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Creating a Culture of CRM

I have written in the past about various trends, pitfalls and best practices involved in CRM projects. In each blog, I conveyed the need for unity within the organization around the purpose and value of the CRM and underscored the centrality of the student’s success. Specifically, here are the main takeaways from my previous CRM discussions:

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  • Ensuring the right data is captured and utilized is critical, and begs the question of how the organization is defining success. (What’s Trending? CRM, Early Alerts and Data)
  • Compared to ERP, many CRM projects are harder pressed to show tangible value. Ultimately, the project’s success is defined by the student’s success, and by the degree to which your organization “buys in” and adopts the technology in a way that supports the student experience. (Are You Getting Value Out of Your CRM?)
  • The student needs to be at the center of your business processes. Today’s students reject and even reinvent technology that is built around the organization’s needs rather than their own. Before defining your internal processes, the student experience must be understood and supported. (Keeping Pace with Today’s Student)

Culture Shift
To tie in all that we have previously discussed, we need to address the term Culture of CRM. What I mean by this phrase, in short, is that the organization needs to shift its focus from internal processes alone to the greater goal of supporting the success of the student.

While there are certain parameters at play with each technology and each institution, these alone cannot define the scope or purpose of the CRM project. Your mantra must be “student first, student success.” What can be done to make sure the student is equipped with the best resources, options and information to succeed in his or her education? And knowing that, how does the culture of the organization need to transform to provide the best results?

Roadblocks to Success
It is easier to re-define and improve internal processes than it is to redefine the student. But “easier” and “easy” isn’t the same thing! Here are some factors that should be addressed in planning a CRM project:

  • Buy-in. First and foremost, all levels of the organization must believe in the project. The value of the CRM should be framed in terms of the student’s needs, not the path of least resistance for the organization.
  • Adoption and Efficiency. If different parts of the organization are undertaking separate initiatives, these parts need to be re-aligned. It should be demonstrated how the new initiative not only limits duplication of work, but provides a consistent experience for the student centered on his or her needs rather than those of the organization alone.
  • Circling Back. As I discussed in Are You Getting Value Out of Your CRM?, the goals of the organization are also important. Do you have process metrics in place to measure your success along the way? Can the results of these metrics be shared with your various stakeholders to apprise them of the ongoing value of the project?

A CRM is more than a piece of technology. As the acronym suggests, it manages the relationships the organization has with its students. The relationship should be one where the student comes first. To reach a successful conclusion with your CRM, you should discover what is necessary to help the student succeed and how to build a culture within your organization

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