Ambitious Goals with the Technology to Realize Them
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is one of the fastest-growing universities in the United States. Keeping in line with the needs of today’s learners, SNHU offers courses both online and on their campus in Manchester, New Hampshire with one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation.
SNHU started its Salesforce journey in 2012 and have since expanded its Salesforce toolset to include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Mulesoft. These tools have enabled SNHU to create a new model of affordable on-and-off campus learning, supporting students from admissions to advising to back-end technical support.
It’s a trailblazer story that demonstrates how a private, nonprofit, accredited university can use enterprise CRM tools to scale student outreach, increase admissions, and drive learner and institutional success.
Salesforce technology has played a significant role in advancing SNHU to reach their admissions goals and scale for continued growth. Today, SNHU boasts over 3,000 Salesforce users and continues to evolve as an innovative higher education institution that meets the needs of its growing student body.
4,300hours saved via online applications.
7,000texts sent across admissions and advising.
3,000data entry hours saved (1.5 full time temps).
Outdated Tech Hinders Innovation
Before the move to Salesforce, SNHU battled outdated software and failed updates. The unresponsive, high-maintenance platforms prevented the university from holding up their core business operations.
“As an advisor before the Salesforce adoption, I had to open 5 or 6 systems just to do my job,” said Jennifer Magoon, Senior Director of CRM Product Management. “If the reports were delayed, we couldn’t do our jobs.”
In addition to the clunkiness, the old systems did not meet the needs of the growing business. They needed a system that could scale, integrate with marketing automation tools, and oversee the entire student journey.
SNHU’s familiarity with Salesforce helped prove out the use case for the enterprise and allowed them to leverage the functionality across advising, admissions, student financial services, marketing, and communications teams.
We have some pretty lofty goals in terms of the number of students we want to get to, and now we have technology in place that isn’t hindering us and can support the scale we need.”Southern New Hampshire University
Shalea Benoit-Zietlow, Assistant Vice President, Enterprise Digital Platform CRM
Improving Back-end Data and Processes
SNHU embarked on a whirlwind Salesforce implementation that saw them working with a team of over 100 stakeholders at one point in the project.
“In less than 2 years, we lifted, shifted and transformed at the same time,” said Shalea Benoit-Zietlow, Assistant Vice President Enterprise Digital Platform CRM.
“We’ve started to branch out into more applications that utilize the ecosystem,” Magoon said. “Having Salesforce allowed us that extensibility.”
From the onset, SNHU saw ways to evolve with Salesforce to fuel growth. Capitalizing on the real-time data and responsiveness of the platform, they quickly began finding new ways to utilize the new data to form a 360-degree view of their students.
“Some of the lessons we’ve learned are that smaller, more incremental deployments can lessen the risk,” Magoon said. “We don’t have to address everything at once with these monster deployments.”
The efficiency and speed of their data management, using Mulesoft, allowed SNHU to improve their back-end process and freed up student advisors and other support staff. The university uses Mulesoft to help keep data flowing between their Student Information System and Salesforce.
“We use Mulesoft to keep our staff moving,” Magoon said. “It allows us to access data in both systems without having to log in to two separate systems as frequently.”
The university could then provide more personal support to students, offering the “human element” to students when they needed it most.
Empowering Students Throughout Their Journey
The university now empowers students from the application journey into their student lifecycle. This allows students to self-service their specific needs with a fully responsive and personalized admission portal.
Responsive data means SNHU advisors have real-time information to step in when a student is struggling and can provide customized guidance for each learner’s unique situation.
“It is all about self-service. The application, admission, and student financial services are facilitated from the CRM,” said Benoit-Zietlow, “Before Salesforce, that was all done over the phone or through email.”
From back-end data support and CRM, they quickly expanded their reach to include various aspects of the student journey. This expansion includes using a custom built advising tool through Service Cloud to help identify pain points for both potential students and current students and honing SNHU’s marketing messaging with Marketing Cloud.
Measuring Success In Growth
Tracking their success using Salesforce and other tools has been a revelation for SNHU. With streamlined application processes and marketing outreach, the university has seen an increase in staff time saved and increased productivity.
The SNHU staff saved over 4,000 hours via online applications, as 87,357 applications were done online instead of over the phone, saving staff time and resources that could be spent elsewhere.
SNHU has also leveraged this data to help enact its holistic view of the student journey. Marketing Cloud supports prospective and incoming students with automated outreach. The school sent over 7,000 texts across admissions and advising, allowing the admissions and advising teams to explore another way to connect to those students who need it.
“We are getting to the point where we can help students in exactly the way they want to be helped.” Magoon said. “The use of AI is going to be a big focus for us, to free up more of our staff to do more personalized help.”
“We have some pretty lofty goals in terms of the number of students we want to get to,” Benoit-Zietlow said. “Now we have technology in place that isn’t hindering us and can support the scale we need.”
About Southern New Hampshire University
Since 1932, SNHU has empowered its students to make the best decisions for them. Recognized as a 2020 Most Innovative University in the North and one of the nation’s “Best Regional Universities” by U.S. News & World Report, SNHU offers 100% online classes and one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. Their mission is to help educators and students choose the degree that best suits individual goals and strengths.