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What Can Salesforce Do for Education?

Salesforce technology is the engine of innovation for over 150K companies across industries and sectors.  For the education space, specifically, Salesforce has revolutionized the way campuses are connected through their technology.  This revolution has provided institutions with a 360 degree view of their faculty, students, parents, alumni, and donors, which has helped usher in a new era of virtual learning, remote instruction, and digital engagement.  These solutions provide best-in-breed support for recruitment and admissions, advancement, learner success, and student support staff to empower learners and an entire campus through one integrated CRM.  

Cloud for Good provides Salesforce implementation services for institutions looking to modernize their platform to meet the ever-changing needs of students, staff, and faculty.  In this blog, I’m going back to the basics to illustrate what exactly Salesforce’s many clouds can do for customers in the education space.  

To understand the depth and breadth of Salesforce’s offerings for institutions, we must first understand the Salesforce Customer 360 approach.  This methodology is built on the idea that institutions should have a complete view of every learner and alumnus with digital-first engagements across each lifecycle.  Simply put, the learner, instructor, or alumnus is put at the center of all Salesforce technology implementations across several clouds. 

Salesforce Capabilities

We hear a lot about how Salesforce’s Clouds can help businesses sell, market, and service, but what can they do for educational institutions?

Sales Cloud + Education Cloud – Improve Recruitment & Admissions

Using Sales and Service Cloud with the Education Data Architecture (EDA) and the Cloud for Good Recruitment and Admissions Accelerator, institutions can create a connected campus experience that benefits recruitment & admissions efforts. Being able to store all prospective student data in one location helps recruitment & admissions officers receive the most up-to-date information and pull that data from a cohesive system of engagement. This will provide prospective students with a consistent, data-backed experience no matter who they speak to on the recruitment & admissions team. The open and flexible framework of EDA also works to break down departmental silos between Admissions Offices, Student Services, and Academic Departments to create a collaborative environment for all sides of campus that impact recruitment & admissions efforts.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been able to migrate from TargetX into a custom EDA environment for recruitment & admissions that is compatible with’s new Admissions Connect tool. Additionally, their CRM now comes equipped with an integration to their Student Information System and is ready to manage every business need for undergraduate and graduate admissions, including an online application via Experience Cloud, application review, and live chat from UAB websites with data captured in the CRM, 1:1 text messaging between recruiters and students, marketing automation powered by Marketing Cloud, and so much more.

This solution has caught the eye of Salesforce itself, earning a nomination for the Excellence in Recruitment & Admissions Innovation award at the upcoming 2021 Education Summit. Alongside the use of Cloud for Good’s Recruitment & Admissions Accelerator, UAB is building on the foundation of Salesforce and adding key, high-impact functionality across the institution.

“The Cloud for Good family has welcomed The University of Alabama at Birmingham with open arms since partnering up in early 2020.  The entire Cloud for Good team has been fantastic to work with.  All team members are true experts in their field and have been extremely patient and helpful in implementation for Recruitment & Admissions on the Salesforce Platform.” 

Evan Thrailkill, Director of Digital Strategy 

Sales Cloud + Nonprofit Success Pack – Enhance Advancement Efforts

Sales Cloud is the top growth platform for digital sales available today. Its ability to automate operations helps businesses manage leads, curate pipelines, and achieve sales success. Another way we have assisted educational institutions in utilizing Sales Cloud is through our Advancement Accelerator. This Accelerator sits on top of Sales Cloud and the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and can assist institutions in handling everything from major and planned giving to engaging alumni and other constituents more strategically through greater visibility on their interactions and relationships with their campus. The magic happens when we connect the information from Student Information Systems to your fundraising, allowing institutions to see and use alumni information paired with fundraising information to make informed decisions.

Salesforce native products like Elevate, featuring built-in Giving Pages and Payment Services, and Accounting Subledger, which ensures finance gets the key giving data they need, have helped make the NPSP a go-to advancement solution. By leveraging NPSP, institutions benefit from a single source of truth for a lower cost of ownership, quicker time to value, and greater support through the larger Salesforce community.

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary migrated from Raiser’s Edge onto Salesforce in order to better track and manage their donors, families, churches, and constituents within a configurable, cloud-based environment.

”Being able to access the system from anywhere is a massive change. It’s hard for me to imagine doing what we’re able to do now, even two years ago. I just don’t think it would have been feasible.”

Brent Graber, Director of Information Technology

Marketing Cloud – Create Engaging Student Journeys

It has never been more important to reach students, parents, alumni, and donors where they are, and there’s never been a more versatile product to facilitate that need than Marketing Cloud. Salesforce has packed Marketing Cloud with an expansive suite of tools designed to spread institution messaging effectively and efficiently. Marketing processes can be automated across email, mobile, and social, and continually inform advertising through the cloud’s in-depth analytics. Connecting these various marketing channels provides institutions with an omnichannel approach to constituent engagement, enhancing donor experience, satisfaction, awareness, and even boosting recruiting efforts.

St Francis College Salesforce

St. Francis College (SFC) embraced Marketing Cloud to great effect in 2020.  Using Marketing Cloud’s subscription center to centralize data and expand the effectiveness of communications, SFC experienced their most successful enrollment period in the school’s 161-year history. 

“St. Francis College sought a solution that would nurture leads and create trackable marketing journeys for applicants. We needed to be able to send our emails quickly because we are a very events-heavy school. With Marketing Cloud, the process became quicker, more efficient, and more intuitive. I think Marketing Cloud had a lot to do with our ability to move the needle and meet our enrollment goals.”

Tearanny Street, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications

Service Cloud – IT Cases and One-Stop

Salesforce Service Cloud helps connect an institution’s customer services across communication channels through the benefit of one-stop services for students and staff. Service Cloud helps transform these interactions, whether initiated through phone, email, or AI-powered chatbots, empowering students to communicate through cases on their preferred channel(s) that are tracked and consolidated to the benefit of both the student and the service agents assigned to each case. One-stop services can be further expanded upon with the use of’s Advisor Link tool. One-stop, advising, and student life staff can manage all student interactions and support in one location by utilizing Advisor Link’s early alerts, success plans, and degree planning functionality. Service Cloud and Advisor Link help to combat summer melts and improve retention numbers by ensuring no student falls through the cracks.

The University of Vermont (UVM) implemented Service Cloud as part of a multi-phased release to help facilitate the UVM vision of a connected campus. UVM utilized Service Cloud for case management, creating a COVID-19 Information & Service Center servings as a hub for COVID communications at the institution, harnessing the power of Service Cloud to see the bigger picture of responses coming into the COVID Center, and allowing the campus to reopen safely and efficiently.

“[Service Cloud] allows us, in a very organized and structured environment, to be able to bring resources to bear on this pretty complex problem that demands more than just a shared email inbox. You need to see a bigger picture; you need to see who these people are and to understand the nature of their questions and needs; you need to know if you’re talking to someone for the first, second, or third time, and what the last person said to them. None of that was possible [before Service Cloud].”

Kevin Hytten, COVID-19 Information & Service Center Manager

Experience Cloud – Improve the User Experience

As most people have spent more time online than ever before as a result of the pandemic, the expectations of digital experiences are at an all-time high. Salesforce’s Experience Cloud leans into these expectations and even exceeds them through a customer-first experience that allows institutions to interact with students and alumni across channels. Interactive sites, apps, and portals are achievable through the Cloud, paving the way for deeper relationships between the online user and the institution through a single source of truth. With greater access to actionable data, schools can create personalized content, and engage their users in unique journeys to deepen those relationships even further.

Create value beyond making an ask by utilizing Experience Cloud to engage alumni and donors.  With Cloud for Good’s templated acceleratorinstitutions can empower alumni and donors with a self-service portal where they can pull old tax receipts, see their giving history, update their information, register for events, engage with the institution, and each other, and more in one secure location.

Pardot – Drive Results Through Marketing Campaigns

Pardot is another marketing automation solution from Salesforce that helps empower marketing and communications teams. Pardot has traditionally been considered a B2B solution due to its ability to increase lead generation and provide lead scoring. Institutions are loving Pardot for its deep integration with Salesforce Sales Cloud (as well as EDA and NPSP) and the user-friendliness of the tool. Lead scoring translates well to alumni giving scoring and helps rank prospects based on their inclination to give or become sustainers.

Through the implementation of the Salesforce Pardot platform, Dallas Baptist University has been able to further their program development of enrollment marketing communication. The Recruitment and Admissions department has benefitted greatly from personalized journeys created for undergraduate, non-traditional, graduate, and international prospective students. Both the Salesforce Education Data Architecture (EDA) and Pardot were leveraged to create personalized student experiences through dynamic emails and multi-channel interactions, helping to increase overall enrollment at the institution.

Commerce Cloud – Bring Your Brand and Consumers Together

Commerce Cloud is the world’s leading solution for both B2C and B2B commerce. Through a cloud-based, multi-tenant commerce platform, institutions are empowered to create intuitive, intelligent transaction experiences that unify customers and constituents across mobile, social, web, and store channels. While most for-profit businesses use Commerce Cloud to connect with shoppers anytime and anywhere, merchandising is not the only use case we have seen.

Our clients are using Commerce Cloud to sell programs and courses (i.e., check out this new Course Finder we built for MIT using B2C Commerce which was nominated for the Innovation Award at the Salesforce Education Summit), managing complex fundraising use cases (i.e., Arizona State Foundation’s fundraising commerce use case), membership management, and child sponsorship. There has never been a better time to make every interaction count and there has never been a better tool to optimize conversion funnels.

MuleSoft – Connect Back to Customer 360

MuleSoft has the innate ability to connect systems, applications, devices, and data to further Salesforce’s commitment to the Customer 360 mindset. As the #1 integration platform available today, MuleSoft helps create a consistent experience from applicant to alumnus and helps staff and faculty further their goals through digital tools that work cohesively together.

For an even more in-depth analysis of what Salesforce can help the education sector achieve, check out our free 2020 -21 State of Salesforce Report, where we surveyed institutions across North America on how they’re using Salesforce, their results, and the insights gained from their experiences.