How Reporting Can Help You Get More Out of CRM for Schools
Date posted: May 30, 2018
A CRM system has the power to completely transform your admissions efforts. Allowing you to streamline your lead management activities, track contact with individual prospects, and even automate some elements of your follow-up process, CRM software can make your team more efficient, productive, and effective.
However, while all of these things offer tremendous value to schools, the potential significance of the reporting tools offered by many CRM systems is often underestimated. Considering the immense amount of data it collects, CRM reporting can offer a wealth of actionable insights into your lead generation and conversion processes that can be just as instructive as any information gathered by your other analytics tools.
Here’s how schools can set up and use their CRM reporting to make the most of it.
An Overview of CRM Reporting: What Can Your School Measure?
One thing that can make it difficult for people to get to grips with CRM reporting is that the capabilities offered are not uniform across all platforms. While most CRM’s offer broadly similar reporting, some platforms might have different names for reports that measure similar metrics, or not have as broad a range of functionality as other options on the market, which can make the data they are capable of gathering more limited.
For instance, CRM platforms that include in-built marketing automation tools will usually offer a far greater range of reporting then ones that don’t. In addition, the reporting of general CRM systems like Hubspot or Microsoft Dynamics may need to be adapted to the specific needs of your institution, but there are also platforms on the market designed specifically to provide CRM for education, such as Hobsons and Ellucian, which may be include reports tailored especially for the admissions process.
Typically, a CRM platform will include a certain amount of ‘out of the box’ reports to help you get started. A good example to look at would be the sales reports in HubSpot CRM. Hailed as one of the best CRM platforms on the market, HubSpot’s basic package automatically includes the following:
Deal forecast: This report provides an estimate of the monetary value of all the current leads in your pipeline, based on the stage they are at in the funnel and the probability of conversion. This could be useful for schools looking to calculate the amount of admission revenue they can expect based on their current lead generation success.
Sales performance: A basic summary of your recruitment progress, giving you a quick view of how many leads have been generated, whether they have been assigned to members of your team, and whether any work has taken place in the follow-up process.
Productivity: This report allows you to see every action that has been logged by your team in the CRM system over a given period, including calls, emails, meetings, and tasks.
Deal Closed vs. Goal: A chart which graphs the amount of ‘deals closed’– which for schools would be enrollments – against your targets.
Recent Activity: A feed which shows the most recent activity by your team members in chronological order.
These reports are all ready to go in the free version of HubSpot’s platform, but the paid upgrades available allow you to access additional functionality, including the custom report builder, which enables you to create reports specifically tailored to the needs of your institution, and to edit the readymade reports according to your preferences.
By customizing reports, your team can ensure that is tracking the metrics that matter most to your school, and choose from a variety of date ranges, contact properties, and filters to gather the data. You can also control the visualization of a customized report in order to present it in a format that is easily understandable to your team members:
It can take some time and practice to be able to create really effective custom reports, but considering what your school needs to measure will provide you with a good starting point. In the next couple of sections, we’ll look at some of the most universally useful CRM reports for schools.
Tracking Your Follow-Up Activities in CRM for Student Recruitment
When using CRM for student recruitment, reports can be vital in tracking the success of your efforts to follow up on student inquiries. As a first step, it’s crucial that your prospective students are segmented properly. How you segment leads will largely depend on your school’s particular audience and goals. For instance, those looking to make headway with international recruitment may want to divide prospects by location, while other schools may find separating them by the programs they are interested in is more efficient. Others may even need to do both, or choose some other segmentation criteria.
Example: CRM platform Mautic can be customized to include reports which show your leads by program, channel, and country.
You also need to ensure that the status of your leads reflect the stage they are at in the enrollment journey, and that this it is updated as they move through the funnel in order to ensure the data you see is accurate.
Example: This Mautic report shows leads by different admissions stages. You can see that around 2% of leads have progressed to the ‘application form sent’ stage.
From there, a CRM can provide you with plenty of valuable actionable information about the progress you are making in dealing with your pipeline, making contact with leads, and pushing them towards enrollment.
The key to tracking follow-up effectively is providing the CRM system with as much information as possible about your activities. This means logging every action you and your team members carry out, including calls, emails, SMS, and physical meetings, and updating the outcome and lead status in the system with each step you take.
Example: This Call Outcomes report created in Mautic displays phone call volumes and their outcomes.
CRM will also allow you to easily measure your team’s productivity. The Productivity Report in HubSpot is a good example of one which will give you a good general overview of the progress your admissions staff are making. Each of the metrics has a ‘quick view’ option which allows you to drill down further into specific activities:
Because each staff member has their own unique user ID in a CRM, all of their activities can be logged and tracked, meaning you can also easily monitor the progress of individual team members through both custom reports and the in-built reports in your platform.
Example: A Hubspot report showing the number of meetings booked by representative.
Tracking metrics like this in a CRM will help you pinpoint areas your team needs to improve, allocate your workload more evenly, and identify where you may be lacking in resources. It can also help you to assess which follow-up channels are getting the best response from your prospective student base, so that you tailor your workflows to maximize your chances of success.
Using CRM to Establish the ROI of Your Digital Marketing Campaigns
Another important element of CRM reporting is marketing analytics. While some CRMs are purely designed to track sales progress, many now include a vast array of marketing automation features such as email automation, form creation, and lead scoring. In addition, a number of CRMs have the functionality to track website engagement and social media interactions, and can even match existing contacts to their social media profiles or IP addresses to gather data about further engagement.
Example: An example of the Recently Returning Contacts report in Hubspot. As you can see, users who have previously provided their details are automatically tagged in repeat interactions.
As with sales reporting, CRM platforms will usually offer a number of marketing reports out-of-the-box, with some options to create customized ones to suit your needs. Again, the reports you are offered will vary depending on the specific marketing automation and tracking capabilities available on the platform you are using. Here are a few of the most crucial areas which your CRM system may be able to provide insights about:
Online form performance- Many CRM systems will provide real-time data on how successful the forms on your websites and landing pages are in capturing leads, including views and submission rates. They may also make it possible to create A/B tests to assess how changing different components of the form will affect performance.
Landing Pages- CRM systems like HubSpot that allow you to create unique landing pages for your school will also provide key metrics about their performance, such as submissions, views and conversion rates:
Email performance- CRM systems can provide similar metrics for the performance of your email campaigns, including open rates, click through rates, and unsubscribes. These reports can be particularly important if you are using your CRM platform as your main email automation tool.
Example: Click Dimensions, the marketing automation companion to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM, offers extensive insight into email performance in its reporting.
Social Interactions- As stated before, certain CRM systems can be configured to link to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and will then provide you with analytics data about your user interaction. Here’s a snapshot of some reports on HubSpot’s social dashboard:
This can be good supplement to the native analytics tools offered by social media sites, and will also allow you to conveniently view your performance on different social networks together in order to compare your efforts on each site.
Marketing Performance- In addition to the performance of specific channels, CRM tools with marketing automation functionality will also provide a number of more general reports which will give you a broad overview of your marketing performance over time, offering data on lead generation growth, sessions and conversion rates.
Other areas which can be included in your marketing reports include blog performance, web analytics, and contact-specific marketing reports. Again, much of what is available to your school in this area will depend on what system you are using, and you should make an effort to consider the different options available to find the provider most suited to your needs. These reports should also be analysed in conjunction with other tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights in order to gain as much actionable information as possible.
Creating CRM Dashboards to Easily View Reports
Whatever reports your team wants to utilize, your CRM dashboards will be where they all come together. Essentially serving as your home screen for the platform, your dashboard should house all the most pertinent information you need in one place, so that it can be easily viewed and referred to in the course of your activities.
CRM dashboards can be customized to fit the requirements of your team members, meaning they can each select the reports that are most valuable to them. Your admissions manager, for instance, may want to view your enrollment funnel, productivity reports for their team members, and other data relating to conversion success. Meanwhile, marketing staff may be more interested in seeing engagement reports for emails, landing pages, and social initiatives.
Example: A sample of reports from a Mautic dashboard, which includes data relating to website visits and email engagement. Dashboard views can be customized for each user’s individual preferences.
Smaller institutions where recruitment teams share many different responsibilities may need even more versatile set-ups which incorporate both marketing and sales data, although whether this is possible will depend on the platform you are using.
Whatever your needs, having each of your team members take some time to set up their own dashboards can be a vital step to maximizing the value they get out of using CRM for schools. As a general rule, they should aim to keep their dashboards simple, clean, and as intuitive as possible. It can also be worthwhile to discuss which reports to include, and exactly what the metrics they display mean. That way, you can be sure that the information you team refers to during their day-to-day activities is driving their decision-making in the right direction, and that they are not misled by looking at irrelevant or confusing metrics.
Far more than just another analytics tool, CRM reporting can have a truly revolutionary effect on your student recruitment efforts. Delivering personalized, real-time information from one of your most abundant data sources, its potential uses for schools are endless. And while it can take some to get to grips with, a little customization and trial and error will soon see it become an integral part of your team’s toolkit.