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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.

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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?