Posts Tagged online learning

Is Your CRM Making You More Efficient?

I was recently asked to be a guest blogger for Hobsons, so I am reposting that blog entry here…

How We Do CRM Implementation at Southern Miss

When thinking about how to effectively implement your customer relationship management (CRM) solution, it is important to review what your overall goals and objectives are for by asking these key questions

  • What type of student body do we want to attract and create?
  • How will implementation improve engagement and promote student success?
  • How will CRM shape our current communication strategy?
  • How will we analyze and measure the success of this implementation?

Lessons Learned: CRM Implementation 101

A mistake we made at The University of Southern Mississippi in our implementation was that we didn’t develop a comprehensive plan before moving forward.  This created issues when the number of our programs and prospective students grew faster than we could handle.

We also learned that it is just as important to consider your resources as it is your goals.  In theory, it’s nice to think it is possible to facilitate all the functionality within a CRM from the very beginning. Realistically, its best to give some preliminary thought into how this can be achieved.

A quick rule of thumb: it’s better to use a few functions within your CRM well rather than use all of the functions poorly. 

Your goals come into play here when trying to decide which functions are most appropriate to start off.  Begin by evaluating all of the functionality available within your CRM and line those functions up with your goals and objectives. Create a quick matrix like this one to get started.

The next step in your implementation process should be to develop a three to five year strategic plan to map out how you will achieve these goals and how functionality will be incorporated to do this.  Keep in mind that an effective strategic plan is a dynamic, living document open to collaboration.

Once you have your strategic plan in place, it is important to ensure that the CRM is making your processes more efficient, not just adding to your daily task list.  At Southern Miss, we use our CRM to manage the marketing and recruitment efforts for our fully online programs. Since 2009, our CRM use has grown tremendously.  We started with a single inquiry form for one program and have since grown to over thirty inquiry forms and thirty online programs.

Additionally, because of limited resources everything we do has to be scalable.  Using communication plans and workflow alerts, we have developed strategies that allow the CRM to work for us.

In short, having a CRM is a necessary tool when developing a successful marketing and recruitment strategy; just make sure you’re running the CRM and it’s not running you.

What have you learned from your higher education CRM implementation? What advice would you give to those preparing for implementation?

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Hobsons U – Driving Your Marketing to Increase Enrollment in Online Programs

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Hobsons University Conference in Nashville, TN for the first time.  The customer relationship management (CRM) we use, Intelliworks, was recently acquired by Hobsons, so attending their annual conference gave us a chance to learn what is available in additional products, resources, and upgrades.  The conference sessions gave us great opportunities to learn about some new ideas that we can implement to improve our marketing and recruitment efforts.  I met some great people from whom I learned a lot that work at other higher education institutions.  The conference was very well organized and the content of the sessions was great!  The only negative is that I came away with so many new ideas I don’t know how I will find the time to implement them all 🙂

At the conference, along with my colleague Amanda Cascio, we gave a presentation on, “Driving Your Marketing to Increase Enrollment in Online Programs.”  We discussed creative marketing approaches we used to increase enrollment for our online programs, including marketing and recruitment as a new service, implementation of a customer relationship management tool (CRM), development of program specific marketing and recruitment plans, and establishing and promoting our brand.

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Engagement, Persistence, and Retention: How USM use ConnectYard to Successfully Enhance these Key Factors

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2012 Blackboard World Conference in New Orleans, LA.  Blackboard World is always a huge conference with a lot of information.  Like years past, there were a lot of useful sessions and time well spent collaborating and meeting new folks from other schools learning about their experiences and key take aways.  There were several things I thought they could have done better, but the big negatives were the food and location.   Considering we were in a city known for their great food, what they provided at the conference was a disappointment.  And, although I love New Orleans, having to shuttle back and forth to the convention center from my hotel was a pain and the few times I had to walk the 2 miles to get to the other end of the convention center wasn’t pleasant, although admittedly the exercise was good for me 🙂 Overall, though I’m glad I was able to attend.

On the first day of the conference, along with my colleagues Sheri Rawls and Cindy Handley, we presented with ConnectYard.  We have been using ConnectYard for about a year to enhance the communication within our online courses.  ConnectYard provides the ability to set up alternate communication channels within Blackboard so students and faculty can self-select how they would like to receive discussion postings and announcements from their courses. They can select channels such as Facebook, Twitter, cell phone text messaging, or e-mail.  Feedback from our students and faculty has been overwhelmingly positive.  They like the customization of the service and that it allows them to access their messages from anywhere on their mobile devices.  We are currently pursuing other use cases for ConnectYard, such as for marketing and recruitment for our online programs and university wide communications among departments and online students.  To view our presentation, see below.

How USM Uses ConnectYard to Successfully Enhance Engagement, Persistence, and Retention Efforts from ahornton

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Creating Flexibility for Online Students: Partnership with MSVCC

My colleagues, Sheri Rawls, Chad Seals, and myself gave this presentation at the 2011 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference in March. We spoke about the consortium agreement between The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC).  This agreement allows USM students enrolled in a fully online program to have access to additional online general education courses offered by MSVCC, and not currently offered online through USM. This presentation included a discussion about what lead to this agreement, benefits, and lessons learned after piloting for one semester.  The presentation also included discussion of where they see the future of online going for USM.

To view our presentation, please click on the link below:

Creating Flexibility for the Online Student: The University of Southern Mississippi and MSVCC partnership
View more presentations from ahornton

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