Why Higher Education needs a comprehensive, unified CRM to Accelerate Transformation

Colleges and universities need to maintain relationships with a lot of people. For example:

  • Admissions with prospective students.
  • Faculty, advisors, and administration with current students.
  • Advancement with alumni and donors.


Missing out with Departmental Silos, Manual work and too little integration

Too often, each area uses its own system to manage contacts and information and track activity, making it difficult to relate to each person holistically. What’s more, making changes to try to get them to function together can be challenging due to the layers of departments and decision-making that are characteristic to institutions of higher ed. The result can hamper workflows and make constituents feel less than valued for who they are and what matters to them.

To gain a 360-degree perspective on each person involved in receiving, providing, or funding higher education, a school that desires to digitally transform their constituent experience needs a CRM solution that works for them, not the other way around. It should:

  • Be one source of information useful across all the above functions
  • Be easily and efficiently adaptable without the attention of overworked campus IT support
  • Easily include the communications history from email, text messages, web chats, and event attendance.
  • Use artificial intelligence and predictive modeling to give a more complete picture of what action contacts are most likely to take
  • Track and automate inbound marketing engagement of interested students
  • And more

To illustrate the complexity of higher ed constituent relationships to be managed, let’s look at the student life cycle of one student. We’ll call her Katelyn. She is interested in a school called Any State University, or ASU. (Specific schools’ processes might look a bit different from this description; this is simply intended as a real-life overview.)

The Admissions Experience

Admissions learns about Katelyn when she is in 11th grade through a high school visit. They enter her contact information in their database and assign her to an admissions counselor’s portfolio. ASU’s marketing office starts sending her emails, postcards, and even texts about the awesome reasons she should choose to apply. They are also pushing marketing materials out to schools, and in the case of private schools, churches – that’s how Katelyn first got interested.

In 12th grade, Katelyn applies to ASU by filling out a detailed application form that is hopefully on-line for easy access.  She'll have to provide a copy of her high school transcript or GED. Additionally, test score results from an ACT or SAT test are linked to her application. Over this time frame she will check out the web sites of this and other higher education institutions.  She'll check out what majors are available and search for available student activities and interests that tickle her fancy.  While back inside the university they are tracking her web site activity, forms that are completed and content that is downloaded.

Eventually she is accepted for the following fall. Communications between her and the university increase, going through student life, financial aid, academic counseling, and maybe even sports or music if applicable to her. At this point she has fills out countless web-forms, which hopefully feed information into one of her growing contact profile records and create follow-up steps for the admission services team.

Oh, let’s not forget that Katelyn gets a couple of scholarships. The foundations and civic groups that provide financial aid are all well known to college officials, who maintain a corresponding contact list and continue to nurture relationships with them.

The Student Experience

Once Katelyn registers as a new student, she needs access to the university’s SIS - student info system – as do all the faculty members and teaching assistants she will be in contact with for the duration of her time as an ASU student. Academic advising, student life, health services and accounting all depend on some form of this system to track and support her experience. All these relationships are maintained by regular communication about classes, schedules, events, projects, and other campus news using texting and other apps.

As she approaches college graduation, Katelyn will likely work with a career development office on campus to find internship placements, apply to grad schools, or hone her resume and interview skills. Her name is uploaded into the alumni database even before commencement.

It's a Family Affair- from Alumni on

As Katelyn graduates from ASU or possibly transfers to another university toward a major or advanced degree, the alumni experience still provides reminders of her positive experiences.  She may interact with a post-graduation group of current and alumni students in a specific specialty. She may have opted in to receive a university or departmental newsletter.

As her life unfolds, the university and Katelyn keep in touch.  There will be upcoming events, 5-10-20 year class reunions, and one or more job changes. This history of communications and employment is critical for the Advancement department to have included in their CRM so personalized communications can continue and provide insight into when and what alumni settle into.  The university's advancement team will gain helpful insights, not just into Katelyn but also into trends and demographics, to guide future strategic decisions. Identifying these characteristics will be extremely helpful to enhance donor attraction and new student recruitment.

By the way, Katelyn has a brother named Kevin who is three years younger, whom Admissions and Marketing have been in contact with since Katelyn’s first year.

Katelyn’s parents? They have been in Advancement’s database since she applied. They will experience their own journey through a donor experience should they choose to support ASU financially.

There is a better way for both the Student, Alumni, Donor and University Staff

So, the question is, are all these databases talking to each other? What if there was just one? Wait, you say: The number of fields to hold all the information needed by all these relationships would make the software unworkable rather than a solution.

Not necessarily true. Not with Creatio CRM, which is built to incorporate the functionalities needed for multi-departmental processes, rather than simply “integrate” with other solutions. It is also an easily adaptable app because it is low-code / no-code. That means each department can set it up to work for them, the way they need it to, instead of the other way around, by designating a “citizen developer” rather than having to wait in the queue for IT support.

Why the team at Success with CRM Consulting and their Creatio system?

Why Creatio CRM

  • Ease of use: Because its low-code, no-code capabilities are baked in, you don’t need a developer to easily create a business process that leads users forward to appropriate next steps. Just as easily, you can change it.
  • Accelerated implementation: Creatio has a library of pre-defined processes you can leverage right away. Users become engaged and more productive right away. It’s like a head start, from which you can customize to suit your growing and changing needs
  • Accelerate adoption: The success of any CRM system depends on the level of user adoption.  An intuitive user interface, your CRM users will become more engaged and have the tools in their hands to easily connect with students, plan their day and manage there responsibilities.
  • Unified platform: Creatio (bpm'online) will service every part of your constituent-facing operations with a “very consistent, unified interface,” according to Forrester Research. The capabilities are there revolving around communications, student and donor recruitment, marketing automation, student services, and development with alumni and donors.

Why Success with CRM professional services

An experienced, professional CRM partner can boost an organization’s return on investment in their CRM solution. Our team is here to help you analyze your unique needs and guide you in the selection, integration, implementation, tailoring, training, and optimization of your Creatio CRM. Without help, you will

  • Leverage built-in marketing automation
  • Develop and visualize business processes
  • Manage accounts and contacts
  • Automate workflow
  • Get the most from reporting and analytics 

Ready to accelerate your enrollment, retention, and donor development? Check out Creatio CRM and our experience as CRM consultants and Creatio partners. Contact us soon,

Show our introduction video to accelerate business transformation.....


Topics:   Accelerate Business Transformation Constituents CRM Creatio for Higher Education Text messaging

Creatio Honored as a Company of the Year by Stevie® Awards in 2022 American Business Awards®

Creatio has been named a winner in the Company of the Year, Computer Software, Large category.  Creatio is a company that is firing on all cylinders.  It is Delivering what matters to organizations ...
Picture of Dick Wooden Dick Wooden 13 Min Read

G2 ranks Creatio among the best providers in 2022 Winter Report

Creatio was recently won G3 Leader Awards in 5 categories, including no-code/low-code development platforms, Rapid Application Development, Business Process Management, and CRM in their released 2022 ...
Picture of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper 13 Min Read

Creatio 7.18.5 December 2021 Update Available

The following new capabilities and improvements have been added to the Creatio product line with this 7.18.5 update for December 2021.  Creatio is committed to delivering increasingly more advanced ...
Picture of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper 13 Min Read