Building a Better Recruitment and Admissions Funnel with UMBC

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is a dynamic public research university integrating teaching, research, and service to benefit the citizens of Maryland.  The greater UMBC community seeks to redefine excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement.  To better empower and inspire inquisitive minds throughout the leading research university, UMBC engaged Cloud for Good to help realize their vision of a Connected Campus made possible through Salesforce and create a flexible, scalable solution that intuitively integrated the university’s many departments. 

“What brought UMBC to Salesforce and Cloud for Good was a vision that the university should try and centralize on one CRM product that could provide a 360-degree-view of students and people in general,” said Arnold Foelster, Senior Director of Enterprise Applications within UMBC’s Division of Information Technology.  “When the university had decided to centralize on one CRM platform, our stakeholders thought that Salesforce was the best fit, primarily because of its flexibility.” 

Laying the Foundation for a Single Source of Truth with Education Cloud

UMBC had some familiarity with Salesforce prior to partnering with Cloud for Good, utilizing the TargetX prospect module tool.  That tool, however, was relegated to only a small group of campus team members that primarily used it as a contact management system.  Phase one of Cloud for Good’s implementation began by laying a foundation for undergraduate admissions on Salesforce, specifically leveraging the power of the Education Data Architecture (EDA) and migrating UMBC’s existing TargetX prospect module tool into the Education Cloud. 

Assessing the Effectiveness of Marketing Efforts

Cloud for Good also helped establish more powerful communication journeys utilizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud to streamline recruitment and admission communications. 

“The impact was more than just the technology change. The whole concept of marketing automation and the integration with Salesforce has created a different way of thinking,” said Foelster.  “Before, we had lists that we would buy, and we would send out communications using those lists, but we weren’t tracking the effectiveness of those lists.  Being able to assess the effectiveness of our communications and be smarter with our marketing dollars is something we can do now with Marketing Cloud that we weren’t able to do previously.  The vision is that all of our communications, and the way we’re communicating, with our constituents from prospect to admit to matriculated student to alumni will all be done in Salesforce.” 

Unifying all communications and interactions between the university and the student throughout the entire student lifecycle has allowed UMBC to capture more information about students and their interests.  This is particularly valuable to the university for scouting prospective students and understanding what they’re looking for in a college experience.  It also applies to the current student as they naturally progress through their UMBC student lifecycle.  Whether through engagement with clubs and groups at the university or seeking assistance with tutoring programs, the more information UMBC has gathered in Salesforce about the student, the more they can cater to their interests and create a better college experience.   

Nurturing the Recruitment and Admissions Pipeline

Marketing Cloud has also helped the university gather a general idea of how individual students like to be serviced and what they want to learn.  As Foelster puts it, “The idea is that, as somebody graduates, we know enough about them that we can have targeted marketing and start recruiting that lifelong learner to come back and take continuing education classes with UMBC or even come back and take graduate courses based on their performance as an undergraduate.” 

The core undergraduate recruitment and admissions CRM with communication being managed through Marketing Cloud has provided UMBC with a more efficient process of recruiting prospective students, expanding opportunities to more effectively reach the right candidates, and retaining students through continued education.  “We’re realizing some increases in efficiency,” expounded Foelster, “For the first time in a long time, we’re able to see if the lists we’re buying are even valid.  Instead of buying a list of 100K names, maybe we buy a more targeted or segmented list based on the results we’re seeing in Marketing Cloud: who is actually checking emails, who is clicking through our correspondence, etc.”   

All in all, Salesforce marketing technology is changing the way UMBC thinks about recruitment and admissions while simultaneously helping the university to understand what makes for effective recruitment opportunities through campaigns, targeted marketing, and using quantifiable marketing data from those campaigns to make more informed, data-backed decisions.   

An Ever-Evolving Vision

Building on the initial implementation phase, Cloud for Good is currently engaging UMBC to bring their Graduate and Division of Professional Services into the same instance of EDA to create a single source of truth for recruitment and admission processes.  In addition, UMBC and Cloud for Good are transitioning all university events to the Salesforce-friendly product Blackthorn, enhancing the power of the Education Cloud with the event and orientation management tool, and employing Cloud for Good’s proprietary Assignment Accelerator to help align Admissions Officers and Applications.   

In the next phases of UMBC’s Salesforce vision of a Connected Campus, UMBC will be incorporating Service Cloud to improve services across the university, specifically in how they interact with students and unique cases ranging from academic help, advising, or questions during orientation. 

With each subsequent phase and new addition to their suite of Salesforce solutions, UMBC takes one step closer to fully realizing their vision of a Connected Campus through Salesforce, bettering the lives of all students, staff, and faculty along the way.  “Cloud for Good has helped UMBC implement technology that has changed the way we think about our systems, and we’re excited to continue building upon this foundation of technology.” 

To learn more about the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, visit their website at umbc.edu.  


Written by Blake Becker

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