Tools for record and analysis of international student recruitment efficiency
We all know that the most important part of customer engagement is collecting a solid amount of leads from interested customers and processing them in a proper and timely manner. In this article, we will discuss actual instruments that can be used by universities and education consultants to increase the quality of their work with potential students.

CRM System
One of the main instruments is related to a record of all received applications. You need to have a database that will be regularly updated and track a history of processing of every lead. CRM (Customer Relations Management) system contains the most convenient and clear services to solve these tasks. To keep it simple, this is a tool to administer your relations with prospective students, record incoming inquiries and applications, and track who, when, and why they approached at your organization.

CRM system includes:
  • database;
  • instruments for drawing convenient reports;
  • storage of client-related information;
  • information on all stages of making deals;
  • marketing instruments.
If you decide to start a database, the easiest way would be to use Google Sheets and Google Forms. These are very flexible and multi-service instruments and the most popular record tracking system in the world. A database is stored on a cloud server and is 24/7 accessible from any device. It allows tracking of all changes and restores previously saved versions of any document if required. Finally, the Google Sheets service offers the use of filters when searching the required contacts as it has similar standards to spreadsheets processors functionality.

Besides, there are plenty of commercial turn-key solutions on the CRM systems market. Their main advantage is a friendly user interface and design (unlike Google Sheets) and extra features available to customization, including built-in email and SMS (text message) marketing tools. The main disadvantages of such systems are monthly subscription fees and time-consuming processes related to the implementation of a CRM system into regular procedures.

The creation of a proprietary CRM system from scratch can also be an option, but it requires substantial investments of time, effort, and resources.
Apart from the mentioned instruments, you need to study sources of inquiries from prospective students. Your CRM system should allow you to analyze the sources, compare them based on cost per application, and prioritize them according to efficiency.

Main sources of leads (applications) for educational institutions are:
  • Exhibitions and fairs (offline and online).
  • References (current students, alumni, their family members or friends).
  • Education consultant, student recruitment company.
  • Landing page for your marketing campaigns.
  • Online presentation, Welcome day.
  • Incoming inquiry (from a person who found your contact details and inquired).

VoIP Service
The next important instrument is a VoIP service. This service uses IP-connection and has some advantages comparing to a standard landline phone connection. First of all, you do not need to be present at your office to make calls. VoIP devices can be moved anywhere and use any Internet connection, which is very important during the pandemic when you organize a home office. You can even make calls using the dedicated mobile app or computer software. Second, outgoing international call costs are comparable or even cheaper than standard landline calls.

Extra advantages of VoIP are:
  • Multichannel incoming and outgoing lines.
  • Convenient phone number for prospective students in 8 (800) and +7 (495) zones.
  • Recording of all calls.
  • Voice welcome message and prompt.
  • Corporate or personal account manager at your VoIP service provider.
  • Statistics and reports to control your specialists' work.
  • You can administer your costs.
  • Integration with your CRM system.
Basically, any organization that has Internet access is potentially ready to implement this system. It would be enough to purchase 3-4 VoIP devices at the first stage and select a VoIP service provider.

Communication Scenarios
A comprehensive approach to communicating with your prospective students through telemarketing or via messengers and email requires special attention to scripts. The script is a template of conversations with clients in different situations. It contains phrases and wordings that are recommended for use in certain scenarios of conversations or handling client's objections. Extensive scripts allow setting up of a knowledge database for new staff that needs to get acquainted with their roles and responsibilities.

Which situations require conversation scripts?
  • Incoming calls
  • Outgoing calls
  • Making a revised offer
  • Email templates
When you make calls to some organization, you enjoy receiving clear and structured answers and being asked probing or clarifying questions, and bring your conversation to a logical end. There should not be situations when a client has to dig for information. There should be a scope of business communication ethics at a university extending to its telemarketing wing. We are going to cover this topic in one of the next articles.

Marketing Pipeline
It is really important to have a performance evaluation system in place. A marketing pipeline (also known as a sales funnel or purchase funnel) is a concept that reflects a way that an average prospective student makes from the point when your university drew his/her attention to his/her enrolment. To set up this pipeline, you need to designate stages of your potential student's decision-making process. You will need to base your communications with prospective students based on this model and consider his/her sentiments and decisions taken in previous stages. Later we will also discuss a term of conversion that describes the efficiency of a client's transition through all stages of your pipeline.

We wish all universities and education consultants to achieve your targets with the use of properly blended instruments!
Nikita Strelchuk, Director for Academic Relations, Education Export Center. Nikita completed his Management degree at one of the top Russian universities. He specializes in project management. His main scope of professional interest is entrepreneurial approach in academic organizations.