Having founded a higher education growth agency and having worked for Laureate Education for several years, I have seen and been involved in a lot of CRM implementations in Higher Education Institutions. Maybe that is why I am often asked the following question:
What is the best CRM for higher education?
The consultant's answer is: It depends on:
- The maturity of your institution;
- The profile and tech-savviness of your team, the size of your Marketing, Admissions and Customer Support teams, and the sophistication and capacity of your IT team;
- Your budget;
- Your internal processes;
- Your goals and what do you want the tool for.
Having said that I am going to tell you why, in my opinion, HubSpot is the best CRM for Higher education institutions.
I know that being a Hubspot Partner, I may come across as biased, but my opinion comes from the time that I was on the client-side and was reinforced since I started the agency.
It is a bold statement to make and I know that. Still, I am comfortable making it. In my experience, having worked in and with different institutions, of different sizes, in different countries, with different maturity levels, there are a few things most institutions share:
- People with very different profiles and tech-savviness across marketing, admissions and student support teams;
- IT teams with high internal and student demand, having a hard time accommodating an increased workload generated by new projects;
- CRM implementations with short implementation timelines;
- Fragmented systems (Marketing Tools, CMS, CRM, Student Support, Application Software, LMS, SIS, ERP, etc.);
- Low alignment between Marketing & Admission teams;
- Budget: I won't mention it here as I will talk about it a little further on.
So, why should higher education institutions go with Hubspot?
- Ease of use - The best CRM for your institution, independent of its features and capabilities, is one that people will use to the fullest. There is no use in buying a Ferrari if you won't go past second gear. Hubspot consistently scores significantly higher than other similar alternatives. It has a great design and is very intuitive. This is even more important in organizations with very different profiles and tech-savviness across teams;
- Ease of setup and maintenance - You don't need to be an IT expert to set it up. It will not overwhelm your already stretched IT team. Hubspot also scores higher than alternatives in the ease of setup and ease of admin;
- All-in-one platform - Higher education institutions already need a bunch of systems to operate. Don't make your life more complex by having different tools for Marketing, Admission and Student Support. Make sure that you can solve your needs with one single tool that has one database. Have one single source of truth. Hubspot gives you just that. Is it the best customer service platform? Maybe not. Is it the best Marketing Automation platform? Maybe or maybe not. Is it the best sales software? Maybe not. Is it a robust, easy to use and easy to set up all-in-one platform that people actually use? That is a strong YES!
- Support - This is where I believe Hubspot makes the difference Vs other platforms. The depth of help and support is unmatchable. There are several levels of support:
- The Hubspot Academy allows you to become an expert yourself. You can significantly reduce your dependency on external providers making sure your team acquires the skills they need to manage the tool independently;
- Knowledge base & community - Very extensive multilingual knowledge base with solutions and detailed walkthrough instructions for the large majority of the issues. If there is something you don't know how to do, just ask google and you will find a knowledge base or community article explaining it;
- Partners - Large pool of Hubspot Certified Partners that can help get the most out of Hubspot and grow faster;
- Customer Support: 24/7 support by e-mail, chat or phone (depending on license).
- Pricing - Hubspot has transparent pricing: Your cost depends on your license type, number of users and database size. It is all there. The fingers of my hand are not enough for me to count the number of times that I have seen institutions that have a CRM and then use different tools for Landing Pages, E-mail marketing, Calling, Reporting, etc., because they cannot afford the modules of chosen CRM for these features. It's like having a tool and a bunch of mushrooms growing around it. In the end, you lose the benefits of one database, one source of truth, ease of use. Using the Ferrari metaphor: what is the point of buying a Ferrari if you then don´t have enough money for the gas it needs? You end up making half the journey in the Ferrari and half the journey on a bike.
Budget - When considering a tool, make sure you choose based on the one that best suits your needs. What is the impact you expect in new enrollment and student satisfaction? How many additional students do you need to pay for it? Do the math. What is the lifetime value (LTV) of a student? Let's take the example of a 3-year undergraduate student. If the tuition is 10K€ and attrition is 8% in the first year and 6% in the second. On average the LTV of a student is 10.000€ + 10.000*(1-8%) + 10.000*(1-8%)*(1-6%)= 28.400€. You can find lower-cost options than Hubspot but I guarantee you they won't be cheaper. It is not only about the cost, it's about Value/Cost. What is the cheaper: A Ferrari for 10.000€ or a Fiat 500 for 9.000€?
In the end, you need a tool that will help you generate more leads, close more enrollments and better serve your students in a seamless way, without having to learn 3 different softwares and manage several providers. Hubspot will do that. It has the power to scale your institution. I have seen it happen over and over. It was the reason for me to quit my job and help other institutions to do it.
Sorry for the extended post, but there is still a lot to be said. If you want to leave your thoughts feel free to drop me an email. If you want to discuss the subject further book a meeting in my calendar.