Assuming that we have optimized our lead generation strategy (everything that happens before a visitor becomes a lead), the next step is to evaluate our enrollment process.
It’s increasingly common for marketing departments to report on sales KPIs, such as the number of enrolled students per medium/source or ROI of the marketing campaigns. Limiting the marketing outcomes to branding, awareness, or lead volume KPIs isn’t enough anymore.
This happens because, once a marketing goal is reached (e.g., a lead volume goal) most likely, the next questions to arise will be:
- How many new students did we get?
- What was the average time to enroll a new student?
- What was the return on investment?
- What’s the student acquisition cost?
- Is our digital investment profitable?
To answer these types of questions, it’s essential to integrate marketing and admissions processes and teams. This will enable 360º visibility: from the moment a lead fills out a form until they complete their enrollment process. Besides, it will give us tools for increasing our closing rate.
What is the closing rate?
One of the fundamental KPIs that has a direct impact on the strategy’s results is the closing rate. It’s calculated by dividing the total enrollments by leads generated in a specific period of time.
Closing rate = Enrollments / Leads
If measured and monitored through time, we can set actions to be constantly improving and increasing enrollments.
Below, I share 3 initiatives that, in our experience, significantly increase the closing rate for higher education institutions.
First contact < 5 minutes
Have you ever lived your own sales process? Do you know how much time does it take your admission specialists to contact a potential student? Have you benchmarked your competitor’s processes?
A common problem in the admissions (and overall sales) processes, is the time that a potential student has to wait to receive a call-back.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, when the Lead Response Time (LRT) is less than an hour, there are up to 7 times more likely to convert those leads into students.
However, it is not trivial to achieve this standard. We need the technology and systems to allow us to assign and notify an admissions sales specialist when a new prospect made an inquiry or filled out a form. Once the admissions specialist receives it, the next challenge is having the right tools for contacting that lead within that ideal time window.
We must assume that for every lead that asked for information, they’re also reaching out to other institutions with a similar offer than ours. The faster that we contact our leads, the possibilities of acquiring a new student increase.
While this 5-minute goal is ambitious, the first step for achieving it is to know where we currently stand and design an action plan that allows us to reduce the lead response time.
Sales enablement content
As mentioned in one of our articles, there’s been a change in the buying behavior of prospective students and their parents. If we monitor and optimize the communication that’s presented to our prospects, providing them valuable information on our academic offer, and solving their FAQ, we’ll be in their top of mind, and it’ll facilitate the closing when they speak to an admissions specialist.
This kind of strategy requires an important amount of resources: from the creation of a strategy and the content production to the selection of a platform to trigger deal or activity-based messages to our potential students.
Conducting A/B testing along the way is fundamental to achieve the best possible results, experimenting with different types of content, designs, and formats, among other combinations of elements.
First contact teams
In some cases, it makes sense to have a support team that focuses on certain activities to reduce the lead response time. For example, when the admissions team has a high lead volume and not enough reps to contact them quickly enough.
Depending on our objectives and what the enrollment process is like, this kind of model can help us to:
- Validate the lead interest or their basic information (lead qualification).
- Schedule meetings, demos, or interviews.
- Collect documentation.
- Provide general information.
To set it up, we need to recruit and form a team with the ideal profile to execute the project. They’ll be the first filter towards ensuring that the admissions specialists only deal with potential students with a higher likelihood to enroll.
It’s important to mention that this initiative can go hand in hand with reducing lead response time to less than 5 minutes, but they don’t have the same goal. In this case, the objective is more about qualifying the lead before turning it over to an admissions specialist.
Success indicators for these initiatives
The closing rate is the KPI that we want to impact, but there are also other kinds of metrics that we must closely monitor to achieve results. We recommend the following:
First contact < 5 minutes
|Sales enablement content||
|First contact teams||
By implementing these initiatives, we can increase the enrollment rate of our lead generation efforts, but only if we’re constantly measuring, optimizing, and iterating our strategies.
If you need help implementing or outsourcing these initiatives be sure to book a one-on-one meeting with us.