CRM: Focusing on Internal Relationships First

I’ve read this post by Tim Copeland a few times because I think the points raised are really interesting, and super pertinent for institutions to consider before implementing (or even deciding to implement) a CRM system.

What stands most to me is Copeland’s second point that “Technology is only ¼ of the CRM success equation.”

There are so many factors at play in the realm of higher education that (like the government) it’s sometimes difficult to get things done—much less to get them done in a way that everyone agrees with.  You HAVE to get buy in from all parties involved. How will different departments be involved?  You HAVE to come up with a sound strategy on how to best implement the system.  Is your goal to boost enrollment standards?  Is your goal to attract a more diverse student population?  Does everyone involved have the same goal?

While these are relevant points to the success of the launch of your school’s CRM, you also need to think about how you will utilize the data once it begins to flow in.  How will you manage the data?  WHO will manage your data?  What will be done with it?  Institutions have to have a strategy before you even consider implementing, let alone purchasing. This aids in the development of goals and lends toward fewer issues once you move from point A to B.

But, I think the main question to consider is: Do you have the right people for the job?  CRM technology is only as good as those who operate and utilize it.  Is your staff dedicated to making CRM a success?  Do they understand how to use the data once it’s literally in their hands?  Most importantly, are they motivated to use this data to enhance the enrollment management strategy of the institution?

If not, you’re stuck with a computer, a fancy (fairly expensive) program, and a waste of time and effort.  People are the ¾ you need to make your CRM system a success.  So while CRM is there to help manage your external relationships, make sure you invest a significant amount of time internally first.

We'll be running an EM EdTech series in the summer, so I'd love to hear about your success stories, frustrations, and questions as we begin building it!