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With AACRAO membership you'll be connected to more than 11,000 members from institutions around the world. Facilitate your professional development by attending discounted meetings, gaining complimentary subscriptions to our College & University journal and more.

Why should you join? State higher education coordinating boards, higher education associations, accrediting bodies and international ministries of education and more can collaborate with our members and lend their voices to discussions about practices in the field. 

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AACRAO's bi-weekly professional development e-newsletter

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Buying the Right CRM

Nov 29, 2021, 09:02 AM
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Summary : Learn how to choose the right CRM for your institution.
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How does one get started in selecting a new CRM? Supposing there is not a simple answer, we’ll guide you through this behemoth of a decision by focusing on the important bits.

Your Role

Depending on your job at the college or university, your priorities in selecting a new CRM are going to differ from others within your institution. The priorities of the admissions department might be different from the IT department. Or, the priorities of the graduate department might be different from the undergraduate department.

How can you ensure that your requirements are met while still addressing the priorities and needs of the other departments and decision-makers in the process? You’ll need to consider which factors are most important to you. Ideally, the CRM you select will meet your priorities while also satisfying everyone else’s needs. A tall task indeed, but it is possible if done right.

Product vs. Platform

Some companies that specialize in CRM for university admissions offer products built for the sole purpose of “managing admissions”. They are known as point solutions, designed for specific purposes and typically live in siloed database environments. Functional teams often prefer them because they fit their use-cases. Technical teams can be less enthusiastic about these siloed products as they become yet another application that requires support, often with unique technical specifications and knowledge base requirements.

Alternatively, other companies that specialize in CRM for university admissions build solutions on top of enterprise platforms that offer vast capabilities well beyond that of a simple point solution. The Salesforce platform, for example, offers the most mature CRM capabilities with almost limitless customizability, coupled with an enormous ecosystem of partners who build plug-ins and integrations designed to extend the platform. Technical teams often prefer this platform approach because it allows them to scale systems by leveraging established expertise and technologies. This allows them to expand to new departments and users without investing in new technology and training. Functional team members, however, can be sceptical of the platform approach. It can be seen as reinventing the wheel if much of the functionality needs to be built from scratch on top of the platform.

Enrollment Rx is the best of both worlds. Our CRM for university admissions combines the power of an enterprise platform with specialized functionality of software built for higher education requirements.

Features vs. Futureproof

Which is a more valuable feature of CRM for university admissions: meeting the requirements of today or the flexibility to meet the requirements of the future? Of course, both features are important, but a solution is a non-starter if it can’t meet the current needs of the school. However, if the system becomes antiquated from the moment it is implemented, how long will it provide value before it becomes yet another source of operational frustration? Colleges and universities are constantly forced to update their admissions processes due to new program or applicant requirements, and the software should not be a hindrance in adapting to those changes. This became even more apparent in light of the pandemic and its impacts on higher education.

Declarative vs. Programmatic Control

You may have heard the term “clicks-not-code” or “clicks-low-code”. It is the idea that colleges and universities should not need to employ an army of software developers in order to maintain or modify their CRM for university admissions. Operational personnel should be able to quickly and easily make meaningful changes to the software system with declarative mouse clicks, rather than updating lines of programmatic code. This level of control affords rapid operational change and excellent constituent experiences as admissions teams can quickly adapt the system to applicant needs and feedback.

The Best CRM for University Admissions

In conclusion, selecting the right CRM for university admissions can ensure that your university or college is aligned with the needs of your admissions staff and your prospective students, while also offering scalability. Request a demo to learn more about Enrollment Rx and how our CRM solution for recruitment, admission, and decisions can simplify your admissions processes.

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