Kaplan

 

50%

approx reduction in cost per lead

 

Kaplan Singapore is delivering 21st-century student experiences with Salesforce and MuleSoft

Kaplan Singapore is a multiple-award-winning private education institution that is adopting best-in-class applications to improve the student experience and remain relevant in a rapidly changing market.

As Singapore’s leading private education institution, Kaplan Singapore enables around 30,000 students to follow their passion every year via more than 550 academic programmes, professional certifications and training courses that span a wide range of industries. 

Kaplan Singapore is serious about delivering the best possible student outcomes, and the organisation is using an innovative approach to technology to drive a genuinely 21st-century student experience. 

“It’s very important for us to keep updating the student experience, because young people tend to lead new technology adoption,” says Alan Lam, Regional IT Program Director at Kaplan Singapore. “To understand their needs, we need to communicate on the channel they are most comfortable with and synergise those insights with our internal teams.”

 

Data at a price

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Kaplan Singapore developed an in-house student management platform and went to an external vendor to plug in a CRM system. However, when Lam joined the organisation, he was surprised to find the vendor charging Kaplan for access to its own data. 

“This caused a very big problem for us,” says Lam. “Potential students may take six months to two years to compare options and submit an application. So the data we collect along that timeline is very important for us to use to maintain that engagement. For example, we might want to tell the lead about new programs coming up that might be relevant to them. 

“However, our CRM vendor had locked in that data and we had to pay for every extraction. This was very costly and came with lots of restrictions. Using this legacy system for a long time contributed to a resistance to change.” 

While Lam wanted to retain Kaplan’s custom developed student management platform, he needed a solution that would provide much better access to data, with seamless data flow between applications and the central platform. 

He also points out that leads source tracking wasn’t clear on the legacy CRM system. Salesforce solves this problem for Kaplan with clearer analytics.

Best-in-class connections

Another solution was the MuleSoft Anypoint platform. MuleSoft is used to connect SaaS applications with the central student management platform, and gives Lam and his team the flexibility to integrate best-in-class applications. 

“We brought in a best-in-class technology strategy, and that led us to Salesforce,” he explains. “We chose Sales Cloud for our student contact management and Marketing Cloud for our marketing automation. And we use MuleSoft to conveniently transfer data between Sales Cloud, the in-house management system, online application and our mobile app.” 

“For example, we are using Sales Cloud as our master data reference to understand which programs are most advisable for which student. This in turn becomes a source of data for our custom platform and is easily transferred through MuleSoft. 

“It essentially gives us the flexibility to adopt best-in-class applications for every function, and our in-house system architect uses MuleSoft to connect all the data to our central student management platform.” 

The results have been impressive. According to Lam, Salesforce uses clearer analytics to deliver better insights into the ROI of marketing campaigns. 

“Now, with Salesforce, we can see which marketing campaigns are providing the best leads. That has approximately halved our cost per lead, and of course we no longer have to pay for data extraction so there are essential savings there too. While our conversion rate is not a like-for-like comparison due to market changes, we’d certainly be less prepared to tackle external challenges without Salesforce and MuleSoft.”

The power of predictive analytics

Data insights are also driving more than improvements in sales lead management and marketing ROI. Kaplan’s student mobile app, Kaplan360, has a 98 per cent adoption rate, and the organisation is using predictive data analytics to directly improve student performance. 

“We can use data analytics to identify the types of students who may be at risk of failure, and then use the mobile app to try to increase their engagement,” says Lam. “At the other end of the scale, we can identify potential high performers and ensure we are keeping them challenged. 

“Chat integration and messaging is also enabling our sales consultants to answer questions in a way that is relevant to our customers’ needs,” he says. 

“We face the continuous challenge to provide something that is relevant to our diverse audience. Achieving that is very much about understanding their needs and improving our in-class experience in line with those needs. 

“To do so, we need the flexibility to quickly adapt to changing customer expectations, and Salesforce and MuleSoft give us the ability to keep developing that muscle.”

 

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