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May 10, 2018

How to Build a Cloud-Based Leads Management System for Universities

Lead management is an important part of the marketing strategy of every company of any size. Besides automating various business processes, privately-held organizations should consider implementing an IT solution that would help them manage their leads. So, how should you make a web-based leads management system for a University in order to significantly increase sales?

Vladimir Sidorenko
Vladimir Sidorenko

 

According to HubSpot, 63% of marketers see their biggest challenge in generating leads and traffic. Furthermore, 70% of them state that converting those leads is their main priority in companies they work in. Automating conversion activities will significantly facilitate the work of marketers for sales managers. This is where a lead management system (LMS) can come in handy. LMS is an efficient solution for sorting, analyzing, setting priorities, and managing leads that come from different sources.

Generating leads and their further conversion is a key method of fast development for any organization whose main goal is profit. Numerous companies strive to do their best in order to get as many customers as possible; however, a survey by BrightTALK shows that 80% of marketing efforts are only somewhat effective. Despite the high importance of lead generation, leads are not an end goal. Converting existing contacts and potential customers into sales is a top challenge for business owners.

Understanding Sales Funnel Stages

To create a lead management system for university, it is important to understand what a sales funnel is and how it works in educational organizations. This knowledge will help you implement the right algorithms in your solution.

The stages of a classic sales funnel include:

  1. Awareness,
  2. Emerging interest,
  3. Making a decision, and,
  4. Performing a necessary action.

Let’s cover each particular stage.

Awareness

Your target audience learns about your courses, advantages, and perspectives. Your potential students need to get a specific education and they want it to be of high quality. They may have heard about your offers from an email, advertising, your phone call, or any other online or offline marketing channel.

Emerging Interest

Your target audience looks for the best location to receive specific knowledge. Having heard about your courses, potential students start actively searching for more detailed information about your university, achievements, guarantees, feedback, and professors who work in your university. Potential students may visit your website, subscribe to your emails, or even make a phone call to talk to your representatives directly.

Making a Decision

Depending on the quality of your customer service and the benefits you offer, potential students make a decision whether they want to take advantage of your courses. They learn the price of your courses, schedule, etc.

Performing a Necessary Action

When your potential students decide to study in your university, they finalize the deal with your organization. They make an agreement with your university and pay a fee, and you get the payment deposited into your account.

These four stages will be the skeleton or foundation of your future solution; however, knowing them is far from enough to develop a web-based leads management software that would help you efficiently convert leads into registered students. To create logic for your future solution, you also must know how lead management works, step-by-step.

The stages of lead management in universities include:

  1. Applying different advertising activities.
  2. Potential students approach a university representative to learn more about the cost, schedule, courses, requirements, and so on.
  3. Saving potential students’ contact information.
  4. Analyzing students’ other possible needs, e.g. they may need a campus to live in during their study.
  5. Setting priorities for each lead.
  6. Sorting leads and transferring them to competent departments.
  7. Contacting leads.
  8. Recording communication information in order to analyze communication techniques for further improvement.
  9. Converting leads into sales.

In fact, these nine stages actually make up the basic working principle of your future LMS. Having realized how your solution will work, you should choose the right technologies to build a custom lead management system.

Applying the Right Technologies

Besides the right logic, the success of the LMS also depends on the technologies used in its development. Convenient technologies will define how efficient the solution will be. Both desktop software and web-based tools can function properly if applied technologies fully meet all requirements of effective lead management software.

A list of general-purpose frameworks which can be used for the LMS includes:

  • Server-side frameworks, such as Django, ASP.NET, Laravel, and Ruby on Rails); and,
  • Client-side frameworks, such as Vue.js, Backbone, Angular, and React.

With your university growing, you start facing a large amount of data you’ll need to efficiently process, and you’ll need a technology that can facilitate the processing of large amounts of data. This is why you should consider implementing cloud-based solutions to ensure fast data processing. This approach will allow you to reduce the workload of your servers and save your storage memory. To implement a more advanced marketing strategy and provide your leads with more useful information, you can think about developing mobile apps for your potential students that would connect to your LMS, which is an additional advertising channel able to convert your leads into sales.

Necessary Features

Managing businesses under the heavy pressure of an extremely competitive market is a real challenge for startups. The same thing is said for educational organizations, too. Despite the fact that privately held universities provide services that are known and practiced since ancient times, they should be well-equipped with modern and advanced IT solutions that will help them work more effectively than their competitors.

At Gearheart, we have the experience of building a leads management system for an educational organization. LegitLead, an LMS for one of our customers, can evaluate and prioritize leads by estimating their chances for college entrance. Thus, the solution helps universities save their money and focus only on perspective leads.

Lead management software is one of the necessary tools that can help universities to better convert their leads into students. So, what are the key features of a good LMS?

Lead Nurturing

According to Gleanster’s report, lead nurturing helps companies convert up to 20% of hesitating customers, who have not made their final purchase decision, into sales. When a university receives an inquiry, an LMS has to process it. The software can respond via email, send requested information via SMS, or connect a competent sales representative to make a phone call. In some circumstances, these activities can, altogether, be useful. To save time for your customer service representatives, your LMS should contain message templates for frequently asked questions (FAQ). The software should record your communication history to help you create effective strategies for nurturing leads.

Task Routing

Various universities have different approaches to their work structure. Some educational organizations distribute inquiries to sales representatives, taking into account their responsibilities, while other universities may allocate requests to their employees based on their knowledge, specializations, or skills. You use your own strategy, e.g. allocating tasks based on lead intentions: general (informational request) or obvious (commercial request). Numerous existing open source algorithms can help you distinguish such intentions, so, your lead management software should correctly route tasks among your staff.

Scheduling Marketing Activities

It is extremely difficult for a sales representative to keep track of every single lead you get. People are not robots, which is why they may make mistakes sometimes or forget something. With your LMS, a sales team should be able to monitor all their planned marketing activities, They should be able to schedule any contact and receive a timely reminder. With this approach, your employees will never lose any lead.

Advanced Analytics

With your university growing, you will start receiving more and more data. Particular names, contact data, and ages make little sense. You obviously need a detailed analytics and regular detailed reports in order to continuously improve your sales strategy. Monitoring your progress and performance will allow you to develop and apply new and more effective marketing techniques.

Identifying the Most Effective Marketing Channels

You should form your analytics in a way for it to help you identify the most effective marketing channels. Despite providing detailed analytics, your leads management solution should make important conclusions to facilitate the work of your marketers. An LMS should be able to determine which channels bring your the largest number of leads with comparably low expenses.

Compatibility

Your LMS should definitely be compatible with other solutions you use in your educational organization. For example, you may use some kind of automated voice communication systems that wisely allocate phone calls between operators or perhaps even trigger outgoing calls when the line is busy. Therefore, your leads management system should be able to collect data from your voice communication solution and initiate a phone call from it, when needed.

LMS is obviously a necessary tool for every privately-held university that strives to efficiently convert their leads into students. To avoid additional expenses related to finding and hiring particular developers, you can always consider the option to outsource lead management software development. Gearheart, and our professional team with an amazing portfolio and wide experience of building web applications, will gladly help you create your custom project for efficient lead management. Contact us at [email protected] and start converting your leads into sales!

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