From 2012 to 2016, the group experienced growth of more than 30%, with its Swiss student campuses now full to capacity. To meet demand, Swiss Education Group is now opening new sites further afield in other countries across the world.
To support this expansion, Swiss Education Group needed to bring greater agility and efficiency to its marketing activities. “The education sector, particularly within hospitality, has been slow to adapt digital marketing strategies; we were still sending out newsletters to potential students by post,” said Ronan Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer at Swiss Education Group. “We wanted to embrace new channels, so we could reach more prospective students in more geographies.”
As part of its move to digital, Swiss Education Group wanted to improve visibility of the entire prospect journey. “We had no way of centrally tracking leads, marketing communications, or the results achieved,” said Fitzgerald. “Our marketing team only has limited resources, and it was struggling to keep up with demand from sales.”
With Pardot, Swiss Education Group can not only digitise its marketing activities but also automate core processes. “We selected Pardot after attending Dreamforce in 2015,” said Claudio Raccanello, Director of Administration and Admissions at Swiss Education Group. “It is simple to use and integrates seamlessly with Sales Cloud, which means we can unify our sales and marketing efforts.”
Swiss Education Group can now filter and qualify all leads and prospects across all channels before they are passed to the sales team. “Time is money,” said Raccanello. “We want our sales team to focus on closing deals, not following up dead-end leads and sending emails. With Pardot, they can spend more time signing up new students.”
By improving its lead qualification capabilities, Swiss Education Group can increase its reach into new geographies, such as Nigeria, India, and Kenya. “We had to stop online advertising in certain markets, as we received too much spam,” said Raccanello. “With Pardot, the sales team only receives qualified leads from real prospects, which means we’ve been able to start campaigns in these countries again.”
Swiss Education Group’s marketing team can also nurture leads more effectively using the Salesforce solution. For example, quarterly newsletters are now sent via email to prospects that have shown an interest in its short courses. “We can now automate the distribution of digital marketing content to hundreds of recipients with minimal effort,” added Raccanello.
The success of new digital marketing strategies is easy to track via Pardot’s dashboards. For example, Swiss Education Group’s first email newsletter achieved a read rate of 28%, and resulted in more than 30 potential students completing Swiss Education Academy forms.
“With Pardot, the marketing team and senior management can see at a glance what communications have been sent out and the response rate,” confirmed Raccanello. “This provides valuable insights into the behaviour of our target audience and helps us focus our marketing resources on the most beneficial activities, maximising ROI.”
By taking a more centralised and digitalised approach to attracting new students, Swiss Education Group has transformed how sales and marketing collaborate. “With Pardot, the relationship is changing. Sales love the extra support that they now get from their marketing colleagues, and the marketing department no longer feels swamped by the demand from sales,” said Raccanello. “Now that the team have seen what Pardot can do, they’re constantly coming up with new ideas together.” These ideas include using Pardot to send follow-up emails after events and birthday wishes to leads; working with Salesforce Engage to empower the sales team to send their own marketing emails; and integrating both Pardot and Engage with Swiss Education Group’s new Student Information System (SIS). This will enable Swiss Education Group to cross-sell and up-sell to existing students more effectively, as the group will have all the information it needs in the same place.
“We’re only at the start of our digital journey, but we have already transformed how we work, how we collaborate, and how we engage with students,” said Fitzgerald. “Pardot will help us fulfil our digitalisation and international ambitions.”