Leveraging Salesforce CRM for the University of Vermont Office of Research

UVM OVPR Salesforce Success Story

Following the considerable success the University of Vermont (UVM) found using Salesforce Marketing and Service Cloud to safely and efficiently reopen their campus in the wake of COVID-19’s emergence, UVM once again engaged Cloud for Good to take their Salesforce technology to the next level by expanding their Salesforce usage.  The objective of this second phase was to develop UVM’s use of the Salesforce platform for their Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) and to UVM Extension, an outreach unit helping to improve the quality of life of Vermonters through research-based educational programs and practical information.

More specifically, the flagship land grant and top research university sought out this Salesforce CRM expansion to enable greater collaboration and insight into UVM researcher engagements with internal stakeholders and external partners.  This project also paved the way for UVM to increase their ability to report and track the effectiveness of UVM’s various research initiatives and provide more reliable client service.

Enabling UVM’s Salesforce CRM Expansion

“There was an incredible, functional motivation to implement an enabling technology with our IT partners,” said Director of Enterprise Application Services & Database Administration Rachel Seremeth.  “We have a great desire and drive to implement a solution that enables our business to fully utilize our Salesforce Clouds so that we can be more strategic with our technology.”

Research and the land grant mission are two significant components in UVM President Suresh Garimella’s institutional strategy. The continued development of UVM’s Salesforce platform is helping decision-makers develop more creative and intuitive ways of utilizing technology to empower the core strategies of the institution. “To us, our research and land grant missions are a commitment to serving Vermont communities and being engaged in our state, providing educational opportunities for the larger Vermont community,” said Alison Nihart, Strategic Implementation Specialist for UVM Extension.

The Cloud for Good-implemented Salesforce solutions that assisted UVM’s swift response to the COVID-19 crisis have helped the institution document a 99.6% vaccination rate in UVM students, opening eyes, and doors, for internal personnel to build off that success and adopt a new CRM solution.  Kevin Chu, Managing Director of UVM Office of Engagement, helped lead the implementation for the OVPR Salesforce use case, and recognized immediately that the institution’s previous Salesforce success presented a unique opportunity to create more positive transformation:

“I think those at UVM and in the greater community felt very safe as a result of our operations in responding to COVID that Salesforce supported. We’ve achieved a model for success that we can now use as a foundation to build from.  With this Salesforce CRM implementation, we’re building tools that will allow us to get closer to a vision of organizational change.  At the end of the day, it’s about serving our community, and if we’re successful, I’d like folks to think of us as the University for Vermont,” said Chu.

Centralizing Communications + Connections in the Community

Building off this Salesforce foundation, UVM has utilized the new CRM as a centralized tool allowing for more effective information sharing.  Ease of information transfer has increased internal engagement and collaboration while simultaneously creating institutional consensus on data, processes, and internal approaches to how UVM works with external partners. “Before this centralized system, folks would build their own system, whether through email, Microsoft Teams, or writing notes on paper and putting it in a filing cabinet,” further explained Chu.

This decentralization of information and data storage resulted in communication breakdowns where external partners would engage internal team members without tracking and building off previous interactions.  “We’ve now been able to build this foundation where information can be shared, get folks up to speed on new norms and best practices and effectively harness the technology now available to us,” Chu summarized.

Centralizing information across departments into UVM’s new CRM has paved the way for greater insight into engagement between researchers, internal stakeholders, and external partners.  It’s also keyed into one of UVM’s rallying taglines: “amplify our impact.”  Before the new, centralized CRM, two separate internal entities on campus could be having two different conversations with an organization or external partner without knowing the other conversation; these conversations would never merge pre-Salesforce.

Now, however, if a UVM employee adds notes to a contact or account in Salesforce, they will see any and every other employee who has interacted with that account.  This connects internal resources, connects information, and allows UVM to form unified strategies through the conversations their new technology facilitates.  “This has had a great impact on the effectiveness of our outreach and has amplified our impact in relationship building,” described Chu.

OVPR on Salesforce

Providing More Reliable Service to UVM Students + Clients

The new CRM will also prove invaluable in enhancing UVM’s ability to serve clients through new web forms and case submission directly in Salesforce.  “Salesforce has greatly helped UVM set up new organizational processes for receiving and handling inquiries coming in from our clients,” said Nihart, “We’ve created new ways to intake inquiries from a web form and created organizational processes for anyone in our organization to submit cases in Salesforce so that we can use the central platform to track progress on getting a client what they need.”

This process is a marked improvement from its predecessor that Nihart described as “diffuse and bifurcated” in how client information would flow through email, phone calls, and web inquiries.  Salesforce has dramatically improved services through its reliable centralization and will only become more impactful with time as more information is gathered and the system grows with historical data to build more reliable reports.  “Having that case management system in Salesforce is one thing we’re looking forward to,” expounded Nihart.

After multiple successful Salesforce implementations with Cloud for Good, the University of Vermont has changed their culture of technology, protected their students, faculty, and staff, and helped move both the greater Vermont community and humankind forward.  In closing, Georgia Kennedy, a CRM Administrator at UVM, remarked, “Making the decision to partner with Cloud for Good was an extremely powerful decision.”

University of Vermont Salesforce

To learn more about the University of Vermont, visit their website at uvm.edu.


Written by Blake Becker

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