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How Salesforce Helped Texas Tech Increase Student Enrollment and Boost Graduation Rates

Texas Tech University had a challenge: how could the institution grow from 30,000 to 40,000 students while maintaining a personal connection to each and every student? Using CRM Analytics, Marketing Cloud, Experience Cloud, and Salesforce for Education, built on the Einstein 1 Platform, Texas Tech has reached its enrollment goals while using data and trusted AI to maintain, and even improve, student relationships. 

Here, Texas Tech’s Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success Mitzi Lauderdale explains how Salesforce helped increase student enrollment 12% from 2016 to 2023, and then double down on data-driven engagement strategies to go even further, boosting four-year graduation rates to 49% over five years.

Students expect personalization in every aspect of their lives — including academia

  • “Students today want a personalized university experience, and expect their institution to know them and their individual interests, needs, and desired education path,” Lauderdale explained.
    • “This isn’t surprising when you think about students’ day-to-day lives and how they interact with other organizations. Retailers, for example, know who their customers are and what they’re interested in, what they want to purchase, and what services they want to receive. They then tailor their experience to that individual.”
  • “Texas Tech is taking that same approach to our university experience — which is not something every school is doing,” Lauderdale said.

Texas Tech unifies its data with Salesforce to create a single source of truth

  • “Before Salesforce, a lot of the data we had was in the brains of the people that had the relationships with the students,” Lauderdale admitted.
    • “One of the reasons we came to Salesforce was to create a single source of truth for each student that would allow us all to see a full picture of what a student is experiencing, what their needs are, and how to best meet those needs.”

One of the reasons we came to Salesforce was to create a single source of truth for each student that would allow us all to see a full picture of what a student is experiencing, what their needs are, and how to best meet those needs.

Mitzi Lauderdale, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success at Texas Tech

A strong data foundation fuels AI-driven insights to individualize student support

  • Raider Success Hub is a Texas Tech student portal that runs on Salesforce for Education, is hosted on Experience Cloud, and was implemented by Salesforce Professional Services
  • The hub helps drive better student outcomes and improve retention by bringing together a support team across all parts of the institution – academic advisors, librarians, the writing center, financial aid advisors, and more. 
  • “With Raider Success Hub,” Lauderdale said, “students have access to the resources they need while allowing us, as faculty and administrators, to work as a unified team. We pull in specific student information to see where they are struggling. From there, a student success specialist reaches out to offer help.”
  • Texas Tech also leverages CRM Analytics – a Salesforce tool to help businesses consolidate data from various sources and offer intelligent, AI-driven insights – to tap into data to individualize student support, to increase retention and graduation rates. 
  • Lauderdale emphasizes the institution’s commitment to integrating AI into its larger technology vision: “We see AI as an opportunity to augment the work that people are already doing by adding a new layer of organization and analysis. In particular, when blending AI with the human connection, we will be able to move forward more quickly than we’ve ever been able to.”
  • Marketing Cloud — which leverages AI and data to elevate communication — has helped Texas Tech get a better understanding of its audiences and generate segmented, personalized emails tailored to individual interests and preferences. During a re-enrollment campaign, Texas Tech increased its unique email click through rate by 58% with Marketing Cloud.

Custom journeys help Texas Tech drive better student engagement

  • “A major challenge in any higher ed institution is students leaving before they obtain their degrees. This is the last thing that we want. We want all our students to progress toward a degree,” Lauderdale said.
  • Texas Tech blends Marketing Cloud with CRM Analytics to address this challenge.
  • Lauderdale explained, “We use customized journeys in Marketing Cloud to engage students before they miss the enrollment window. If we know, for example, that a student is planning on re-enrolling but has indicated that they have current barriers, we’re now able to connect them with appropriate resources to remove those barriers.”
  • “We can also send a different type of communication to that student as a nudge or a reminder, indicating, ‘Remember you said that you’re planning to re-enroll? Here’s what you need to accomplish — your next steps,’” she said.

More information:

  • Learn more about Texas Tech University
  • See the latest AI innovations for Salesforce Education Cloud here
  • Learn about the future of business with CRM + AI + Data + Trust here
  • Go here for more Salesforce customer stories

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