply boost enrollment (67 percent) and automate communications with prospects (65 percent). Other purposes include measuring marketing results (46 percent) and reducing the overall costs of marketing and recruitment (27 percent).
Sadly, while improving the student experience was cited as one of the top three goals in 48 percent of deployments, and retaining more current students factors into 19 percent, few schools are using CRM to do this, Copeland says. Resistance from users, unfamiliarity with the technology, poor planning, and a lack of support from top executives continue to be the biggest barriers to expanding CRM systems at most schools, according to DemandEngine’s research.
These factors are compounded by the organizational structure at most schools.
What’s at stake? The simple answer is that colleges and universities could find it harder to compete. As a result, more families are questioning the value of higher education, forcing universities to change how they attract and keep students.
Closing Thoughts – Admission Software as a Competitive Advantage
Choosing a Admission Software is probably the most important investment an University or Institute will be making. This will pave way for a scientific process for Admission, Outreach & Engagement with the future prospects of the institute. In the word’s of management guru & leader Jack Welch – An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. Having a Education focused robust CRM may well be the killer competitive advantage of an institute.