'Chatter' Social Network Ties Into CRM System from TargetX, Makes College Recruiting More Efficient

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TargetX's Student Recruitment Manager®, a powerful CRM tool for higher education, includes Salesforce.com's Chatter Social Network, allowing admissions professionals to communicate and collaborate in real time.

The Chatter social network is bundled for free with the Student Recruitment Manager, a cloud-based CRM system provided by TargetX, a technology and consulting firm serving higher education.

College admissions offices are proving that social networking in the workplace can be good for the bottom line. As long as the network they're using is "Chatter," a kind of Facebook for employees that provides real-time communication, collaboration and document sharing.

The Chatter social network is bundled for free with the Student Recruitment Manager (SRM), a cloud-based CRM system provided by TargetX, a technology and consulting firm serving higher education. TargetX built the SRM in 2008 on the popular Force.com platform of Salesforce.com, the worldwide leader in customer relationship management and a pioneer in cloud computing.

Not only does Chatter offer admissions professionals a powerful and secure means of staying in touch and sharing information with their colleagues, it also ties into the SRM. As a result, users can easily include reports, dashboards, campaigns and other information from the CRM system in their Chatter posts.

Chatter was released by Salesforce in 2010 as a real-time collaboration platform. It sends information via a news stream, allowing users to follow coworkers and receive broadcast updates about project and customer status. Users can also form private groups and post messages on each other's profiles to collaborate on projects.

One college CRM administrator is at the center of her institution's Chatter activity, along with everything else related to the Student Recruitment Manager. She finds that the customized social network has made the admissions office more efficient and its team of recruiters more effective.

She started using Chatter early in 2011 and has established 19 groups with a total of 134 people on the network. The two main groups are an internal operations team of 25 that facilitates the admissions process in her school's administrative offices, and a student-recruiting team of 16 scattered across the United States and Canada. Other groups have been set up to tackle specific projects and functions, such as a team that works exclusively on finding housing for students.

From the beginning, members of these groups were strongly encouraged to use Chatter instead of email, including the sharing of all documents. "One of the greatest benefits of this platform is our success in keeping our email inboxes cleaner," says the administrator, who requested anonymity to prevent competitor schools from learning about a key internal process. "We have practically eliminated the evil 'reply all' button that clutters so much of our professional lives."

Instead, she explains, information is shared across the network with appropriate individuals. "People can react in real-time, ask questions, access and update documents. In short, we end up working much smarter."

Companies and organizations are quickly adopting social networking in the workplace as a way to gain an edge over competitors, according to a number of recent business articles. There are currently more than 150,000 Chatter networks.

This CRM professional was one of the first higher ed administrators to encourage the use of Chatter, which is not surprising since she works for a "forward-thinking school that is always looking for new developments in technology that make the staff more efficient."

Even so, she says, all educational institutions would benefit from a collaborative network like Chatter. "Other schools have the same challenges we do. Recruiters are always on the road, key decision-makers are spread across the campus, communication and collaboration have to take place now. A real-time network keeps people from becoming disconnected and makes processes work much smoother. I can't believe that other admissions offices are still relying on old forms of communication when things like Chatter are available."

About TargetX

TargetX is a unique higher education company that offers both technology tools and consulting services designed to help colleges recruit today's more sophisticated, web-savvy students. Founded in 1998 on the belief that colleges need to change the way they communicate with prospects and their families, TargetX has been a leader in managing change in higher education and embracing the concept of the experience in higher ed marketing.

More recently, TargetX launched an Education & Training Center (ETC) where admissions professionals can collaborate and brainstorm with colleagues and thought leaders through coursework and office retreats.

To learn more, visit http://www.targetx.com

About Salesforce

With over 100,000 customers, Salesforce.com is the world's leading cloud computing company and is pioneering the shift to the "social enterprise," which encourages organizations to embrace the social web and use it to connect with customers and prospects. TargetX chose to build its Student Recruitment Manager on the world-famous Force.com platform, which powers the Salesforce CRM tool.

One of the many benefits of the Force.com platform for users of the SRM is the ability to take advantage of enhancements developed by Salesforce as well as TargetX -- part of the appeal of a cloud-based solution. In addition, SRM users can add to the capabilities of their TargetX system through more than a thousand add-on products that address the specific needs of their office or staff -- including telemarketing, on-demand printing or deeper data analysis.

For more information, visit http://www.salesforce.com

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