Marketing tip from Schools&Agents: what to look for when choosing CRM for your university
Choosing the right CRM for your school or university is a very important decision to make for any education provider as this is something that will affect everything from budgeting, to planning, to forecasting, to business data analysis, and most importantly, it will play a vital role in the customer journey especially when we speak of integrated booking forms, classroom planning and accommodation allocation. In today's article, my plan is to give you some important tips on what to look for when choosing a CRM for your University.
Bernice Camilleri
CEO, Schools & Agents, Malta
Tip 1: Look for a Customizable CRM
In my opinion, this is the most important place to start. It might not be the cheapest, but let's face it, the cheapest is hardly ever the best. And when it comes to the day-to-day running of your school, you want something that reflects YOUR way of doing things. Each school and each university is different, and unfortunately, when you go for an off-the-shelf product, you will often end up in a situation in which you will need to change various systems and processes in order to adapt to the new system. A customizable CRM will ensure that it is the CRM that adapts to your system, and not vice versa.
Having a customizable system also means that if in future, you want to upgrade or change or integrate new features into your CRM, this will be possible and without too much hassle.

Tip 2: Make sure that your CRM provider involves you in the process
Another very important point is that when you are in the process of choosing your CRM, you don't just choose the provider, but you also choose the team of people that you will be working with on the other side. Unfortunately, there are several companies out there on the market that would make a lot of shiny promises while they are trying to get you to sign up, and then treat you like a number once the sign-up process is completed. Needless to say, this is not on.
Your CRM provider needs to be someone who asks to have you involved in the project, because that way, both you and the provider can rest assured that the end-product will be exactly what you want.

Tip 3: Insist on having a Flexible CRM
Whether or not you are currently using a CRM, you probably already have other systems and processes in place - whether it is accounting software, or online booking forms, or even a newsletter software to stay in touch with your students. A good CRM enables you to retain the systems and processes you already have in place and integrate with them.

Tip 4: Make sure that your CRM enables you to gather data from your online booking forms
Good online booking forms are an extremely efficient way of gathering important data that can help you increase the number of bookings. Sometimes, students start the booking process but then stop halfway for one reason or another. A good CRM is one that enables you to pull out this kind of data, show you exactly where the student stopped and allow you to make contact with them. Sometimes, all they would need is that additional human touch to go ahead and change a lead into a solid sale....and a good CRM ensures that you can do just that.

Tip 5: A good CRM is cloud-based
We are on the brink of 2021, and there are some universities out there that are still using paper-based systems. Cloud-based systems are highly efficient and useful for various reasons, including increased capacity, scalability, functionality, and reduced maintenance and cost for computer infrastructure or staff members. Therefore, it goes without saying that, a CRM provider that has been cloud-based for over a decade, is definitely the way forward.

Tip 6: A good CRM is one which turns Business Data into Business Intel
Whether they come from the field of international education or any other field, marketers are known to spend hours interpreting data to try and pull out trends that would help them with their forecasting. A good CRM is one which:
  • Enables you to track Agent Performance at just the click of a button
  • Enables you to interpret inquiries at just the click of a button
  • Provides you with powerful reporting tools that open up new possibilities and lead to growth at just the click of a button
  • Enables you to identify market trends at just the click of a button
  • Enables you to create forecasting reports at just the click of a button
The tips above are just a few of what I think are the most important things to look out for when choosing to work with a CRM provider. At Schools & Agents, we do have our favorites, and we would be more than happy to share with you any information that you may need, so do not hesitate to contact us for further tips or help.
Top requested CRM software features
88% — contact management
80 % — track interactions
75 % — Scheduling / reminders

Choosing the right CRM for your school or university is a very important decision to make for any education provider.
Bernice Camilleri
CEO, Schools & Agents, Malta
Bernice Camilleri, CEO, Schools & Agents, Malta. Bernice Camilleri has been in the Education Travel industry for over 18 years, having experienced it from all angles but having specialized in the Academic and Marketing sides of it. Schools & Agents (established since 2008) helps Education Providers, Agents and Service Providers in the field of International Education to connect with each other and disseminate content about their organizations through S&A's platform and network. Thanks to S&A's effective Marketing Strategy and strong global connections, industry players are guaranteed to get more visibility digitally and internationally.