Prospecting for Admission: ESSEC and Salesforce
Business schools today need to offer more than just excellence in training, they need to work hard at attracting the right kind of candidate and deliver support throughout the student journey. Since its founding in 1907, ESSEC has maintained its competitiveness by adapting to changing trends, continuously diversifying its programs and identifying opportunities to improve the student experience.
An International Audience
Strong competition, and a diverse international audience means that ESSEC needs a strict business approach to ‘sell’ its courses. “Student recruitment is a real focus for us. In France, we benefit from ESSEC’s strong reputation, however we have a challenge when it comes to our international audience,” explains Jean-Pierre Choulet, Deputy Managing Director, Strategy and Development.
“To increase our visibility and attract new audiences, we must deliver the right message at the right time, while positioning ourselves as the #1 training provider. This is the approach that Salesforce enables us to execute.” says Samuel Vinet, Project Director.
ESSEC required a tool that could be used across its two campuses; one that satisfied all their requirements and one that was fast to implement. Salesforce was a clear winner. “The solution fit really well with our vision and met all our needs: the Salesforce community and its business model were in line with what we were looking for. Their outstanding support and the fact that they really took our needs into account won us over.” says Vinet. ESSEC’s Singapore recruitment solution was deployed in just two months. Since the launch, all recruitment processes are handled by ESSEC’s online system; tracking leads who download a brochure on the website, or who register for a workshop – all the way up to course registration and payment.
In order to improve the recruitment solution further, ESSEC decided to test a marketing automation solution connected to Sales Cloud on three of their MBA programs. Using carefully planned journeys, and rethinking contact forms, ESSEC were able to gather more information about prospective students and build up relationships with prospects over time.
Real-time prospect scoring means that sales teams can now target the most promising leads and communicate with them using targeted information based on their activity.
“Our goal is to encourage the prospect to begin their journey online. We have neither the international notoriety, nor the financial means of Harvard or Princeton, so to enhance our MBA programs and to add value, we differentiate ourselves from competitors with innovation, efficiency and agility. Our goal is to establish a lasting relationship with students, bringing them real personalised advice, while demonstrating our ability to support them throughout their studies,” says Vinet.
The results speak for themselves. The last campaign resulted in a 239% increase in prospect conversion. This success was met with no additional marketing expense.
“Because of this achievement we’re now planning to introduce marketing automation for our other programs. It’s also given the marketing department a new legitimacy and clearly outlined individual marketing roles. The marketing team is bringing in qualified leads that the sales teams have a mission to convert”, says Vinet.
Salesforce for Fundraising
But that’s not all. After ESSEC’s success using Salesforce to market its academic programs, they decided to use it to power their fundraising also. The results were impressive – “We doubled our fundraising productivity and greatly improved donor and pledge tracking,” says Vinet.
With Salesforce, the fundraising team has a 360 degree view of their organisation and they can access a full history of donor interactions and update donation statuses in real time. Additionally, Salesforce enables managers of the ESSEC Foundation to effectively monitor real-time performance on fundraising campaigns.
What’s next? “Salesforce has proven that it can easily support many business functions, well beyond what we have explored”, says Vinet.
“The integration of other business processes will soon follow.”