Help! How do I know if I am buying the right student recruitment solution?

This article was written by our CRM guru Ben. It's long-form and old school, but all the better for it: it captures the essence of why Student CRM appeals today.


If you are looking to replace your current student recruitment and marketing solution, you will be aware it can be a little daunting and challenging.

You will be nervous about making a mistake and buying the wrong system, be concerned about the amount of time and resource it takes to implement and be thinking "what if it all goes wrong?".

Well, guess what? You are not alone.

We have this conversation on a weekly basis. You want to minimise risk, maximise your ROI and ensure you don't have an awkward conversation with the purse holder as to why you are now stuck in a long contract with a system that doesn't help you attract, engage and recruit students.

Below are a couple of the conversation topics we discuss with Universities in the early stages who are looking to procure a new solution and how we think Student CRM helps.

Hopefully, it will address some of the concerns you have, answer some of your questions, and help remove that fear of buying the wrong solution. We'd love to chat with you over a coffee about Student CRM. After all, we (and the many Universities who are using it right now) think it's pretty darn good.

However, if you just want a chat about the CRM world, what we think is happening in student recruitment and what the future looks like, get in touch. We'll provide the knowledge, you provide the coffee (and biscuits).

1 - Platform or Solution? 

Student CRM is a solution: built, tested and already being used by dozens of UK universities right now. This means it's ready to go.

The other option is a platform which will usually require you to "build" onto it and tailor it to your needs.

Our customers have chosen to go down the Solution route as they don't want ongoing costs, the resource drain needed to support a large platform system and the man-hours needed to tailor it to their requirements. They just want something that works, does the job they need it to do and they know they have a system that is built for the exact job they need.

2 - Fit for purpose?

Let's be honest, recruiting students is pretty up there when it comes to important things for a University to get right.

We have seen this is an increasingly competitive sector with its own unique challenges, so why would you risk getting a system that wasn't built for the job?

Student CRM is built specifically for the UK HE sector. We are based here in the UK (in sometimes sunny Dorset). Our Customer Support and Technical Support team are based here, in the same office (believe it or not, our technical support team aren't even in the basement underneath the office with no natural light, they are on the same floor as us!).

We have worked in this sector for over a decade and we think we have a pretty good understanding of what our clients want. We only work with UK Universities and other UK based HEIs.

Why don't we work with Universities in America for example?

Well, how can we say we are experts in our field, or understand what our customers want, or be proud of the service levels we give our customers when we are thousands of miles away in a different country? How can we give the very best service and technical support if our staff don't even work the same hours as our customers? We can't! So we have ensured that we become experts in the UK HE sector and provide our customers with a solution that has been built with them in mind.

3 - Enterprise-wide or recruitment specific?

Sometimes we speak to customers who aren't yet sure what they're looking for. Would a single system that covers all possible areas of the student journey from recruitment through to accommodation and finance be better than one that focuses on the recruitment side and talks to other "in-life" systems?

We provide the latter here.

Student CRM concentrates on the first point of contact through to enrolment and then we pick up again at alumni. We integrate with other solutions such as your Student Records System to cover the entire student journey.

Why have we chosen this way? We know student recruitment like the back of our hand and want to provide a "best of breed" solution that talks to other "best of breed" solutions to provide the user and student with the best experience possible (that was a lot of "bests" in one sentence!). The thought of a customer putting all of their eggs in one basket and using (and funding) a system that was just "okay" in all areas didn't seem like a good outcome for our customers.

A simple way of putting this: in football, the striker doesn't take the goal kicks, doesn't take all the throw-ins, doesn't go in goal to save the penalties, doesn't manage the team from the sideline... they do what they do best, score goals. They work seamlessly with their teammates who have the perfect skills for other positions to help win the game but stick with what they are good at.

4 - What's the future look like?

This is coming up time and time again when we speak to customers who are looking to move away from their current system, often because it has become clunky, stale and hasn't changed with the times.

How do you know if the solution provider will keep enhancing the system and add new functionality that will help you?

Firstly, this shows the importance of knowing the sector and knowing your customers. We know the sector really well. But we aren't working at student recruitment fairs. We don't speak to international agents on a daily basis. We don't send out campaigns to students every week.

So how can we provide our users with a solution that not only meets their requirements but removes their pains both now and in the future? We speak to them (remember that old school thing called speaking to each other?)! Our customers have created a User Group who meet every other month to discuss best practice, share feedback and tell us what they want to see in the solution.

This means not only can we give our users a system that is fit for purpose, but we can also confidently say it meets our user's needs and removes their pains as they have told us what would help them do their job. These suggestions then get put into the Roadmap and our customers vote on what functionality or enhancements they want to happen first.

A simple activity that is so powerful. Why would you want a solution that firstly wasn't created for the sector you are working in, but secondly is guessing what functionality you want (probably from another country)?

Hopefully, you find the above helpful and it has been thought-provoking. What I lack in content writing, Student CRM more than makes up for in student recruitment and marketing!

We'd love to chat to you and discuss your pains with student recruitment. We can then show where we can help you meet your targets, and you can be the toast of your team for being the person who introduced them to Student CRM. Get in touch now on 01202 237406. What have you got to lose?

Success is built-in for some students

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Australia. United States. Zimbabwe.

Some students will go far. Others come from afar. World class students need world class institutions, and for the best education they’ll go where they need to.

With Student CRM you have the tools to reach out to these far-off students, pique their curiosity, and help them start their journey to further education.

(Just remember Time Zones exist…)

One look and you know this graduate will shake things up

Everyone approaches things in their own style, but sometimes we can mistake that style for something else.

The student who seems too controversial may be the student who’s asking the hard questions. The student who’s ‘too brash’ is trying to get to the heart of the matter. The student who’s seen as unconventional is looking for new solutions to old problems.

These are tomorrow’s movers and shakers.

When you meet them, you’ll want to recruit them swiftly. With Student CRM you have the tools to do just that.

We help you recruit students who will change the world

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From Open Day to Alumni, to the breakthrough in their chosen Industry, Student CRM helps you pave the way for world-changing students.

The tools in Student CRM are built around recruitment specialists - people like you. They’re designed specifically to streamline and maximise your working day. Automation shoulders the tedium of touchpoints, and each app draws the student through the recruitment process with ease, leaving you more time for other things.

Looking forward to her best open day ever

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Automated welcome emails sent out? Check.

Student Ambassadors trained with the booking-in app? Check.

SMS primed in case of emergency? Check.

Looking forward to your best open day ever? Check!

There’s no denying that open days are hectic, but with Student CRM you have the tools to manage your event with confidence and ease.

(Sorry, we can’t help with the cat herding)

How small nudges tackle "Summer Melt"

“Summer Melt” may not be a new phenomenon, but it’s only relatively recently being tackled effectively by student recruitment officers. Wikipedia defines Summer Melt as,

“The phenomenon of prospective low-income or minority students' motivation to attend college "melting" away during the summer between the end of secondary school and beginning of Higher Education, ... [due to] lack of resources, support, guidance, and encouragement.”

This US study found that many of these students are either daunted by, or simply do not even know, what steps to take at what times to further their journey into Higher Education.

Fortunately this has a simple fix: the process of Nudging.


Nudges are simple touchpoints, typically via SMS, that gently remind the student of the next step they need to take as part of their application, or simply as reassurance that the next few weeks ahead hold no surprises.

Often students most susceptible to Summer Melt are those from low income or disadvantaged families, where they may be the first generation to go to university, or not have access to a computer to pick up emails. As such, they won’t have anyone to guide them through the application process, and they may miss a key step over the summer.

Using the automated touchpoint system in Student CRM, recruitment officers can send out these “nudges” to students who may become unwary victims of summer melt.

But use caution, as this can be a double-edged sword.

Too many “nudges”, and the important bits gets lost in the noise. Within Student CRM tyhe ‘Personas’ feature can help highlight who would most benefit from nudging touchpoints, while a range of tools within the system allows you to keep track of the student’s application at every stage.

The trick is to understand your Student CRM data, and draw up a thoughtful and balanced approach to nudging touchpoints, in a way that benefits the student.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Student CRM might be able to help you, please do get in touch.

Large photo by Loïc Fürhoff on Unsplash

Communicate More with Your Students

Did you know Student CRM has more communication channels than any other student recruitment CRM?

Besides the standard email touchpoint, Student CRM helps you communicate via three extra methods. Use SMS messages to send information to students on the go, or generate labels for invitation postcards. Letters can add an air of personalisation to prospectuses, or provide Open Day information for passing to parents.

The best part is all this is controlled by you. You have control over how your touchpoints look, when they'll send, and if you want to focus on who receives them. Unlimited creation and "draft" status means that you can duplicate and test to your heart's content, with no fear of accidentally sending something you shouldn't.

If this sounds like something you'd like to be able to do, book a demo today.

Photo by Mario Caruso on Unsplash

Announcing the Event Day Scanner app (iOS and Android)

Event Day Scanner is a powerful new app that helps take away the stress of registering visitors to your university’s events.


Gone are the days of struggling with sheaves of paper, gremlin-infested handheld barcode scanners, or other clunky methods. Instead, this simple app works on smartphones and tablets, on iOS and Android, to quickly and easily get your attendees registered and marked as attending in Student CRM.

Now your student ambassadors can use their own smartphones to securely scan thousands of visitors’ barcodes, right across the campus. All registrants get instantly synced into the Cloud to give you real-time reporting throughout the day.

Founder and Managing Director Dom Yeadon commented:

“Your university’s student ambassadors can now quickly scan visitors’ barcodes to register attendance using nothing more than an ordinary smartphone or tablet, eliminating any need for special hand-held scanners or software.

This finally fixes the long-standing pain of fighting gremlins seemingly built into every third-party handheld barcode scanner we have ever recommended to our users.

Plus, this app is free.”


With Event Day Scanner you’ve one less thing to worry about. Discover more ways Student CRM can make your recruitment easier.

Student recruitment software shaped by real users with a passion

It’s no secret that behind many a great invention is a group of fans, driving it forwards.

Student recruitment software isn't something you'd think of as having fans, but we can assure you they're out there. Spread throughout the UK's universities are a group of passionate folks who've invested time and energy to help Student CRM be the success it is today.

Student CRM’s User Group is that collection of vested folk, made up of universities' student recruitment professionals. Meeting bi-monthly, at a different host university each time, the User Group gathers to discuss a myriad of topics related to their use of Student CRM. From debating new features intended to benefit all users of the system, to sharing best-practice tips and tricks with new members, the User Group focuses on helping make Student CRM better for everyone.

Tired of being ignored by your current student recruitment software vendors? Interested in meeting the members of our User Group?

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash


We’re thrilled to be once again supporting the HELOA Conference in January 2019.

We know that good communications is key in all walks of life, but none more so than when an advisor guides a student through the bewildering options available to prospective university graduates.

That’s why we’re excited to be sponsoring the Marketing and Communications Spotlight Award. We know that being able to produce innovative and engaging communications is no small thing. That's why we’re so proud to be part of recognising some of the excellent work that is taking place every day amongst the HELOA members.

It’s no easy task to keep students engaged, which is why Student CRM as the most advanced, yet easiest to use, student recruitment CRM that UK universities can buy. We want you to have the best possible chance to succeed in turning those students into world-changing alumni.

We look forward to meeting the hard-working winners of the HELOA 2019 Marketing and Communications Spotlight Award.

Come and see us at the conference.

World Access to Higher Education Day 28th November 2018

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Here at Student CRM we support WAHED


The first World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) is on the 28th November 2018.

The aim of WAHED is to create a platform which raises global awareness around inequalities in access to higher education and act as a catalyst for international, regional and local action.

In the era of the 4th industrial revolution access to skills and knowledge has never been more important, but in every country in the world where we have evidence (over 90%) inequalities in access by social background exist. The initiative is being led by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) in the UK which is a non-profit organisation leading on equitable access to HE work in the UK.

For further background on WAHED and the organisations that are supporting the initiative please go to www.worldaccesshe.com. It is supported by a planning group of organisations from across the world and by NCUK.

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UNESCO SDG 4: ‘equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and higher education’ is a goal that student CRM continues to support through enabling UK universities to extend their reach to include a broader spectrum of individuals wanting to access higher education.

If you have questions about engaging with World Access to Higher Education Day through social media please contact Martin Webster on martin.webster@londonhigher.ac.uk

World Access to Higher Education Day is an initiative led by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) in the UK and supported by NCUK.

HELOA 2019 AGM & Conference

Once again, we will be back at the HELOA Annual conference in January 2019. The proud sponsors of the Marketing and Communications Spotlight Award, Founder and MD Dom Yeadon will also be presenting a workshop on the second day of the conference.

Worried about making avoidable gaffs in your student communications? Then this presentation will be ideal for you. This light-hearted workshop on Day Two of the conference will guide you in the best use of personalisation. Covering best and worst-case examples, Dom Yeadon will offer advice on how to walk the fine line between uplifting and creepy.

We look forward to seeing you there for this no-holds-barred workshop. To register your interest, pop on over to HELOA's website now.

Student CRM to support Global Goals

Each of the 17 global goals at https://www.globalgoals.org/ has the power to change the way we live. Here at Student CRM, we have chosen to help build a better future for everyone by joining organisations from around the world and working towards a better world by 2030.

Goal 4: Quality Education is one of the 17 goals of non-profit organisation from the UK 'The Global Goals'. These goals were agreed by 193 countries on 25 September 2015, ranging from Poverty (Goal 1) and Global Hunger (Goal 2) to Affordable and Clean Energies (Goal 7) and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Goal 16).


Goal 4 is the goal that we are getting  behind:

"Education liberates the intellect, unlocks the imagination and is fundamental for self-respect. It is the key to prosperity and opens a world of opportunities, making it possible for each of us to contribute to a progressive, healthy society. Learning benefits every human being and should be available to all."

It's shown through this statement that access to Education is believed to be a crucial aspect to the mission of 'The Global Goals, which is to 'to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change' and to create 'a better world by 2030'. 


Within Goal 4, there are targets, in order to give a roadmap of how to accomplish it and also give direction to any efforts towards it. There are 10 targets, as listed below:











Can Gen Z students trust UK Universities with their personal data in 2018?

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If you think that Gen Z appear ambivalent about their PII (personally identifiable information) - don't be fooled by these digital natives.

They entrust you with their PII throughout their student recruitment journey, so if you put one foot wrong all that hard-earned trust could evaporate in a heartbeat.

Only the trusted universities will prosper

Student trust is earned by helping each student understand how and why you are putting their interests first. These data subjects are in control. An uncomfortable reality perhaps, but for those UK universities who are embracing GDPR as a new opportunity to build trust and gain a competitive advantage, this is an exciting journey.

In the past 4 months I have spoken (confidentially) with so many UK universities about the issues they are facing with building GDPR into their student recruitment processes.

These are the top 5 areas of concern I deal with on a daily basis:

  1. Data protection controls - how can our Data Protection Officer and their team all benefit from more robust GDPR controls, processes and stored communications evidence?
  2. Stored evidence - how can we rely upon a detailed audit trail stored against each student to support fast CMA and GDPR issue resolution?
  3. Safe marketing communications - how can we continue to send out our recruitment campaigns after 25 May 2018?
  4. Getting consent - how should we get, store and update appropriate consent throughout the student journey?
  5. Dealing with the new rights - how do we handle every single data subject right exercised without a huge new team of experts on hand?

Of each of these, I think #3 is my favourite:

"how can we continue to send out our recruitment campaigns after 25 May 2018?"

I explain how they can empower their marketing and recruitment teams to continue sending creative mar-comms from within a safe framework. To prevent what I call 'cautious recoil' (where marketers freeze in the headlights, preferring to do nothing rather than do something that might be or go wrong) their university must remove any inhibitions.

And then I show them why students trust the universities who use our UK-based solution - Student CRM.


At the time of publication of this post, Student CRM is still the only HE student recruitment solution to have built and launched its GDPR and CMA compliance services. It is built into every web form that collects data (in) and into every automatic touchpoint and campaign that sends consent compliant comms (out). 

Data Harvesting is Awards Sponsor for 2018 Annual HELOA Conference

20 Oct 2017

Data Harvesting is the official Awards Sponsor for the 2018 Annual HELOA Conference.


HELOA National Conference – Wednesday 24 to Friday 26 January, Crowne Plaza, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6YR.

This three day conference provides delegates with the chance to engage in debate on current issues in HE policy, education liaison, marketing, student recruitment, widening participation and admissions. Members also contribute to discussions on the future direction of the Association through the Annual General Meeting and hear from the Innovation and Best Practice, and Group Spotlight Award finalists.

Further information

For more information please email bookings@heloa.ac.uk.

No GDPR 'grace period' for UK Universities


For all those UK Universities planning on being "nearly ready", "in an advanced state", "largely compliant" or anything short of GDPR compliant on 25 May 2018 - read on...

Ambiguity being a bugbear of mine, I checked with the ICO's office earlier this month. Case Reference Number: ENQ0698938

Brace yourselves...

Unfortunately there is no ‘grace’ period provided within the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and therefore Universities will have to ensure they are compliant with their obligations under the Regulations on 25 May 2018.

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We are now getting approached regularly by UK Universities who need to understand how to implement GDPR controls to cover their student recruitment activities.

We provide the UK's only CMA and GDPR fully compliant student recruitment platform - www.student-crm.co.uk. Our clients automatically benefit from this upgrade, as it is just one of the 25 upgrades we roll out every year.

We are happy to talk you through how we can help you to achieve CMA and GDPR compliance with robust controls built-in.