Baker University Transforms Recruitment to Exceed Goals with CRM - Transcript
A Strategic Targeted Approach to Enrollment Management
Andy Jett: Hello everybody. My name is Andy Jet. I am the Chief Information Officer here at Baker University and Kevin Kropf is here with me. And we are just going to dive right into our presentation and talk a little bit about how CRM has helped Kevin achieve those recruitment goals.
Kevin Kropf: We came into last year for Class of Fall 2013, really needing to turn around our enrollment numbers and after four kind of down years, we were able to do that. The Fall ’13 class was the highest in the last five years. It was 17 percent larger than the class in the Fall of ’12 and almost 30 percent higher than the low water market in 2010. Moving forward to this year, our application numbers continue to be well ahead of last year by about 15 percent and currently, our deposits are pretty much in line with where we were last year, or maybe even a couple ahead. I did not get a chance to check the mail today so hopefully we will have some more good news in there.
"Moving forward to this year, our application numbers continue to be well ahead of last year by about 15 percent"
And so going backwards a little bit in terms of what we did. Baker has been known for its innovation and, throughout its history, as the first university in Kansas founded in 1858. We were like a lot of denominational schools. We turned out a lot of preachers and teachers in the early years, but really in the 1980s, transformed itself a little bit with a little greater focus on science, on business areas, and still a strong education program. But then added a nursing school that has been a great draw for us. And then soon after that graduate programs in business and education. And that is what has led us to become this comprehensive university that we are today, with six campuses across Kansas and in the Kansas City metro area. And we have some famous alums that people probably recognize. People like Mike McCarthy, who is the head football coach of the Green Bay Packers, and Andrew Cherng, who is the Founder and CEO of the Panda Restaurant Group. But also folks like Candice Millard, who is a New York Times bestselling author, and then Kevin Mahogany, a jazz musician. So that is a little bit about the background of Baker. I think Andy wants to talk a little bit about more about some of the nuts and bolts and enrollment figures.
Andy Jett: So the slide that you see now is based upon our iPad’s data from last fall. Our FTE count totally is 2,299. Again, as Kevin stated, we have four schools, the College of Arts and Sciences, which is our residential traditional campus. It is in a rural community of Baldwin City. Our School of Nursing is a BSN program located in Topeka as part of the Stormont-Vail Hospital system. Our School of Education splits its time between both the traditional campus and the Graduate Program campus in multiple locations across Kansas, Missouri and fully online programs. And then last but not least is our School of Professional and Graduate Studies. This is an accelerated adult program that carries undergraduate and graduate programs in business, leadership, mass media, criminal justice and the liberal arts.
"I really think that collaboration is going to be a key for now and for the far future"
Kevin Kropf: So a little bit about what we want to talk today in regards to Lisman and CRM systems is how to leverage CRMs for targeted campaigns and engagements. And really how we can build that into continuous improvement so that we are always looking forward to what we can do better each time that we go through this process. And how we can make technology work for us. We also want to talk about increasing accountability. I know that is a buzz word these days, accountability. And how we can kind of plan work for admissions counselors and then know that it is being done. And then the last thing is really the partnership that the admissions office and the IT department here at Baker have forged and how that can be a model for other institutions, because I really think that collaboration is going to be a key for now and for the far future and it allows us to maximize each other’s strengths.
Andy Jett: So we wanted to give you a little bit of a perspective of why did Baker move to Talisma CRM. Well prior to 2011, we used an old, very old version of EMAS. And at the time, going back to Kevin’s point about collaboration across campus, IT’s responsibility in the world of admissions was simply just to make sure the server was turned on every morning and was working. But any work done within this EMAS application was completely managed by the admissions staff and the folks in the office. And when we made the decision that we needed to move away from that, it was either we had to move to a bigger version of EMAS or more to something else. We needed a SQL based database that was not proprietary, meaning that we could get in and mess with the data, because our student information system was a SQL database. It is campus management’s SIS system. So we wanted to have something that we could integrate easily with. We wanted to move from an antiquated process to a more dynamic process and as a CRM.
"We needed improved communication planning, not only with our leads and students but internally within the team and within the university."
We had new leadership in Kevin coming into admissions, who had a different attitude and way of working with CRM. We needed a culture change in the admissions department, partly because of Kevin’s arrival and his change in management style and work processes. And we knew that the existing software was not going to be able to manage that type of dynamic change. We needed improved communication planning, not only with our leads and students but internally within the team and within the university. And we needed to create some accountability tools and I will speak to that. At a small institution like ours, we have to take advantage of all the resources and get as much efficiency out of them. And so tearing down walls and tearing down these silos and holding people in all areas of the university accountable was an important part of making this be successful. We also wanted to do a transition from a broad marketing approach to a more strategic targeted approach. Part of our commitment to our accrediting bodies was that we would create a strategic enrollment management plan. And part of that plan was to move to a more dynamic and manageable CRM platform that allowed us to have that plan and work that plan and be able to work the data and have the data to make those decisions from. And also the last thing was we wanted to create a partnership between admissions and marketing and IT. Admissions is doing the work of recruitment. Marketing is doing the work of development of the recruiting materials. And obviously IT in developing the infrastructure and work flows that allowed them to do their job effectively.
Kevin Kropf: One of the things I think it is important to point out is that when I came to leadership, I was also assuming a budget that was 25 percent smaller than what my predecessor had. And so we talked about culture change. Part of that is we needed to do things more effectively and more efficiently and so we were looking for a tool that would help us deliver that as quickly as possible. A big thing that we focused upon was really what we like to call rapid response. And really attending to students interests as quickly as possible. If we are meeting them on the road at a high school or at a college fair. It was not good enough anymore for those cards to come back at the end of the week, and then to be entered sometime in the next three weeks, and then for the U.S. mail to be able to get something out to them. We needed something that would happen a lot quicker than that. And we saw Talisma as an opportunity to do that. And so we talk about rapid response all the time. And now we try to get waves captured through iPad forms and that is entered and then emails are going to the students practically in real time. We also needed a tool that would allow us to be more systematic and strategic. In the past, we had events. We would gather things together, whether it was people or materials, etcetera, and then boom, we would have a mailing. And that could be put on hold because we did not quite have things or people at the right time. And so trying to have events in terms of our communication plan was really not effective and it really was not efficient. And so we wanted something that would allow us to do that. And we also wanted something that would allow us to reorganize some staff. We were a little overheavy on the operations side and little lighter on the recruitment side. And making this change allowed us to move some human resources around in addition to working with fewer financial resources.
"admissions staff now have access to working dashboards and data generation on their own"
Andy Jett: So what did that transition look like when we made the move. Well, beforehand, admissions controlled the application with no support from IT or marketing within the application. So all that work that went into managing EMAS was done solely within admissions. And there was no real involvement externally. Also at the time, one to two people were managing the software and all data that the reps or the directors needed had to come through those one to two people. So there was not – it was very difficult to share information and obviously we wanted to make that change. The transition occurred with a little over 1,000 hours in development work with Campus Management, the data importing from old and new, the configuration of the system, and the training and go live process on our first campus. And we focused, our immediate piece was to focus on the College of Arts and Sciences, our traditional residential campus because it was the campus that needed to have that change occur at the time. Afterwards and since we have been on Talisma, we have one shared position that is shared between admissions and IT. That individual is our main administrator for the software application and she reaches out to both IT and to Kevin and his admissions staff to make sure the processes and work flows all happen effectively. All admissions staff now have access to working dashboards and data generation on their own, meaning they do not need to go to an individual. They can learn how to pull reports and see what their next set of tasks are. They can see where their students and leads are in the process. And it is a much more dynamic and self-maintaining process for those admissions staff. Marketing also assists with the development of mailers and campaigns within the system. They can jump in there and actually build out the graphic for the mailers and assist to make sure that the branding is done effectively and stays consistent. And three-quarters position in IT is used to support the data importing and the systems admin role. So there is an individual that, a couple of different individuals, that portions of their job is designed to support the IT staff completely on back end of the system. And then also the data importing, as we buy lists from ACT and some of the other purchase lists that we do. We have data base managers that are able to import that data effectively and quickly.
"As we build the campaigns out, it is visual. It is a flow chart that makes sense to us."
Kevin Kropf: So how do you leverage the power of a CRM for targeted campaigns and engagements? For us, the real key word here was intentionality. You know, I came in and spoke with Andy about this and talked with the Campus Management folks, as they are on campus, about how we needed something that was going to help us be strategic, something that could be logical from our end, and would allow us to kind of target students in a way that we had not before. And again, the intentionality of planning it was really, I think, one of the most beneficial things for us. We knew with that smaller budget that we could not do business as usual, which before was spending almost two-thirds of the operations budget on print and postage. And I really thought that was outdated. I think we needed something that was a little bit more nimble. We needed some stuff that is electronic. We were not going to mail it to as many people. Again, that strategic component. We wanted to mail it to the people we thought were going to have the best reaction to the stuff that we wanted to send. Timing was critical. Previously, the timing was not really of essence. It was really how much stuff can we get out into the postal service. So all of this kind of came together as we wanted to build this logical process. And Talisma for us was great in that it offered some opportunity to build it visually. As we build the campaigns out, it is visual. It is a flow chart that makes sense to us. It was easy to kind of see that on our screens and say this is what we want to have happen. Or no this is not, let us move this around. How can we create this process that is going to work for us? And I think it is always good to review and assess and evaluate what you are doing and moving to a new CRM forced us to do this. In a sense, kind of start from scratch and say how do we want this to look in an ideal state? Can we insure that we are targeting the right students at the right time and looking at all aspects of that. And as I said before, we wanted that communication plan to be a process, not an event. It needed to be something that happened every day a little bit as opposed to something that happened every two weeks. Or let us time this up so it starts with March madness so that we can stuff envelopes and watch basketball games all day. We needed where something was happening every day. And we needed to be able to do this without having to pick up the phone and calling IT every five minutes. Before when we would have issues with EMAS, we are calling there and they did not have answers for us. And then we are calling and waiting to hear from somebody from San Diego and it was not efficient.
"We needed something that we could manage ourselves or that we could get the training necessary that we could manage ourselves."
We needed something that we could manage ourselves or that we could get the training necessary that we could manage ourselves. And we were able to do that. We wanted to impact how we communicate with students about campus visits. We wanted to impact our email flow and how can we track emails on a regular basis outside of counters having to go into a system and log and cut and paste every single email that they were sending. We needed some flexibility in our plan. If we needed a move date, we wanted to be able to move that easily without really impacting mailing schedules from our internal mail room or for the postal service. And what we found is that inserting new communication once we had these plans built out when really well. It was very simple to do, to add. It was easy to insure that people were getting things in the right time. This also helped us to look at cost effectiveness of different mailings as we kind of tracked, especially with campus visits, the number of kind of targets that we were sending out, and then the number who were attending. And looking up the cost of that, the ROI was important. And the other part I am hearing on the communication is segmentation. The way these campaigns have been built, we have been able to segment in ways that we could not before. And when I get a call from the Academic Dean that says, Kevin, we really could use some more students in our Art and Art History program, it was pretty easy for us to get some targeted communication out through specific ad hoc campaigns. And then the last thing I want to say kind of on the side is that the amount of data that we are able to collect really has allowed us the option to review kind of what we are doing and adjust. That whole idea of continuous improvement. We have a lot more data and we are able to analyze that kind of after the fact and see where we are effective and where we were not. And when we think about targeted campaigns and that planning, you know, we are always planning. The fact that we are getting close with our class for 2014 means that we are developing a lot more campaigns and making changing for fall ’15 and even for fall ’16.
"Talisma has taken a lot of that tracking out of the hands of the admissions counselor"
So another component here is Roy talking about increased accountability. And for enrollment driven institutions like Baker, where something of 70 percent of our revenue comes from tuition, it is vital that we understand the role we play in that. And that we are held accountable for our actions. And as Andy mentioned, we needed a little bit of a culture change. We needed to do things differently. You know, the budget reduction, part of that meant we did not travel as much. And that was probably a good thing, because the admissions staff was visiting pretty much every school in Kansas twice a year. Some times that meant schools with 13 students were getting two visits from an admissions officer about 300 miles away from campus. That was not efficient and it definitely was not effective. We needed to become data driven. And I know that my boss that I report to and our trustees appreciate that the new level of data that we are able to provide. And I think that speaks to my accountability. But we also wanted to insure that we could plan work for the admissions staff and then be able to measure it. Campaigns dictate when actions should be taken and that can be tracked. I like to say if it was not tracked, it was not done. Talisma has taken a lot of that tracking out of the hands of the admissions counselor and they are able to do that with a couple of clicks as opposed to an awful lot of data entry. In a couple of clicks.
You know, our ad hoc interactions and campaigns can be planned in advance. If we have an idea or we need to do additional outreach for a specific set of students, we can plan a one-off campaign for that. We can get that assigned to admissions counselors that are able to follow up with that. That is tracked. I can check in real time to see how counselors are doing and if they are kind of meeting their targets with that. And at the same time counselors have greater access to their information. The dashboards that Andy’s team has created have really allowed counselors to kind of see all of their students at the various aspects of the funnel. And I think that allows them to see again in real time kind of where they are towards their goals and also for them to plan activities that they would like to do to try to continue students down that funnel.
"When we talk about tracking interactions, I think the big key for that is that it is a lot simpler than what I have seen in other CRMs."
When we talk about tracking interactions, I think the big key for that is that it is a lot simpler than what I have seen in other CRMs. Sometimes it is clicks and it is drop down menus. Sometimes it is short data entry points. But it is really efficient and effective. The fact that the admissions staff can canvas offsite. We all have this loaded on our iPads or other kind of tablets that we may have. And we are able to use this effectively while on the road. I think it really speaks to better utilization of time when counselors are on the road. Before they were like, well I do not have access on the road. I guess I will not make phone calls tonight or if I do, I am going to have to log them when I get back to the office. Now, that excuse is gone. We can look students up, we can read applications, we evaluate applications through Talisma. So we can evaluate applications, we can follow up with students with email and phone calls, we can track those things.
And the other part of this is it really has forced admissions staff to take the anecdotal out of the process. We are getting more data. So instead of hearing well, I had students tell me this, well show me. Where are these interactions? Let me see what you logged here and so students is two? Okay, that is one thing. Students is 20, students is 50. That is something else. And so it really took that anecdotal aspect out of that a little bit better because we have more data and towards our being data driven.
"it makes it easier for me to report to the admissions staff and to communicate kind of where we are with things."
A great thing again for me is it is a whole lot easier for me to report both up and down the line. With the data we are collecting, with the analysis tools that are in here, it makes it easier for me to report to the admissions staff and to communicate kind of where we are with things. But then I can turn around and communicate to my boss, to the President, to the Board of Trustees about where things are. One of my favorite things about Talisma is that it is Excel based. And I love Excel. I love manipulating data in Excel. And that has really proven to be a great tool for me in terms of teaching admissions counselors how to manipulate data in Excel. And so that speaks to that. I think the fact that it is SQL based allows IT to really support our department with their skill set in a way that was not possible before.
And I guess the last thing I would say is that we have been able to dote out key performance indicators out of this. And that is something that has come from our Board of Trustees. That they have really asked for key performance indicators across our campus. It is not just in the admissions office. It is in human resources, it is in our growth committees, it is in our development office. And this will allow students or admissions counselors to see kind of where they are towards their targets. And I think it is important when you build in accountability. It is just not enough to say hey, we need more. It is really saying here is the goals that we have set, analyzing data in the past. And here is kind of where we are towards those. And at least I think some better conversations with admissions counselors about where they are and the steps they need to take to get to where we need to be.
"that form then submits into Talisma an interaction that flows in and a ticket is automatically created"
Andy Jett: So let me take you down a little bit of a different path and away from recruitment and to IT Helpdesk. We have been able to leverage Talisma as well to hold my staff accountable to all of the Helpdesk work that we do. And given that we have students all across multiple states online and we have different geographic locations of our offices. I also have IT staff that are spread across multiple campuses, so sometimes they are supporting the Helpdesk but they are not easily accessible. They are physically on the campus. So what we saw was the ability to manage interactions and the data around those interactions. Where we could really be effective at identifying problem areas. So we have an online form for staff, faculty and students to use. And that form then submits into Talisma an interaction that flows in and a ticket is automatically created with auto generation of emails back to the individual who put the ticket in. They are then able to know that that ticket is being worked and has a ticket number to hold us accountable if they have problems. And we have a couple of individuals that then work throughout the day to assign those tickets to the appropriate IT staff member based upon what the ticket tells us. Meaning a form tell us is this an email problem, is this a portal problem, is this a desktop problem, and so on and so forth. And that and a series of other questions that we ask drive where that ticket is going to be assigned. Once that ticket is assigned, it notifies the appropriate IT person either through an email to their desktop to let them know hey, you need to get into Talisma and work this ticket. Or they have a dashboard much like the recruiters do of their open tickets that they need to work. And we can also prioritize those tickets. And I as the CIO will sometimes run into the Talisma system and actually help prioritize those tickets. If I see issues that are showing up from individuals that need to have priority on the list, then I will move those up the priority list and so staff can get that immediate feedback from me.
There is also canned responses that adds some efficiency to the common ticket process. So if we have an issue of I cannot log in, I do not remember how to log into my portal. Well, we have a canned response and instead of having to retype that response every single time we get that question, we just have canned responses that can go back and are easy to just simply click a button and it adds it to the interaction response. And they we are able to see how students then respond back to us. If they have continued questions, a reply comes back and it maintains that kind of inventory of responses that we shared with that individual. So that if I may have started the ticket with a person, but another individual in IT may have to take up helping that student later, they can look at what I did for that student and what that student shared earlier. And that helps drive some efficiency in the process. Now the team can see all tickets, not just their own. So they can jump in and assist us when we have a lot of tickets coming in. Monday mornings are also a big time. A lot of tickets from over the weekend. And so we jump in and we help each other push tickets out and get those things resolved quickly.
"that helps us slow those tickets down and train people on the appropriate things that they need"
As the managers of the Helpdesk and myself, we can review efficiency and effectiveness of our team members. We can look at how long it takes for resolution of the tickets to occur. We can look at how many tickets are being resolved on a daily basis. This helps us build some KPIs around the expectations I have of staff and I have of them responding to tickets. And then the reporting element is, as Kevin stated, pretty robust. And it helps us in developing training for common ticket issues. So if we see the same issue coming in time over time over time from a particular department or a particular individual even, we can kind of pull that knowledge out of there and say let us go develop a training session on how to use a particular aspect in Outlook. And we will have that session. And that comes from what we are seeing the tickets coming in on. And so that helps us slow those tickets down and train people on the appropriate things that they need instead of it just being kind of a shotgun approach.
Kevin Kropf: When Andy came to me and started talking about a new CRM, I knew that we needed to build a partnership between our two departments. As I said earlier, I really think the future is going to require this type of collaboration between admissions offices and IT. And I knew we could not work harder and smarter without the help of a CRM that was logical. And to be strategic, we needed IT to be able to support us. And having worked in a number of different schools, I have seen all kinds of different interplay between IT and admissions. And Andy has been a great partner in that way. And when we looked at Talisma, Talisma was going to help us offer the multiple channels we needed to communicate with students. We know students are living on their mobile devices and we just cannot do telecounseling anymore. We need to be able to communicate them – email, texting. You know, both of those are huge for us in communicating with students. And we did not have that expertise in our office. We did not have the ability to kind of manage expectations, let alone build the infrastructure necessary to create a system that was going to lead to a small type channel communication. And so while, yes, getting started with building campaigns and utilizing more and more tools of Talisma, we needed help with troubleshooting too. And a great example of that is, and I do not know what the true cause of this was, but on my computer only, when I would log into Talisma, I would get multiple error messages. And it turned out it was a problem with one of our servers here. And the next thing you know, IT creates a workaround for me to insure that I get a server that does not create these errors. And for nine months, I used that. That worked really well for us when we turned over to a new upgrade and that problem went away. But that was I think one example of that working.
"Talisma was going to help us offer the multiple channels we needed to communicate with students."
We also, as everyone knows, you have to have clean data. The quality of the data is imperative. If you are going to do segmented communications, you need to know that your data is clean. And through this partnership, Andy’s side, the IT side, really does help us with monitoring the quality of that data. And in looking at the attendees here, I see institutions that are a lot larger than us in terms of their volume and I know you know the importance of quality data. And to have that kind of partnership to know that IT kind of has our back and is able to double check a lot of our data entry here, allows me to be confident that the data we have is accurate and clean.
And then it is just the idea of training. And we on a regular basis as we meet, we talk about what else do we need to know from Talisma or hey, when I was playing around with this, I found this. Is there a way that we can all use this or can we build this out a little bit more. Or counselors are asking how can we develop a campaign just for my students? And this is kind of what I want to do. And so as we do that, we get together with Information Technology and Andy’s team and we do some training. And I am sure they have learned some things from us, but we are also discovering a lot of these things together. And as we have done that, I think that has really strengthened our office here. And you know, it is not that we do not continue to have needs. We do, and we know that there is a queue that is out there for prioritization, but I have been very happy with where we have been on that queue and how things are addressed. And I think if you are going to have a good partnership, I mean, there is some give and take. What I hope to keep giving Andy is more new students that he has to support through our infrastructure.
"Talisma’s data structure allows for there to be quite a bit of customization to and insertion of new fields and new data types."
Andy Jett: So our final thoughts we wanted to share with you is that when we purchased Talisma and brought it in house, we knew that there was a long term goals. But the short term goal was to simply get our CIS campus up and running from a recruitment standpoint. But we easily and quickly saw what else it could do for us. Because Talisma’s data structure allows for there to be quite a bit of customization to and insertion of new fields and new data types. It allows us to see that we have some opportunities in the areas of student services, career services, which is something we desperately need to do, especially for our graduate and adult programs. And then also physical plan. We got approached recently by our Director of Physical Facilities about running his ticketing system through Talisma, much like we do our Helpdesk for IT. And we quickly were able to kind of just draw it up on the board and know that we could deliver that into Talisma as a tool for them to be more effective. They are running into the same issues that all the departments are. Is they are having fewer staff and fewer resources and they need to be able to do their jobs better and more efficiently and this is something that we feel Talisma can help us do. So we are going to be implementing that across those non-recruiting areas.
On top of that we just in the next ten days are going to be moving Talisma to the other campuses. So we are going to be moving our Graduate School of Education and one of our Wichita locations in Kansas to begin utilizing Talisma in much the same way that Kevin uses it in the recruitment area for the traditional campus. And we are also going to be starting a call center. An element, small as it may be, it will be a call center element. And we will be managing that through Talisma as well. So we see a lot of things we know we need to do and can do and we have just taken a very metered approach to making it happen. But we know it is a tool that we think we can use for quite some time because of the flexibility of the program.
"I really think that this is going to help us continue to achieve our enrollment goals."
Kevin Kropf: As the bullet says, a good communication plan is a process and changing to a new CRM was a process, not an event. And it has been that. I wish I could say that we had a celebration, we had a ribbon cutting and everything ran smoothly from there. It has been a process. And as we implemented this back in 2011, you know, we had some bumps along the way. But we worked through those and I think we had good support from Campus Management and certainly from IT office here. And we did not maybe see some of the benefits in terms of enrollment that first year, in part because one, recruitment of new students is an 18 or 30 month cycle. And so students did not really get to have the full benefit of this but we were able to bring in a decent size class in that year. But really in year two, we really felt the effect of that. That meant that the kids who entered in the fall ’13 basically had Talisma serving them their entire recruitment process. And that is where I think we saw some of those benefits kick in. And that really means that I am excited about the future. And that we are continuing to find more and more ways to utilize our CRM, as Andy talked about. The implementing of the call center I think is going to be a great asset for us. And we talk about this all the time with my staff and that we do not work for technology. We need technology that works for us. And the goal of a good CRM is to make technology work for you and right now, that is definitely happening for us. And as we continue to find new ways to use this and new kind of aspects that we have not used before. And new reports that we can run. I really think that this is going to help us continue to achieve our enrollment goals.