Student engagement at LSE: A Salesforce story

How the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) blazes a trail in student engagement with Salesforce

A trailblazer in education equality

LSE welcomes students from over 140 countries, and with nearly half of its staff coming from outside the UK, is a truly international institution. As part of its 2020 strategy, LSE decided to enhance and adapt their widening participation (WP) programmes to ensure they continued to attract the most capable students from a wide range of backgrounds. Reaching out and engaging prospective students early on, as well as tracking every application both from widening participation programmes and general admissions, is a massive task for any university. And today, applicants and students expect a premier service and the ability to get what they want, when they want it. “As a leading institution, we need to offer our students a high-quality service both on campus and digitally,” said Mike Page, head of enterprise CRM and SRS at LSE.

Greater visibility on the prospective students & improved applicant experience

LSE’s journey with Salesforce began in the Student Marketing and Recruitment and Admissions teams with the objective to unlock deeper insights on their prospective students and deliver bespoke applicant experiences. As part of this transformation, LSE teams wanted to connect with students in a more intelligent way. As Phil Wood, marketing manager for Student Marketing and Recruitment, explained: “Our previous system didn’t support segmentation, meaning we had to adopt a blanket approach to contacting students.”

With Salesforce as a platform for engagement, LSE saw an opportunity to align its operations to provide personalised and unified experiences to their constituents. Education Cloud’s advanced segmentation capabilities enable LSE to make sure the right students receive the right information about LSE initiatives and education offerings. This has helped to increase the click-through rates for some event emails to an impressive 25%. LSE also developed a mobile app on the Salesforce platform to capture attendance data from their 200+ events a year, which attract high-profile speakers, such as former US President Bill Clinton and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. This data feeds into a 360-degree view of existing and prospective students. “Every day we’re building a clearer picture of our data and processes, which will ultimately help us work towards a truly connected campus and joined-up student experience,” said Page. Most of the school’s widening participation schemes have online application forms that feed directly into Salesforce via an AppExchange app, and keep things simple both for students and administrators. Once the application is submitted, the student gets automated updates by email and can track their progress online.

The LSE postgraduate admission teams can also easily view progress from a central dashboard and view every application thanks to a dedicated portal for admissions selectors built on Salesforce Community.

LSE’s strategic approach to student lifecycle

Next on the agenda, LSE is looking at how Einstein Discovery can help uncover deeper insights into the student journey as they continue to onboard more areas and combine more data of the many interactions their students and other constituents have across the school. What started as a CRM solution for the student recruitment and marketing team has evolved into a business enablement platform. As part of its 2030 strategy, LSE wants to deliver a digital end-to­end journey to students from prospective application right through to student success and alumni engagement. “Salesforce will help us to engage better with our students, deliver a great student experience and build lasting relationships after they’ve graduated,” said Laura Dawson, director of data and technology services at LSE.

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