University of Derby streamlines student recruitment, school liaison and event management with Tribal

Posted by Charlotte Boaden

University of Derby streamlines systems with Tribal's Student Marketing & Recruitment system

  • Over 50 separate mailboxes, now managed in the CRM
  • Over 140k enquiries have been dealt with using the Student Marketing and Recruitment solution since its launch in April
  • The Central Enquiries team now operates an SLA of 24 hours for the initial response.

Rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), the University of Derby provides industry-relevant, expert teaching to its c29,000 students, from foundation and undergraduate degrees through to postgraduate study and research. 

In 2020, Derby was named University of the Year at the UK Social Mobility Awards, Higher Education Institution of the Year at the NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) Awards, and won the Guardian University Award for Social and Community Impact.

Streamlining teams, processes and data

Prior to implementing Tribal’s Student Marketing and Recruitment solution, the University did not have a centralised, consistent approach to managing enquiries. They could be submitted through different communication channels to different teams. There was very little visibility at University level as to the overall volume of enquiries it was receiving, how quickly they were being responded to, and the level of customer satisfaction being delivered.

Determining conversion rates from enquiry, through to application, and then enrolment was challenging. As a result, the University set about transforming its marketing, recruitment and applications processes by implementing Tribal’s Student Marketing and Recruitment Solution to provide a more holistic and consistent experience for prospective students.

 Since its launch in April 2018 over 140k enquiries, (including prospectus requests and open day bookings) have been managed through Tribal’s solution. Activity from over 50 separate mailboxes is now co-ordinated through the CRM, with over 200 users providing a more visible, consistent and efficient approach to marketing and recruitment.

 With this approach came a shift in the way that teams were able to view their students, as well as how the system has been able to benefit them internally, as customers. The Student Experience Manager in the Online department explains:

 “CRM has enabled us to more easily and accurately track conversations with our students.  The use of templates has not only improved efficiencies, it has enabled us to reinforce standardised practices.  We are also able to target the most urgent emails through the use of cases.   

Dashboards enable us to more accurately record peak periods of activity and identify the most common queries sent through to us.This supports more effective resource management and proactive communications to students to reduce the number of queries received.”

Enabling consistent, personalised and measurable communications

One of the key successes of implementing Tribal’s Student Marketing and Recruitment solution was that it enabled the University of Derby to streamline its marketing, enquiries and applications processes, and re-deploy staff into more value-added roles. A new Central Enquiries team now has responsibility and oversight for all enquiry mailboxes across the institution – providing prospective students with a prompt reply, a timeframe in which they can expect a response (SLA), and a signpost to specialist, tailored content.

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 This approach ensures a consistent, personalised response for every prospective student, resulting in a better student experience. Through reporting, the Central Enquiries team has also been quick to identify areas for improvement – both in terms of business process and information provided - to better follow up with new leads or nurture current ones.

Through dedication to continuous improvement, the Central Enquiries team now operates an SLA of 24 hours for the initial response and is close to hitting its target of successfully closing all enquiries within 48 hours.

Improving school liaison outreach and pipeline conversion 

Tribal’s solution based on Dynamics 365 has also replaced the University of Derby Outreach team’s manual processes. Outreach activity, contacts and school relationships were previously managed through various spreadsheets but are now processed within Tribal’s solution. Prior to the CRM implementation, report writing and data analysis was manual and time consuming. Measuring impact from outreach activity, other than through applications received, was difficult. Managing outreach work within Dynamics 365 allows it to be viewed alongside other touchpoints in the customer journey. This provides visibility of students who have engaged in our activities through the full student journey, providing clear data to measure impact and ROI.

Tribal’s CRM has brought improvements to the team’s ways of working including:

  • Managing complex data for their school and college contacts – this then allows them to segment contacts to send targeted communications
  • Tracking activity across the institution with key schools and colleges to support co-ordinated relationship management
  • A more stable system for holding all outreach data in one place
  • Reporting capabilities of CRM have made greater efficiencies and offer wider cross reporting opportunities for the data we collect

Since implementing Tribal’s solution, there have been over 500 outreach events successfully set up and managed. As a result, the visibility of outreach activity and its key contribution to student recruitment has significantly improved.

Future rollout and considerations for other universities

 Like many institutions that choose to deploy Tribal’s Student Marketing and Recruitment solution, the University of Derby started with a plan to use Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform as a point solution, to address its student recruitment challenges around marketing, enquiries and schools liaison.

In addition, the University of Derby has also been able to harness the functionality in the area of business development to better support the institution’s commercial activity, and engagement. Their Enquiry Centre Co-ordinator for business development explains some of the benefits they are seeing:

“Tribal's CRM based on Dynamics 365 has been rolled out across a number B2B areas of the University. The Business Enquiry team were the first team to trial Dynamics from a B2B perspective and they are already benefiting from the results. 

“The Enquiry Team use a variety of CRM functionality to record the level of engagement that the University has with external commercial contacts and organisations through recording of event registrations, enquiries, opportunities and by keeping future lists of contacts to notify about a new product/service through the utilisation of Marketing Lists.  Through the reporting functionality, we are able to see real time data on the number of enquiries coming into the University from businesses and where they are being referred on to.”

Tribal extends the core capability of the ‘out of the box’ Dynamics solution, making it the ideal choice for educational institutions that want a proven, tailored way to nurture relationships with students, alumni and beyond.

 To find out how Tribal’s Student Marketing and Recruitment Solution is helping universities and colleges transform their relationships with prospects, students, alumni, businesses, internal academic and administrative teams, watch our short 15-minute video on Tribal Student Marketing & Recruitment.

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