New Conversica Research Reveals Higher Education Institutions Need to Improve Follow-Up With Prospective Students

Annual Sales Effectiveness Report Finds 27% of Educational Institutions Did Not Respond to Student Leads, Up From 11% Last Year

FOSTER CITY, CA—May 22, 2018—Conversica, the leader in conversational AI for business, today announced new findings from its Sales Effectiveness Report in Education. The report provides an objective analysis of how well universities are putting the “4 Ps” —promptness, personalization, persistence, and performance—into practice when following up with prospective students.

Schools Failing to Respond to Inquiries

In this third installment of Conversica’s annual Sales Effectiveness Report, educational institutions were evaluated for their inbound lead engagement efforts. Each school received an inquiry from an independent researcher who expressed interest in a specific curriculum.

The percentage of schools leaving these inbound inquiries untouched has increased over the past three years. In 2015, all the schools surveyed responded to incoming prospective student leads; in other words, 0 percent did not respond. In 2016, 11 percent did not respond, and in 2017, 27 percent did not respond. Additionally:

  • 37 percent of educational institutions made only one or two attempts to contact a lead
  • Admissions departments had an average first response time of 38 hours, compared to the 24-hour average response time of other industries
  • 8 percent of schools took longer than one week to respond to our prospective students

Nonetheless, There Are Some Improvements

It’s not all bad news, however. While schools struggled in some areas, they showed definite improvement in others:

  • 64 percent were awarded a “B” in the category of performance, meaning email delivery rates were about on-par with other industries
  • 58 percent of schools that responded by email included four or more elements of personalization, meaning their emails were likely to be opened and responded to
  • 26 percent of the schools that responded did so within five minutes of receiving the inquiry and received an “A” grade for replying within the optimal window for qualification and conversion

This was significant improvement over previous years in the latter two categories: only 9 percent of schools in 2016 received an “A” for promptness, and only 4 percent earned an “A” for personalization.

“Our annual report offers a snapshot of how educational institutions are handling leads today and how real-world execution compares with best-practice research,” said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica. “Overall, educational institutions are doing as well as or even better than other industries at lead follow-up. However, there is still obviously plenty of room for improvement, and universities would be wise to make all of the four key lead follow-up practices a priority. This is something that our AI assistants are purpose-built to accomplish.”

AI in the Admissions Department

Conversica automates the lead follow-up process with AI-powered assistants that engage every potential student in a two-way, human-like conversation. With a response rate often three to five times higher than marketing or sales emails, Conversica’s assistants significantly increase the number of quality conversations with prospective students and reduce the time the admissions department has to spend following up.

Report Availability and Methodology

Commissioned researchers submitted multiple inquiries on the websites of 866 organizations from nine industries and measured the promptness, personalization, persistence, and performance of the responses. This research was conducted over a 22-day period, using different secret shopper personas to request contact from the companies surveyed.

To obtain a copy of Conversica’s Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up in Education, visit here.

To request that your institution be included in a future report, visit www.conversica.com/4ps-assessment-request.

About Conversica

Conversica is the leader in conversational AI for business and the only provider of AI-driven lead engagement software for marketing and sales organizations. The flagship Conversica® AI Sales Assistant helps companies find and secure customers more quickly and efficiently by automatically contacting, engaging, qualifying and following up with leads via natural, two-way conversations. Used by more than 1,000 companies worldwide, Conversica’s sales assistants are built on a proven AI platform integrating natural language processing (NLP), natural language generation (NLG), and machine learning (ML) capabilities and engage prospects over multiple communication channels and in multiple languages. Recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor, Conversica is a portfolio company of Providence Equity, Kennet Partners and Toba Capital and is headquartered in Foster City, Calif.

To learn more, visit conversica.com and follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Contact:
Sara Black
Bospar
sara@bospar.com
213-618-1501

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