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CRM Systems for Higher Education

Students in higher education institutions have not considered themselves customers in the traditional sense.

However, since the introduction an increase of fees for higher education, that perception has begun to change and their expectation of their education provider has also changed.

Introducing a CRM system within a higher education setting can ensure the institution is more capable of responding to the needs of the students. It can also create a competitive advantage by increasing the university's ability to retain existing students and attract new ones.

10 Ways to Use CRM Systems in Higher Education

Managing a student from initial enquiry to enrolment

  • CRM systems can manage the student relationship from inbound enquiry right through to the course enrolment. This level of interaction can be so important in keeping students engaged and reducing drop out rates.

Centralisation of data ready for analysis

  • Student recruitment data can be held on centralised databases and used for customer profiling. This allows the university to mine and match demographic data and build a picture of what courses students wish to take both now or in the future.

Engage with students via social media platforms

  • CRM systems allow you to engage and respond to students individually and interact with them on the social media platform they choose. Track and manage customer interactions and gain micro-level views of each customer interaction providing intelligence to inform your marketing strategy.

Track results efficiently

  • Results can be tracked and monitored efficiently and visually with charts and graphics produced automatically providing visual intelligence for marketing reports. This allows analysis of conversions to be carried out to ensure precision target marketing.

Reduce staff costs by automating routine administrative tasks

  • Multi-functionality and automation make it possible to reduce staff costs due to the ability to automate routine tasks like mailshots and email campaigns tracking resulting responses.

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Target specific groups of students efficiently

  • Target specific student groups efficiently, encouraging greater customer satisfaction and managing communications. Help to build customer profiles and gain market intelligence by drilling through data to determine course interest at a micro level. This can inform strategies for future course developments.

Onboarding and progression

  • Student customer relationships develop over 3-4 years and during this time, students may change course, or make enquiries about postgraduate courses. Such data can be recorded so that students can be retained and progressed to different courses within the institution. This vital customer relationship can be nurtured over a long period of time to build strong relationships.

Make use of current and future data

  • CRM systems can be used to engage your alumni, enabling you to identify trends about onward destinations and successes and also to tap into this resource and market future courses engaging.

Put the student at the heart of your organisation

  • Appropriate customer relationship management systems for your institution can put the student at the heart of your marketing and recruitment campaigns. Customer relationship management systems enable you to interact and engage with your target market in real-time.

Increased reach, engagement and deeper relationships

  • Using social CRM can assist you in increasing your reach, engagement and deepening customer relationships. You can also see where your customers spend their time and advertise directly to them. All this high-quality intelligence enables you to gain high quality leads and conversions, effectively enabling you to capture new students who are already engaged. Marketing campaigns can be driven much quicker and more easily customers targeted more accurately meaning better use of marketing budgets and higher returns on investment.

The Best CRM Systems for Higher Education Institutes


Full fabric logo

FullFabric is a CRM system specifically designed with universities in mind. It enables all inbound and outbound student interactions to be tracked and monitored against applications, enrolments and declined applications. Analytical reports provide graphics to visually drill down to course and programme area. FullFabric can profile gender, age and other relevant demographics enabling better targeted and automated marketing campaigns.

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Unit4 CRM

Unit4 CRM logo

Unit4 CRM solutions are supplied by Unit 4 business software in the UK and are a popular choice with higher education providers. The benefits are a longer shelf-life than competitors, meaning the establishment will not have to invest in new systems within a few years. Colleges and universities can choose to invest in the entire Unit4 Campus integrated suite of applications opt to buy the CRM system as a discrete software unit.

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Maximizer CRM

Easy-to-use and affordable, Maximizer software is a favourite choice for education providers. This product enables you to organise your workforce through an all-access web, mobile and desktop combination. Maximizer is not a specialist higher education CRM solution, although its many benefits mean it remains a safe choice. It offers everything an educational institute would need, such as contact management, target marketing opportunities and student reporting.

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Radius by Hobsons

Radius logo

Hobsons supply products to over six and a half thousand educational establishments across Europe. This CRM focuses on making your message stand out to students who receive a great deal of marketing materials. It can track each communication and provide a breakdown of how these are received and responded to at each stage of the student lifecycle. Radius differentiates itself from other CRM providers in that it offers an all-in-one package that can manage CRM, applications, marketing and reporting.

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There are numerous other CRM providers that may be able to help your higher education institution. Check out the top 5 CRM providers in the UK in 2017.


Higher education institutions are facing increasing funding pressures with the imminent departure of the UK from the EU. As a result, universities must make every effort to harness the power of CRM tools to convert leads into long term student relationships so that they can improve retention rates. Just like any business, universities operate in a highly competitive environment, therefore any tools which can provide market intelligence to hone course offerings and manage inbound and outbound communications, will provide an edge over the competition.

In particular, social CRM is a game changer for universities as they are able to engage with relevant customers on the platform of their choice to keep students engaged and attract others who are less so. If you are a university marketing administrator searching for the perfect social media CRM application, you need to familiarise yourself with the functionality of applications available and decide which solution best suits your needs in terms of support and number of users.

CRM will vary massively in price depending on the number of administrators you have and the features you require. It is always best to shop around and ask for multiple quotes before making a final decision. Fill out the form at the top of the page to receive quotes from up to 4 leading suppliers.

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