Skip to main content Skip to footer

A guide to the best CRM for education

Rebecca Noori 16 min read
Get started

The education sector is awash with data — from student contact details and learning analytics to operational and administrative systems, your school or college needs a way to organize this information from a single unified location.

This article unravels how a CRM enables educational institutions to collect and manage data to provide the best possible experiences for students and staff. We’ll also discuss how monday Sales CRM helps educators to automate administrative processes, streamline student recruitment efforts, improve communication, and much more.

Try monday sales CRM 

What is a CRM for education? 

Customer relationship management or CRM software enables educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities to manage relationships with students, parents, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders. It handles all aspects of the entire student lifecycle, from enrollment and academic progress tracking to fundraising management and reporting tools.

Some CRMs will integrate with other vital educational tools, such as learning management systems (LMS) and accounting software. In either case, the aim is to improve communication, efficiency, and, ultimately, student outcomes by equipping students, parents, and teachers with the necessary information.

What are the benefits of using a CRM for education?

If you’ve only ever associated CRMs with sales and marketing activities in corporate organizations, you might wonder how they’re used in the education sector. Here are some of the top benefits of using an education CRM.

1. Personalized outreach

Tracking student interactions with your website, social media, or other online platforms enables you to deliver the right information to them at the right time. For example, suppose current or potential students express interest in specific courses or majors. A CRM like monday sales CRM simplifies direct communication with departments, creating personalized content for outreach and providing the course-relevant information they seek.

A screenshot of how Leads can be viewed in monday sales CRM for education.

2. Fast responses

When a prospective student sends a message via the college website contact page or on social media, the CRM platform makes it easy for staff members to respond immediately. For example, monday sales CRM enables 72+ integrations with email software, live chatbots and other essential tools making it easy to automate messages, and set up reminders, all of which help recruiters stay in touch with interested applicants.

3. Streamlined admissions process

Your CRM platform will improve the admission process, reducing the need for paperwork, spreadsheets, and extra staff to sort through traditional applications. Individuals complete their applications on the platform and upload the required documents, resulting in a positive user experience. At the back end of your CRM, store all documents in a central location for staff to access and update applicants.

4. Improved donor engagement

A CRM manages your relationships with donors, alumni, and other stakeholders. By tracking donations and pledges, you can ensure you’ll always acknowledge and promptly thank your donors. Managing donor information also allows you to track fundraising goals and progress so you can produce reports that will help you secure more funding. With monday sales CRM, you can easily store contact details for each donor, integrate with your preferred email and meeting software, and set up templates to streamline communication with your audience.


A screenshot of monday sales CRM showing how easy it is to store communication details when using your CRM for education management.

5. Enhanced student lifecycle experience

CRM software provides benefits throughout the entire student journey — from the first class through graduation, career planning, and placement. Monitor data such as contact information, demographics, and academic progress to identify at-risk students and intervene before they drop out.

Engaging with former students also builds the donor base so you can invite those with undergraduate degrees back to graduate school or university-sponsored events. Maintaining contact with former students may also boost recruitment by encouraging them to reach out to prospective college applicants in their areas.

6. Greater understanding of pain points

An integrated CRM platform delivers a complete overview of the educational organization by combining data from admissions, student experience, advancement, and marketing.

Rather than focusing on individual pain points, your CRM will import data from multiple integrated systems to improve your understanding of your entire operations.

7. Eliminated data siloes

Instead of faculties working separately, CRMs ensure that data from respective departments is collated and available across the organization. Staff members have access to granular insights from a central dashboard which achieves transparency.

The good news is that monday Sales CRM is available to deliver all these benefits and more. Schedule a demo and discover how our feature-rich CRM platform can help your higher education institution better manage its recruitment and student lifecycle.

Try monday sales CRM

What are the main features of a CRM for education?

The features of a CRM differ depending on the vendor and the pricing package. But you can expect some of the following features as standard:

  • Student information management: including demographic information, enrollment history, academic records, and contact details.
  • Enrollment tracking: Manage the enrollment process from lead generation, application, acceptance, and enrollment.
  • Academic progress tracking: Monitor student progress, including grades, attendance, and behavioral records.
  • Communication tools: Stay in touch with students, parents, staff, and alumni using email, SMS, and other communication channels.
  • Event management: Plan open days, reunions, and fundraising events.
  • Fundraising management: Manage donations and other fundraising activities.
  • Reporting tools: Use a dashboard to gain valuable insights into operations and make data-driven decisions that support student retention.
  • Integrations with other educational systems: Connect with other software systems such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), Student Information Systems (SIS), and Finance and Accounting Systems.

The top 10 CRMs to use for education

Check out ten CRMs you can use in the education industry:

1. monday Sales CRM

A screenshot of contact details presented in the monday sales CRM which can be used as a CRM for education.

monday Sales CRM is a game-changing collaborative space that allows you to manage any department, program and student communication from absolutely anywhere. Here are some of the main features your higher education organization will benefit from:

  • Integrations: monday sales CRM integrates with 72+ third-party apps and services to act as a source of truth for your campus
  • Mobile access: the CRM includes mobile apps for iOS and Android devices for easy remote access
  • User-friendly interface: explore our intuitive CRM with customizable workflows, templates, and 27 available views

Drawbacks: monday sales CRM is a powerful way to manage all your faculty relationships, from staff and contractors to event partners and educational influencers. To maximize results, it pays to establish a strategy and best practices to successfully manage your data.

Price: monday sales CRM has a variety of pricing plans to suit your needs:

  • Basic: $36/month/3 users with annual billing
  • Standard: $51/month/3 users with annual billing
  • Pro: $84/month/3 users with annual billing
  • Enterprise: Contact sales for pricing

More details on monday sales CRM pricing here

G2 rating: monday sales CRM achieves a high score of 4.7 out of 5 on G2’s software review platform.

Sign up for a free trial below to start streamlining your institution.

Try monday sales CRM

2. Salesforce Education Cloud

A screenshot of the Salesforce Education Cloud CRM for education.

Salesforce Education for Cloud sits on top of the regular Salesforce CRM. It offers a range of capabilities for schools, including:

  • Student and faculty management: support your departments in achieving digital transformation by migrating to a cloud-based management platform
  • Engagement tools: gain insights into current and prospective student engagement to power your campaigns and improve the education lifecycle
  • Education Data Architecture: create a seamless way for students to stay connected to college life

Drawbacks: Although the CRM is built for educational organizations, G2 reviews highlight that the cost per license is expensive, making it a challenge for educators and schools to use.

Price: Contact the vendor directly for a customized quote and product demo.

G2 rating: Salesforce for Education has an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 on G2’s software review platform.

3. HubSpot CRM

A screenshot showing Hubspot CRM for education.

HubSpot is a feature-rich CRM with free plans available which might suit small schools or departments on a tight budget. The software includes:

  • Email tracking: monitor open rates and engagement to direct your outreach efforts
  • Marketing automation: streamline your campaign workflows by integrating your CRM with third-party sales and marketing tools
  • Meeting scheduling: arrange everything from 1:1s to faculty meetings from your dashboard

Drawbacks: The CRM only has limited customization available for its interface, reporting, and analytics features.

Price: HubSpot’s platform is free to use, with premium upgrade options available. The Marketing Hub Starter plan costs $50 per month, including HubSpot branding removal, and mobile optimization. The most expensive plan is the Marketing Hub Professional which costs $800 per month, includes more robust security, reporting, and content features.

G2 rating: HubSpot scores 4.4 out of 5 on G2’s software review platform which is 0.3 lower than the score for monday sales CRM.

4. Element 451A screenshot showing Element 451 CRM for education.

This all-in-one CRM platform aims to support college admissions pros in achieving their enrollment goals. The main features of Element 451 include:

  • Personalized marketing: tailor your campaign by segmenting your messages depending on your target audience
  • Analytics: collect valuable data insights to understand engagement and user trends
  • Integrations: the platform aggregates data from several channels and platforms to create a unified enrollment process

Drawbacks: Users mention that the platform frequently rolls out updates to patch up ongoing problems.

Price: Access to Element 451 starts from $20k per year and corresponds with the number of enrolled students on the academic register.

G2 rating: Element 451 hasn’t yet achieved a score on G2 due to low review numbers.

5. Zoho CRM

A screenshot showing Zoho CRM for education.

Zoho CRM offers an Educational Sector feature that users may activate to manage their student data. It includes:

  • Lead and contact management: store student, staff, and donor contact information in a central location
  • Forecasting: use pipeline tracking to plan resources and admission figures across your organization
  • Social media integrations: connect your CRM with third-party social platforms to manage student engagement data

Drawbacks: Keep in mind that the Educational Sector is an optional feature of the standard CRM, so you may be paying for more tool than you need.

Price: Zoho CRM offers a free version for three users. Premium plans start from $14 per user, per month for the Standard plan, and $23 per user, per month for the Professional plan.

G2 reviews: Zoho CRM achieves 4.0 out of 5.0 on G2’s software review platform which is 0.7 lower than monday sales CRM.

6. Slate CRM

A screenshot of Slate's CRM for education.

Slate is a CRM that handles admissions and enrollment cycles in educational institutions. Its main features include:

  • Communications and outreach: enable connections with your audience using text messaging, email, voice, social media, and print communications
  • Marketing automations: send sequential communications when individual records meet your trigger criteria
  • Data and analytics: populate meaningful statistics about your leads and students for tracking, reporting, and predictions
  • AI Chatbot and Live Agent chat: guide prospective students through the admissions process with immediate support. Staff may also connect to answer incoming questions in real-time.

Drawbacks: Slate users highlight that the platform isn’t intuitive, and uses a lot of jargon. The level of customer service can also vary, depending on whether you’re chatting with a bot or a human agent.

Price: A license for Slate CRM starts at $30,000, but the vendor highlights the average client will pay $50,000 per year.

G2 rating: Slate enjoys a solid 4.4 out of 5 rating on G2’s software platform, but this is 0.3 lower than monday Sales CRM.

7. TargetX

An illustration of the TargetX CRM for education.

TargetX is a CRM suite designed to manage the entire student lifecycle. The platform is a good fit if you’re interested in obtaining better insights about student success and improving your enrollment process. Its out-of-the-box tools include:

  • TargetX Recruitment: power your admissions process with CRM functionality tailored to higher education
  • TargetX Retention: redesign the student experience using inbuilt success initiatives to improve retention
  • Community College: recruit and support students throughout their learning journey
  • TargetX Insights: generate data insights to drive ROI across your student lifecycle

Drawbacks: User reviews mention that TargetX interface is disjointed and hard to navigate. In particular, the ease of setup score for this platform is 5.6 out of 10, according to G2. This is significantly lower than the average of 8.2 for tools focused on admissions and enrollment management.

Price: Contact the vendor to obtain a product demo and a customized quote for your educational organization.

G2 rating: TargetX achieves a 3.9 score out of 5 on G2’s software review platform. This is 0.8 lower than monday Sales CRM’s score of 4.7.

8. Zendesk for Education

A screenshot of Zendesk's CRM for education. Zendesk for Education is a component of the Zendesk CRM, which is focused on helping schools adapt to remote learning and other changing features of the educational landscape. Its main features include:

  • Connection communication channels: including email, chat, phone, and social media
  • 24/7 data access: create a support center with FAQs, knowledge base articles, announcements, and more
  • Automations: collaborate with staff, teachers, and students, using automated workflows that keep conversations running smoothly

Drawbacks: Users flag that the interface is challenging to get to grips with, and customer service is lacking.

Price: Access Zendesk from $19 per agent, per month when billed annually. A free trial is available to get started.

G2 rating: Zendesk has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 on G2’s software review platform. This is 0.4 lower than the score for monday Sales CRM.

9.  Keap

A screenshot of the Keap CRM for education.

Keap is a CRM aimed at small businesses who want to automate their sales and marketing processes. Its features are valuable to higher education facilities that need to manage their enrollment and admissions cycles. These include:

  • Automated lead capture: collect prospective student data from landing pages, contact forms, and social media channels
  • Accessible storage: keep your data in a central location and access it from the Keap desktop or mobile app
  • Segment contacts: personalize your communications by setting up automation triggers based on student data and activity

Drawbacks: Keap is designed predominantly for power users and there is a steep learning curve involved when getting started. Customers may feel they need to buy one of the vendor’s training packages to make the most of the CRM.

Price: Keap offers two pricing packages: Pro starts at $149 per month and Max starts at $199 per month, both billed annually. The main difference between the two is that Pro is for 2 users and 1,500 contacts, increasing to 3 users and 2.500 contacts in the Max plan.

G2 rating: Keap receives a 4.2 score out of 5 on G2’s software review platform. This is 0.5 lower than monday Sales CRM’s overall score.

10. Pipedrive

A screenshot showing Pipedrive CRM for education management.

Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM based on activity management. It’s ideal for handling tasks related to school finances, applicants, and enrollment. The CRM boasts:

  • Advanced privacy and security settings: crucial for data sensitivity
  • Mobile access: connect to your CRM on-the-go
  • Pipeline tracking: Kanban-style management makes it easy to track processes like admissions

Drawbacks: Users report tech glitches and stability issues which sometimes prevent access to the CRM. This is a problem for schools and colleges who need to view and manage their data 24/7.

Price: Access to Pipedrive starts from $14.90 per user, per month when billed annually for the Essential pricing plan. There are three other pricing plans: the Advanced plan starts from $24.90, the Professional plan from $49.90, and the Enterprise plan from $99 per user, per month, also billed annually.

G2 rating: Pipedrive scores 4.2 out of 5.0 on G2’s software review platform, which is 0.5 lower than monday Sales CRM’s score.

Grow your educational institution with monday Sales CRM

monday Sales CRM enables your staff to provide a consistent learning experience for your students while offering continuing support for those alums who have already completed their time with you. Key features of our powerful platform include:

  • Cross-department collaboration: Our centralized dashboard allows department heads and staff to exchange ideas, tasks, and assign responsibilities. Use a range of board views such as Kanban, Calendar, or Gantt Chart, each offering the transparency you need to stay on top of workloads.

An image of an educator collaborating with multiple faculty members using a CRM for education.

  • Integrations: Connect with 72+ solutions from Slack to Gmail to Microsoft Teams, so you never miss a beat. Import content, manage communications, and customize workflows, so they’re optimized for your department.

An image of an educator with access to multiple third-party apps using a CRM for education.

  • Automations: Enhance your communication and outreach methods by setting reminders to support timely communications and automate messages to aspiring students, faculty members, and corporate partners.

An image of an automated kickstart in Gmail triggered by a CRM for education.

  • Pipeline tracking: Manage admission processes, marketing campaigns, term schedules, and more from your CRM. Understand the relationship between each and receive status change notifications to understand what’s happening and when.

Streamline your admissions process with multiple other pipelines using your CRM for education.

monday sales CRM offers these features and many more. Explore them for yourself by signing up for a free trial below.

Try monday sales CRM

Frequently asked questions

What is a student CRM?

Student CRMs automate application and enrollment processes and keep institutions engaged with applicants and students. A student CRM makes planning and executing events easy and provides an organized way to accept registrations, track attendance, and manage budgets. Keeping all data in a single platform allows administrators and other stakeholders to use the information for marketing automation, recruitment, engagement, and retention.

What is the best CRM for education?

The best CRM for education depends on the needs of your institution. Popular options like monday Sales CRM have features to help educational institutions communicate with applicants and students, track admissions and graduation rates, manage alumni relations, and improve student engagement.

Is CRM effective in educational marketing?

Yes, by leveraging data and insights gathered through a student CRM, universities can create tailored marketing campaigns that are efficient and cost-effective. A CRM platform can also automate processes that make reaching out to applicants easier and keep them engaged throughout admissions.

Choosing the right CRM for your educational institution

Selecting the perfect CRM for your institution requires an in-depth understanding of your unique goals and how they match up with the features of your CRM. monday sales CRM offers a comprehensive set of features to help you easily manage applications, admissions processes, student engagement, and alumni relations. As a bonus, faculties, and students using monday in the classroom are also eligible to join our academic partnership program and gain free seats for their students. Why not sign up today for a free demo?

More CRM industries: CRM for non-profits, CRM for charity, CRM for doctors, HIPAA compliant CRM

The information provided in this article is accurate and up-to-date at the time of publication. Changes and updates in the business operations, policies, or any other relevant factors may occur after publication and we encourage readers to verify any information directly.
Rebecca Noori is an experienced freelance writer who specializes in writing and refreshing long-form blog content for B2B SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you'll find her knee-deep in phonics homework and football kits, looking after her three kids!
Get started