Case Study: TargetX and Shepherd University

Challenges: Struggling with enrollment-related declines and a CRM that wasn’t working for them, Shepherd’s admissions office found itself overwhelmed by its archaic manual application process.

After going through an entire enrollment cycle without having a CRM, Shepherd’s Director of Admissions, Will Bell, knew they needed a new CRM tailored to their needs and goals.

Bell’s staff had to work exhaustively to fix and compensate for not having application or acceptance letter portals, unintegrated systems for texting students and event registration, and the lack of email automation to notify students of application status or acceptance. Shepherd was urgently looking for a robust CRM solution to integrate all its processes and quickly saw that TargetX could meet its goals.

Solutions: The TargetX CRM provided Shepherd University with the ability to streamline their operations and increase their student-nurture capabilities.

After signing on with TargetX, Shepherd quickly saw improvements in operations and administration. Gone are the days of time-consuming manual “clean-up” of applications before processing, and their staff handles far fewer phone inquiries because the new system sends timely status updates.

The admissions team relies heavily on the TargetX data management tool and easy-to-use dashboards to visualize data in seconds — from application counts by state to current student deposits. “Now that everything is in one place, everybody in the office is more efficient, and everything we do is seamless now and so much more informed,” said Bell.

The university also leverages TargetX to improve accessibility for underrepresented populations in the state. With its affordable in-state tuition, Shepherd is preferred among first-generation college-bound students.

Bell also noted that West Virginia has a large first-generation population, so leveraging TargetX Recruitment makes the admissions process as easy as possible for them. This helps bring in students that might not otherwise have that access to a higher education institution.

Results: A robust CRM solution that helped improve operations and increased yield – making life easier for the admissions team while helping the University reach their enrollment goals.

With the help of TargetX’s student-nurture capabilities, Shepherd has dramatically increased its funnel across the board:

  • Deposits are up 38%
  • Applications are up by almost 20%
  • Admits are up by over 15%

Bell credited these increases to TargetX-powered outbound messaging for students and their families. “Our system now offers timely automated communications and ‘smart’ acceptance letters — things that provide instant gratification for students and increase our visibility throughout the enrollment funnel.”

Bell and his team are focused on the future with TargetX. “We’re seeing many different aspects of enrollment solutions that we didn’t even consider when we first signed on. By using TargetX, Liaison has enabled us to execute high-caliber outreach, save budget, be more creative, and grow Shepherd’s reputation as a student-first university.”

Shepherd University at a Glance

  • A small public institution overlooking the Potomac River in quaint and historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia
  • Founded in 1871

TargetX Solution


Faced with enrollment-related declines, a CRM that wasn’t working for them and an overwhelmed admissions office, Shepherd University needed:

  • a robust CRM solution to integrate all its processes
  • a CRM that provided student-nurture capabilities
  • a way to make the admissions process as easy as possible for all applicant types

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