How Salem Community College Mastered CRM Implementation: A Tale of Strategic Innovation and Teamwork

How Salem Community College Mastered CRM Implementation: A Tale of Strategic Innovation and Teamwork
by
Shelby Moquin
on
May 31, 2024
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About the Blog

Another episode of "In Your Element," features Kelly Schimpf, the Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Salem Community College. Known for its proactive approach in higher education, Salem has set a benchmark in implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, specifically Element451. Hosts Daniella Nordin and Brendan Henkel chat with Kelly about how under her leadership the college has not only adopted but excelled in leveraging this technology to enhance their operational efficiency and student services.

A Thoughtful Approach to CRM Implementation

Kelly's strategy for CRM implementation was deeply inclusive and meticulously planned. Understanding the importance of cross-departmental buy-in, she involved around ten campus stakeholders in the CRM selection process, including those inexperienced with such systems. This inclusivity ensured the chosen CRM, Element451, catered to the diverse needs across the institution, supporting Salem's commitment to a full student lifecycle approach—from prospect to alumni.

The Phases of Implementation

The rollout of Element 451 at Salem was structured yet adaptive, focusing on high-impact areas first:

  1. Request for Information (RFI) Forms: Starting with basic yet crucial tools like the RFI form allowed Salem to enhance top-of-the-funnel activities by better capturing and tracking prospective student inquiries.
  2. Event Management: The CRM's next test was managing Salem's large summer open house. The success here proved the system's robustness in handling complex, high-visibility events, leading to more refined event management practices.
  3. Application Processing: Perhaps the most significant phase was redefining the application process. By transitioning from an older system with limited capabilities, Kelly and her team were able to introduce more sophisticated features, improving both the applicant's experience and the staff's workflow efficiency.
Tips for Successful CRM Adoption

Kelly's experience offers valuable lessons for other institutions considering or currently implementing a new CRM:

  • Involve Stakeholders Early: Including voices from various departments ensures the system meets broad institutional needs and aids in smoother adoption.
  • Start Small, Think Big: Tackle high-impact, manageable tasks first to build confidence and demonstrate early wins.
  • Iterate and Improve: Use the initial implementation phase to learn and plan for gradual enhancements rather than perfect solutions upfront.
Engaging the Community and Planning for the Future

The community at Salem Community College has embraced the new CRM, thanks to transparent communication and phased training across departments. Looking ahead, the team is excited about exploring additional features like AI-driven chatbots and advanced analytics to further enrich their student engagement and operational workflows.

Key Takeaways
  • Strategic Inclusivity: Engaging different stakeholders in the CRM selection process can ensure the system addresses varied institutional needs.
  • Phased Implementation: Rolling out a CRM in phases allows for manageable adjustments and refinements based on real-world use.
  • Continuous Improvement: An effective CRM implementation is not a one-time project but a continuous journey of adaptation and enhancement.
Listen + Learn More

Discover how Salem Community College is transforming student engagement through innovative CRM strategies by listening to the full episode of "In Your Element." Gain deeper insights into their success and consider how these practices can be adapted for your institution.

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