Π•he plan of interaction with the applicant prior to the recruitment company the result of the work on digitalization of the university's international department
I've been publishing articles in Education Export Magazine about various tools that are to help Russian universities recruit foreign students for a year. We managed to understand topics such as CRM systems, communication scripts, the use of IP telephony, and also studied a set of various marketing techniques that can be used in work. It is time to summarize this work and formulate a clear plan for recruiting foreigners to our educational institutions. My idea is simple: it is necessary to start collecting leads and applications not 1–2 months before the start of admission campaign, but as early as possible. It is necessary for a person who left their contact details on your social media, on the Web page of the educational program, or at the exhibition, to become a fully involved applicant who is used to your university, remembers your identity and is ready for various actions on the part of your educational brand. And in order for a student or their parent to go through all this, let us try to make an approximate roadmap of how it might look. We need:
  • CRM system (Bitrix24 or amoCRM, for example)
  • Event calendar of a university
  • Understanding which sources (channels) the leads come from
  • A scenario tree of possible behavior of an applicant

Here are some CRM-related terms which we have not yet talked about but which are necessary for our purpose. Robots are pre-written algorithms for processing leads, deals, and other business processes that run under certain conditions. Triggers are specific user actions, for example, a call or a site hit. As soon as this action works, it activates the robot which will perform certain actions necessary for us with the application. With the help of robots and triggers, you can automate many routine tasks, but we will talk about that later.

So, let's start by identifying possible sources of leads in our CRM system. We need to understand how they are entered into the system: automatically, if, for example, the "apply" button onthe page with information on the preparatory faculty is linked to CRM, or manually, if employees bring application forms from some offline or online event). We also need to make sure that all channels are working and applications received from them come to us as leads with contact details.

Next, we need to create a calendar of university activities that may be of interest to the applicant. This can be, for example, a live broadcast of an open day or a competition with valuable prizes. We also can consider news of the university (for example, signing of an internship agreement with a large company). Naturally, such news and events cannot be planned in advance and inserted into the calendar, but you can, for example, leave a few empty slots to which you will actually add the events you like, or accept that you will have to edit the scheme during the year.

Let's move on to the most difficult, but very interesting part. Let's try to imagine how an application can go through the calendar of university activities that we have built. This is difficult because there can be a large number of actions that we can consider triggers. That is, in fact, such work should result in a large matrix of all possible options for the interaction between a lead and your educational brand. But it will be even better when the applicant moves inside your CRM according to variousscenarios and eventually becomes your student!
Now we can make an approximate scheme so that it will be clearer to you how it will work. Let's imagine that we collect applications from the page of the English-language Management program. I will describe several university activities that may happen within six months (for example, before March 1, when we will be able to accept documents from foreigners from abroad):

When we see an entrant as a lead in CRM, we can come up with possible triggers and link the execution of certain robots to them:

Now, based on our calendar of activities, we will build work with this lead for half a year:

In this example, I used only a minimal set of possible triggers and robots. As you can see, if you develop such a roadmap for at least one program, it will automate many business processes and simplify the work of university employees, only leaving them lead control at key moments (for example, making a call before submitting documents or before paying tuition fees).

I hope that this information will help you structure your approach to working with applicants and push you to extraordinary achievements. Good luck in your work!
Nikita Strelchuk is the Director for Academic Relations of Education Export Center. Graduated from one of the leading Russian universities in the field of Management and is specialized in managing projects. His main professional interest is entrepreneurial approach to the work of academic institutions.