Fostering Lifelong Relationships in Higher Ed with CRM Software

Fostering Lifelong Relationships in Higher Ed with CRM Software

Posted on Feb. 22, 2021
What CRM Is Right for Your Higher Ed Department?
What CRM Is Right for Your Higher Ed Department?
How to Deliver the Online Experience Gen Z Students Expect
How to Deliver the Online Experience Gen Z Students Expect

By Cordelia Miller

As a higher ed marketer, you already know that building brand loyalty is essential for your school’s long-term health—including keeping alumni engaged and drawing in a great class of applicants every year. What you may not have considered is how CRM, or customer relationship management, software can help your school get there.

CRMs can help track students from high school to matriculation, graduation, and beyond. They can help you personalize content to each stage of this lifecycle and build lifelong relationships with these students. Here are a few strategies with different audiences to keep in mind when building your long-term nurture plan.

As we mentioned in our previous post on choosing a CRM, your campus likely won’t have one software to rule them all because different departments have different needs—and data privacy best practices mean that not every department should have access to all of a given student’s information. That said, it’s important that your CRM systems are talking to each other so that departments can get a good sense of the overall picture for your students.

Prospective students 

For example, say that a university runs a pre-college program and has data on many high school students. Since participants in pre-college programs are likely curious, motivated learners, they are a good audience to target for undergraduate marketing campaigns—and the school can use what they already know about these students to personalize communications, and ideally increase yield. That’s a great example of CRM data flowing seamlessly to help engage students and foster relationships through lifecycle stages. 


Keeping parents informed and engaged is a huge part of building relationships. Parents are not only potential donors, but also, when strong relationships are cultivated, might be more likely to encourage younger children to attend the university. And, if they’re local (or can access remote courses), parents can be a potential pool for continuing education courses as well—all cases for maintaining and utilizing robust CRM data on your students’ parents.


Similarly, schools should ensure that relevant data from CRMs earlier on in the lifecycle flows seamlessly into the alumni database. This helps with keeping alumni engaged with the school, inspiring the next generation, and hopefully supporting the school with their time and money since these strong relationships have been nurtured for decades. 

For young alumni, one great tool to keep them engaged is surveys from career services asking how they’re doing. This will provide the school with an excuse to reach out, as well as new data points on alums’ post-college careers. On the other hand, messaging about estate planning might be more appropriate for older alumni—it all depends on what you know about the audience.

From applicants to parents to alumni, CRM platforms have the ability to help your school cultivate strong lifelong relationships, build your brand, and future-proof your institution. Stay tuned for the next two posts in this series, when we’ll discuss how admissions can use CRM effectively to connect with students, attract high-quality applicants, and increase yield.

Does CRM strategy sound like a lot to manage? Viv Higher Ed has CRM and content marketing experts on our full-service team who can help your school leverage the power of transformative CRM to achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free consult and see how we can help. Schedule a consult now.