Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)

Slope of Enlightenment
UMN Assessment
Doing Well
Time Frame
Less Than 2 Years
Last Updated on Sep 26, 2014

Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) that enables institutions to manage their relationships and interactions with prospective, current, and future stakeholders or "constituents." Such systems use technology to organize, automate, and synchronize contacts, activities, communications, cases, requests, and other related information about an organization's interactions with a constituent. CRM software in a higher education context frequently addresses one or more of three needs:

  1. Applications intended to identify and intervene with students at risk in their academic pursuits (retention),
  2. Applications intended to manage communication with potential students (enrollment management), and/or
  3. Applications intended to track University alumni and their interests, feedback, and contributions.

CRM systems track interactions and outcomes, producing data data that can help guide decisions. For instance, an academic advisor determining possible interventions for a struggling student could review interventions used previously with an aggregate of other students and determine determine which have had the most success.

CRM at the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota has adopted Salesforce as its enterprise CRM solution. In addition to the tradition functions of CRM (contact/activity management, cases, and campaigns), the University has configured the solution to the phases of the student lifecycle:

  1. The Student (i.e.retention-focused) solution manages student interactions, or Cases, created via phone calls, face-to-face or emails and consists of standard and customizable fields. As information is captured it can be validated based on business rules, incorporated into workflows, reported on, or routed to users with relevant expertise. Each unit defines access rules to control what users can do while a chatter function enables internal collaboration. The student solution makes use of the University's PeopleSoft system to pre-populate contact fields associated with new cases in addition to offering features such as round-robin case assignment, a waiting-room signage solution, and single sign-on.
  2. The Recruitment (i.e., enrollment management-focused) solution facilitates managing and driving the undergraduate student recruitment process. Features include email tracking, campaign management, email to case, customizable reports and views, public knowledge base, scheduling visits, batch loading of inquiries, test scores, and PeopleSoft applications. By centralizing data and interactions in the CRM, the whole team can work with prospective students and have a complete and accurate picture of the recruiting data.

The University offers CRM to colleges and departments. Interested units should contact the CRM team to discuss the application and business cases for its use.

User Stories


  • 07/26/14

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