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Marketing & Admissions Blog

What is the best CRM for schools?

Posted by Hannah on 6:50 PM on February 8, 2021

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are becoming increasingly popular with forward-thinking marketing departments within the education sector. CRM software can aid enrolment, admissions and student retention efforts, but which is the best CRM for schools?

What is a CRM system?

Customer relationship management relates to the processes put in place by an organisation to manage communications with prospective, current and past customers. In the case of the the education sector these customers are the school, college or university's prospective students, current students or alumni. 

A CRM system enables customer (student) data to be organised and stored in one central platform allowing for across department - marketing, admission, senior leadership, pastoral - access and collaboration on contact records. Clear oversight of data allows for reporting to deliver actionable insights, to help push leads (prospective families) along the (admissions) pipeline and boost conversion rates. 

CRM systems are being utilised within the education sector  - by nurseries, academies, independent schools, higher education colleges and universities as well as other training providers - and transforming the day-to-day business of admissions, marketing and alumni departments.

What education CRM systems are out there?

There are a whole host of CRM systems now on the market, many with their own industry niche. Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of some CRM systems:

  • Salesforce 
    Pros: Feature rich platform
    Cons: Expensive
  • HubSpot
    Pros: Great user experience
    Cons: Can sign up and use for free
  • Radius
    Pros: Can host a self-access portal
    Cons: Not the easiest platform to navigate
  • Freshworks CRM
    Pros: Can run and track multichannel campaigns
    Cons: Interface is easy to use


Getting started with a school CRM system

When considering which is the right CRM system for your education organisation it is first a good idea to map out the journey(s) your prospective students, donors, alumni etc take. Having clear visuals of the path they take will help to determine which departments and how many members of staff would need to have access to the school CRM system. 

Consider the data points you'd like to capture and collate on the prospects CRM contact record - previous school, entrance exam scores, siblings, year group upon entry - and whether the CRM system you are considering for your school/ college allows for these bespoke properties to be built. 

Does the CRM have the functionality to do all the tasks you'd like it to do? Is it an affordable option? Do you get access to sector specific onboarding and ongoing support for you and your team?

From working within the education sector to now working with a vast array of education providers as an education marketing agency, we understand that no two education organisations are the same. Each school, college, university has its own USP's and faces its own unique challenges in its student recruitment efforts. 

A bespoke schooling set up needs a bespoke CRM set up. 

HubGem champion HubSpot as the best CRM for schools due to its custom objects capability, allowing for a completely bespoke set up specific to each education provider. 

We've written a little bit more about customer objects in our blog post '5 ways custom objects can improve college marketing and admissions' click to read. 

Or you can book a free HubSpot for Education demo - to talk set up and strategy specific to your organisation - with one of our Education Specialist Growth Consultants by clicking the button below

Education Demo


Topics: Admissions, Colleges, Student Recruitment