Longwood University Takes Itself to the Next Level with TargetX
Challenges: Longwood University didn’t have the technology support to take admissions and enrollment to the next phase
In 2017, Longwood University was ready to take itself to the next level, but it didn’t have the technology infrastructure to support major growth. Its small admissions team was working really hard—harder than they should have been.
“Without the technology to support us, we were working hard, but not smart,” says Shannon Nusbaum, associate director of data. The team had data in multiple places and spent a painstaking amount of time moving it manually between systems. For example, Nusbaum would pull application information from one system to load it into another, only to spend hours cleaning up the data because it didn’t transfer well. They lost hours that could have been used building deeper relationships with prospects.
When Dean of Admissions Jason McNair-Faulk joined the team, he recognized the need for a new CRM right away. “We needed to support the university’s desire for growth, but knew we were not hiring more staff. Therefore, strong technology was the solution to work more efficiently with the same amount of team members.”
Longwood also needed an online application that they could control and customize, as needed. At the time, any application changes had to go through an external process that left Longwood unable to be nimble.
Events were also top of mind.
“Typically, students who attend our Open House events are 3-4 times more likely to attend,” explains McNair-Faulk. “We needed technology to implement easy RSVP, tracking, reminders, communication, and reporting to deliver more impactful event experiences.”
McNair-Faulk was familiar with the tools and capabilities that TargetX offered. He’d used the Recruitment Suite in a previous role at the University of North Texas at Dallas and was impressed by its capabilities, support, and continuous improvements and updates. He immediately suggested that Longwood bring TargetX to campus.
Solutions: TargetX Recruitment Suite and Online Application deliver student (and staff) delight
TargetX guided Longwood into the 21st-century, providing a one-stop, centralized command system for the recruitment cycle, ensuring student delight from start to finish. Now, data is all in one place. Days aren’t lost to manual movement and data clean-up. Filing cabinets full of paper files are a thing of the past. With TargetX, Longwood has all of its data at its fingertips, with the ability to easily build dynamic reports and generate robust dashboards to analyze the success of new admissions and enrollment initiatives. Nusbaum comments that her job is now a “totally different ballgame.”
She adds, “Our VP asks hard questions. In the past, I’d dread our meetings because I knew I wouldn’t be able to find the data she needed, and it would take me two weeks to gather and analyze it. Whereas now, I can have it within 20 minutes!”
Longwood launched its mobile-first TargetX Online Application in 2017 with the customizations they’d always craved and the ability to proactively and reactively make changes quickly. For example, when COVID-19 struck, the nursing department decided to implement a testing waiver. In the past, adding that waiver option to the application would have been a heavy lift. “I would have to email our application vendor and wait a good two months for this small change, and I’d be charged for it. With TargetX, I updated the card and added the question in less than 5 minutes,” says Nusbaum.
Before TargetX, Longwood was unable to optimize event opportunities. For instance, they were sending event reminders via a mail merge in Outlook and in a one-off capacity that didn’t allow for message differentiation. Now, TargetX does all the work with customized, automated reminders and follow-ups.
“Getting people to campus is really important for us,” says McNair-Faulk. “With TargetX, whether our events are on campus, in a prospect’s home city, or at a high school, we have a very targeted way of reaching out to students and getting them excited about our events.” That excitement is paying off with increased attendance.
Results: Longwood realizes dramatically improved event attendance and application numbers with TargetX
The implementation of TargetX at Longwood resulted in improved team efficiency, increased event attendance, lightning-fast turnaround on admissions decisions, the ability to build meaningful relationships with prospects, and more student applications.
McNair-Faulk explains how TargetX made enrollment decisions quick and seamless, “Before TargetX, our turnaround time for a completed application with a decision was approximately 21 days. Now we can turn around an application decision in 72 hours. We could do it even faster if we wanted to. That’s true customer service.”
Improved customer service and student delight translates into increased event and application numbers. Longwood’s 2017 Open House had only 90 students in attendance, while the most recent Open House had nearly 1,000. Longwood largely credits this success to its ability to seamlessly create, manage, and execute next-level events with TargetX. In the same time period, overall student applications increased from 4,867 to 6,704.
TargetX empowers the Longwood team to work smarter, not harder, says McNair-Faulk. That’s paying dividends in event registrations and application submissions.