With the shrinking pool of high-quality candidates and growing competition in the higher ed space, institutes everywhere are struggling to attract the students they want to enroll. Add to that the problem of accidentally missed enrollment inquiries & delayed follow-ups, and you’ll have the sum of the challenges that Harding School of Theology faces on a daily basis.
We spoke to Matt Carter, Director of Admissions at Harding to discover how he deals with these problems every day.
Tell us something about Harding School of Theology
Harding University was established in 1924, and the School of Theology in 1954, when school leaders saw the need to provide quality graduate theological training for preachers, missionaries, and other leaders in the church.
Our mission is to challenge Christian leaders to deeper faith in God and higher standards in ministry and scholarship. The main objective is to train people for Christian ministry and to effectively lead churches & other ministries.
What are the biggest enrollment challenges HST faces?
Challenge 1) Prospects falling through cracks
The biggest challenge we face is that the pool of quality prospects is shrinking while the number of competing programs continues to grow – in others words, we are slicing an already small pie into even smaller pieces. There are at least two consequences to this reality: we need to find new pools of prospects, and we cannot let any of our leads fall through the cracks.
As an inquiry comes in, we do send a message, but the admissions officers might not set up a follow-up appointment, and we later find that we did not get back to the prospects.
Challenge 2) Trying to do more with less
We are a branch campus 125 miles from the main campus, and I am the only person on my marketing team here. There is a full marketing department on the main campus, and they help us, but they have limited time & resources they can allocate to us.
I am the Director of Admissions and have an Administrative Assistant working with me. We also have two student workers who give us a combined 15 hours per week.
Because of limited resources, we are always juggling multiple responsibilities, which means that sometimes some tasks are unintentionally missed.
How did HST overcome these challenges?
We weren’t really looking for a new system, because we didn’t think we needed one. But, one day, I received an email about a LeadSquared automation webinar and signed up because it appeared to be something that could fit in with our existing systems and workflows.
It took less than a week from our first conversation until LeadSquared was installed, and we were up and running. This was made possible by excellent tech support by the LeadSquared team. The response time has been excellent. Jenny and his colleagues get back to me the same day, usually within an hour or so.
Challenge 1) Prospects falling through cracks
a) Online lead capture
We have connected LeadSquared to Gravity Forms on our WordPress site, so information requests or applications for admission are automatically added in LeadSquared. This saves time because we don’t have to manually enter the data that we have already captured.
We have also connected our university G-Suite email (Gmail) to LeadSquared, so our email exchanges with prospective candidates are also captured automatically. This not only saves time but gives us the complete context of the conversation at any point in time.
The follow-up feature is also a great help – LeadSquared helped us customize the follow-up process according to our workflow. So we have complete clarity about the next conversation schedule for each lead.
We capture a large percentage of our leads from our website, and LeadSquared works well at capturing those leads automatically.
b) Offline lead capture
We also get lists of Bible majors from some of our feeder schools, and it’s really easy to upload these leads.
We do a lot of face-to-face recruiting at grad school fairs, conferences, and other events. Again, my team can easily enter those leads in the system.
Challenge 2) Doing more with Less
It’s very easy to map your admission process into LeadSquared, and it’s easy to use as well – My team is really happy using it. We have customized activities relevant to us, and quality scores exactly how we need them. Lead scores also help us in identifying & reaching out to the most promising candidates first. The dashboard lets us establish a quick view that shows us the information that we need to know & details of things to do each day. Additionally, we can send the candidates relevant information and helpful content automatically.
The system just makes sense!
We can also see the complete list of prospective candidates based on their stages in the application cycle. Along with the candidate details, we can see more information about them, send emails or texts, and set tasks without switching screens. This is a real time-saver.
How do you sum up your LeadSquared experience?
We are very pleased with LeadSquared. The LeadSquared team helped get the system set up to work within our existing workflow. Jenny and Sai have been responsive to issues or challenges that we face and have helped come up with solutions that may be out of the box for them but meet our specific needs. They listen to make sure they understand what we are trying to accomplish and come up with a way to get it done.
LeadSquared has helped us become more efficient, giving us more time to connect with our prospects. The customer service and tech support are excellent. I highly recommend it!
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