An Economic, Practical, and Customer-Centric Solution
When International Schools Partnership (ISP) was getting off the ground, they knew its admissions process and marketing campaigns would be complex, and a customer-centric follow-up would be essential to their success.
Group Head of Digital Marketing & Head of Marketing–Middle East Alicja Pistilli was overseeing and guiding ISP’s global digital marketing teams to implement a system with digital infrastructure. The objective was to ease the process by which internal staff recruit students and onboard new schools into their rapidly growing network. The overall vision was to be more customer-centric and deliver an improved online customer experience.
Alicja knew that a powerful, fully integrated CRM would be critical to driving complex workflows for global campaigns. She helped the leadership search for a solution.
Although she had experience with Salesforce and other CRM providers, she did not recommend them for ISP due to modular pricing and licensing structures as well as complex onboarding processes.
Alicja says, “HubSpot was a much more economical, practical option for us. Plus, the way they add new features and keep up with trends demonstrates that their approach and company culture is focused on being customer-centric and innovative.”
Couldn’t Test Proof of Concept with SFDC
One of the biggest factors in ISP’s purchase decision was HubSpot’s ability to test features before you commit.
Alicja says, “With any platform that you’re bringing to a corporate organisation, you need to prove that it works. We had to persuade the heads of IT and the CFO to sign off.”
Knowing that the right CRM could be a game-changer for their rapid global growth, she explored HubSpot thoroughly.
“We tested the product in my region (the Middle East) and then expanded to other regions. We collected feedback from everyone, and finally the company accepted HubSpot as a core system.”
Leveraging HubSpot as a Full CRM
Alicja says, “We wanted to look at everything we could do to maximise the system, to make it better and easier for all our teams to use.”
Her goals included building funnels to generate and nurture leads, improving campaign performance, gathering more powerful data insights, and training international teams to make the most of workflow automations to improve the experience for our staff and parents.
Engaging Professional Services for the Global Rollout
With campaigns that needed to connect over 50 locations into one unified view while delivering localised content for 18 countries, ISP’s implementation was going to be intensely complex.
Alicja says, “We started building the sales funnel, and I needed help. So, we engaged with HubSpot consulting services, as well as Alea, a partner agency. They gave us enough information, guidance, and training to make smart decisions and expand what was possible.”
Inbound Consulting to Accelerate Strategy
ISP’s inbound consultant helped Alicja understand the extensive marketing features within HubSpot and leverage them for her goals.
Alicja says, “We communicate weekly. She answers our questions around inbound marketing strategy and has provided a lot of education to help us onboard our teams around the globe.”
Training up the ISP marketers in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas required dozens of sessions delivered virtually across dozens of time zones.
The consulting guidance was key to get ISP’s intricate workflows set up properly across all of the marketing regions.
“Our inbound consultant was instrumental in supporting the global roll-out. She frequently helped me meet with each region to support them in onboarding. We worked together to make sure all the teams were trained on ISP’s customised workflows and integrations.”
In addition to teaching best practices, Alicja and her inbound consultant have partnered on many projects so far, including setting up an automated lead nurture campaign, organising email content in numerous workflows, and customising reports to generate helpful views for the team.
She says, “We learned best practices and what can be done in the system.”
Technical Consulting to Scale Error-Free
ISP’s technical consultant guided the team in setting up automations and integrating data flows with the Marketing, Sales, and Operations Hubs.
Alicja says, “Our technical consultant was really helpful in training our CRM managers. He helps IT weekly with our integration project, and also helped me coordinate our funnel with our sales stages.”
The technical leadership proved essential for ISP’s intense scaling.
When a funnel setup error occurred during a period of rapid growth, ISP’s data reporting was hindered. But with their technical consultant at the ready, Alicja and her team were able to identify and resolve the problem.
The consultant helped ISP create a new naming structure for their sales stages, develop new workflows, and customise their reports. Now, ISP is set to grow with total confidence in their marketing data.
“The biggest thing for us was to be able to see leads and conversions at every step of the journey. I’m proud to say that we’ve got our complex funnel up and running perfectly.”
Crucial Support from a Partner Agency
ISP partners with Alea, a HubSpot Platinum Partner agency, to run their digital marketing campaigns across the Middle East.
With a solid grasp on the big picture, Alea handles many execution details for ISP, allowing Alicja to focus on the future and to continually optimise the organisation’s digital marketing processes.
Some of the projects they’ve worked on with ISP include refining their lead routing process, categorising data sources, and standardising data reporting across all regions.
Alea also played a major role when ISP changed their sales stages and needed to rename and update almost every workflow in the CRM.
Customising Integrations with Operations Hub
Alicja says, “Operations Hub enables the automations, workflows, and API elements that we need to connect our systems.”
ISP developed custom integrations to connect their MIS and finance tools to their HubSpot ecosystem.
She adds, “Automations are everything, right? From easing the process of task creation, to email auto-replies, and more, they're extremely important because they save time and money, and they improve the customer experience.”
Internal Alignment for Ultimate Success
Working with her internal team was critical, as well. Alicja collaborated with Ayushman Sarma, their ISP CRM executive, to implement new processes with stakeholders like Head of Admissions, Christina Psara.
Together, they worked to create and implement their customised sales process that allows ISP to view data like productivity and conversions, understand what's important for the education business, and strategize on elements like the student life cycle.
Valuable Insights from HubSpot Reporting
Unifying all of their worldwide regions into one view was a triumph for ISP.
Not only has it allowed Alicja and her teams to study and understand their customer journey, it also revealed actionable insights into their sales process.
“We’re able to visualise the efficiency of our staff. We know how many emails they’re sending, how many phone calls they’re making, and how many notes they’re taking.”
The visibility has helped the sales reps see how their activities impact close rates, improve their follow-up, and decrease time to close.
Scaling Over 50 Locations Around the Globe
With over 1,000 automations connecting their schools in 16 countries, ISP has grown to over 50 locations worldwide.
HubSpot’s full CRM allows them to amalgamate global performance metrics into actionable reports, break out funnels into localised content, and automate intricate workflows that are essential to their complex scaling.
The optimization and efficiencies within the system have helped ISP generate 36% more leads and up to 18% more enrolments year-on-year.
“Our leads and enrolments keep going up year by year, and we’re using the same budget. We’ve managed to lower our CPL and it’s because we can see the campaign data and optimise continually. HubSpot’s infrastructure lets us run international campaigns and keep making them better.”