Customer Story

How do you provide premier education at scale? ASU goes cutting edge.

Learn how personalization helped ASU boost recruitment and strengthen student relationships.

Time to read: 5.24 minutes

College enrollment is down 1.1% across the United States, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. At Arizona State University, it’s up. ASU’s fall 2022 enrollment was 146,804 students strong, an increase of 9.3% from 2021.

ASU isn’t immune to the pressures facing today’s colleges and universities. Costs are rising, graduation rates have stalled, and more students are asking “Is college really the best way for me to achieve my personal goals?” The university just addressed the skeptics head on, using technology.

With Salesforce, ASU is learning exactly what motivates its applicants and students, and using that data to personalize their application and student experiences. For example, an applicant interested in medicine might receive an email about a professor who won a Fulbright to study Alzheimer’s detection. An engineering student might receive an invite to a space career fair.

“From the student perspective, the admissions process can be overwhelming,” said Lisa Pershing, a member of the Admissions Services Information Team. “Our goal is to make sure we understand their needs and how we can best enhance their relationship with ASU and get them into the right interest area at a very early stage.”

Here are four ways ASU delivers results for students and administrators alike.


“Implementing and supporting an enterprise Salesforce solution at ASU has facilitated data sharing, communication, and relevant engagement with our constituents, and all of that translates into great customer service, valuable communication, and effective, efficient processes.”

Frank Montoya, Senior Product Owner
Table of Contents
In this 2:02 minute video, learn how ASU unifies its data to modernize recruitment and address students' needs faster.

1. Unify the recruitment process to gain new insights.

ASU’s Admissions Services needed a way to unify its data, manage outreach, and boost engagement with prospective students. Sales Cloud helped admissions integrate graduate and undergraduate recruitment for its 16 colleges and schools.

ASU recruiters can now easily manage leads and nurture opportunities. With one place to view comprehensive prospect information, they can address needs on an individualized basis to deliver a seamless recruiting experience.

ASU manages more than 1.1 million leads in Salesforce. In a recent recruitment cycle, ASU had over 83,000 individual outreach recruitment calls and made more than 49,000 unique contacts.

To reach new enrollees and grow its presence in a highly competitive marketplace, ASU used Salesforce to launch online learning programs targeting undergraduates, lifelong learners, and private corporations with ASU Online and EdPlus. ASU Online has 61,572 students enrolled. These combined efforts have helped to boost enrollment 68% over 10 years.

“We use Salesforce as a rapid application development platform, and trying to tie in a CRM database, marketing efforts, and reporting on all of those efforts wouldn’t be possible with any other platform,” said Kaleb Anderson, Director, Salesforce Platform Solutions at EdPlus.


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  • Learn how Salesforce empowers administrative and academic teams to lift productivity by 12%

The Total Economic Impact™ of Salesforce for Education

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2. Create better connections with students from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Due to siloed outreach from ASU’s colleges and schools, many constituents received inconsistent messages at different stages of their student lifecycle. ASU needed a unified platform to engage prospective students, personalize the experience to constituents, and deliver efficiencies and insights for 1,500 administrators. ASU streamlined its mass email systems from 13 to one with Marketing Cloud. Now 83% of all communication by ASU is done through the platform.

The recruitment teams can now deliver highly personalized communications to prospective students using shared prospect data. Automated and dynamic content can engage highly specific audiences with targeted messaging that speaks directly to their interests. Automated messaging and journeys with Marketing Cloud can send prospective nursing students an update on nursing field-related events on campus or easy enrollment options via email.

“Marketing Cloud allows us to work at scale, increasing the volume of communications we’re sending, but also allowing us to send highly segmented, personalized messages,” said Laura Vreeland, Associate Director, Academic Enterprise Communications.

ASU Online and EdPlus use Marketing Cloud to communicate with potential students worldwide. Salesforce’s level of speed, customization, and scalability allows EdPlus to deliver impactful targeted outreach campaigns. EdPlus can constantly test and measure performance and make adjustments based on the data it collects.

ASU Online also uses Salesforce to support student success through a unique Success Coaching program that helps online students connect to on-campus services. Salesforce allows ASU to send students to the resources they need, like financial aid services, advisors, or mental health counselors.

email systems consolidated

3. Improve the student experience and increase first-year retention by 86%.

To centralize services from over 100 departments and business units, like IT and financial aid, ASU created Experience Center — using Service Cloud — to create, manage, and track more than 16 million cases within one platform.

Now students can ask questions 24/7, like “Why can’t I log into my student account” or “When will my next loan disbursement happen?” The staff appreciates the streamlined process, too.

With recent developments leveraging automation and predictive analytics, the Experience Center continues to add efficiencies, reduce time spent on manual tasks, and improve responsiveness to students’ needs. Staff think this connected experience can boost retention and improve the overall student experience.

“We’re in a much more innovative place than before — in a place where we can be more proactive than reactive,” said Jason Wiley, the Experience Center’s Operations Manager.

There’s a self-service option, too. “My ASU” offers access to 1,000+ knowledge bases and university services. The portal, built on Experience Cloud, allows students to search for answers, create cases, and provide direct assistance via chatbot.

The 24/7 accessible chatbot tool has hosted over 20,000 sessions and successfully handled 52% of the sessions alone. Through the chatbot tool, ASU has not only saved students time and energy, it has saved 1,700 hours of agent time.

service sessions handled by chatbots
hours of agent time saved

4. Connecting incoming ASU students in Slack’s Devil2Devil community.

ASU continually looks for opportunities to elevate teaching and learning for faculty and students. In 2019, ASU adopted Slack as its preferred real-time productivity tool.

From teaching assistants who are building online communities to faculty who are leading conversations for online courses, the need for Slack continues to grow with a reported 31 million messages sent in 2022.

“I love exploring new technology so it started with that, but it also came from necessity because I needed quicker communications with my TAs in the large online courses I teach,” Cara Sidman, Clinical Associate Professor, said. “That creates a connection as well, especially for online students.”

Incoming students can find their community using Devil2Devil. The private network, running via Slack, helps students acclimate before registering for their first class. Students are automatically added to channels with their fellow Sun Devils in their same academic major and campus location to find potential roommates, and receive updates and information about transitioning to ASU up to six months before their starting term.

ASU has also developed custom bots to prioritize personalized, student success. One chatbot was developed within Devil2Devil to answer questions, suggest communities, and make connections. Other chatbots are used to streamline the online students to match with their respective success coach and help drive students into the university’s learning management system.

increase in Devil2Devil engagement with Slack from previous platform over the course of 2 years
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