The single biggest trend that I’ve noticed in the last 18 months relates to new CRM implementation. Just about everyone I’ve spoken with recently has been either searching for, implementing or settling into their new system. Don’t misinterpret the title of this piece – You won’t find a bigger supporter of CRM’s than me. It is truly an amazing tool for managing and tracking communication with anyone you come in contact with.
HOWEVER, believe it or not, a CRM alone cannot solve all of your problems. In fact, in my experience, it may even expose or magnify some problems. Let me explain:
The notes that you and/or your team may be compiling each day on a student’s record don’t reflect the perspective of the person on the other end of the inquiry form, email, phone, campus visit, college fair, event, etc. Those notes are written by you and your staff, not the prospective student. Your initial response to this may be, “But our CRM sends automated surveys out to our prospects.” And if that is the case, then I have a few follow up questions for you:
- What is your response rate?
- Do you get a wide range of opinions?
- How often do you review this data? How do you use it to drive decisions/coach/improve?
- What do you ask them to evaluate? Are they trained to properly evaluate this?
Surveys can also be a great tool, but if you’re using survey data to evaluate the performance of your team and overall “smoothness” of the system, then unfortunately you are operating in a biased reality. The best leaders, across all industries, all agree on constant testing and assessment from a third-party. That is the only way to get a true, authentic, objective, unbiased evaluation of how the system is operating on a consistent basis. This type of assessment can take many forms depending on what is being assessed, of course.
So, no matter what part of the process you may be in with a CRM at your institution, I ask you to ponder if and how you are gathering the perspective of the folks on the other side of that communication stream.
Feel free to reach out and learn more about how we do this for our clients!