Written by Claude Quiba Reviewed by James Macey Updated on 24 April 2023 On this page 1. Zoho CRM 2. Freshsales 3. FullFabric 4. Anthology Reach 5. Maestro Student Information System 6. Blackbaud CRM 7. Jenzabar One How did we compare CRMs for universities? The benefits of CRM in higher education Verdict FAQs Expand Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral. Our researchers shows Zoho CRM as the best CRM for higher education, as it showcases the most impressive list of features used to gather and organise student data.A customer relationship management (CRM) system is essential in schools, especially for tertiary-level education, because it helps the school build and strengthen relationships with applicants, students, faculty, and alums. It collects data, maintains records, and analyses information, which is valuable in nurturing students and building the legacy of the school.In this article, we’ve listed the best CRM for universities and cover how a CRM system can help your school achieve its goals. For an in-depth and personalised quote, our free quote comparison tool will help match you with the CRM systems that best fit your institution’s needs. Simply answer a few questions, and we’ll have our trusted CRM providers contact you with tailored, obligation-free quotes. Swipe right to see more 0 out of 0 backward forward Best range of features Zoho CRM Best for tracking communication with students Freshsales Best for alumni and student relationship management FullFabric Best for admissions management Anthology Reach Simplest interface Maestro SIS by Bocavox Best for donor stewardship Blackbaud CRM Best for usability Jenzabar One Price Range £0 – £52 per user, per month Price Range £0 – £66 per user, per month Price Range Price available upon request Price Range Price available upon request Price Range Price available upon request Price Range Price available upon request Price Range Price available upon request Key Features Automated lead scoringScheduling toolsEmail insightsAutomated workflowsSocial media integrationsPre-made / custom reportsRevenue forecast Key Features Web formsChat and messagingAutomated workflowAutomated lead scoringEmail templates and autoresponseCustom sales pipelineCustom reports Key Features Student managementProspect pre-qualificationEvent planningLead capturingData collectionAudit managementApproval process control Key Features Customized email templatesAutomated follow us & notificationsWeb formsCommunication tracking Key Features Chat and messagingBillingElectronic paymentApplication managementEnrollmentFundraising managementFaculty managementStudent recordsKPIs Key Features Payment ProcessingDonor trackingFundraising managementGrant managementEmail & social media marketingWebsite managementWorkflow management Key Features Student monitoringReporting /analyticsBenchmarkingWorkflow managementFundraising managementCollaboration toolsChatboteLearning Free Trial/Plan Free Trial/Plan Free Trial/Plan Free Trial/Plan Free Trial/Plan Free trial Free Trial/Plan Free Trial/Plan Try Zoho CRM Try Freshsales Compare Quotes Compare Quotes Compare Quotes Compare Quotes Compare Quotes Try one of our favourite higher education CRMs for free: Our researchers found Zoho CRM offers the most generous range of features Try its free plan Try Zoho CRM Freshsales is our researchers' top pick for student communication Try its free plan Try Freshsales 1. Zoho CRM: Best range of features Zoho CRM Pricing £0 - £52 per user, per month Try Zoho CRM Why is Zoho CRM on this list? Zoho CRM is number one on our list for its comprehensive list of features at an affordable cost. You’ll have access to a suite of marketing tools, such as web forms, website tracking, and Twitter keywords, which help attract student enrollees. Moreover, you’ll have access to contact management tools and customizable reports to manage your admissions, student, and faculty data. Likewise, you can utilise its visual sales pipeline and automated lead scoring to track enrollees.There is no doubt that Zoho is tooled with powerful features, it could include more lead communication tools, such as website chatbots and instant messaging apps outside of its top-level subscription tier, the Plus plan.. If you want more communication features, Freshsales offers live chat, instant messaging apps, email auto-responses, and even native VOIP (voice over internet protocol) across all its plans.However, Zoho CRM has a lot more to offer—for example, a unified inbox and calendar to keep track of your schedule and events. In addition, you’ll have features to help you manage your faculty and staff, including team KPIs, individual targets, team dashboards, team hierarchies, and organisational KPIs. Read more + Read less - Strengths Great value for money Efficient team infrastructure tools to manage your faculty Practical reports and contact database features Student conversion tools Weaknesses Lack of communication features Pricing See more See less PlansStarting price per user, per month (billed annually)Starting price per user, per month (billed annually) Free £0 £0 Standard £12 £16 Professional £18 £28 Enterprise £35 £40 Ultimate £42 £52 Zoho allows you to configure your email, unifying your inbox and calendar.Zoho also has completely customisable layouts for accounts, leads, contacts, etc. In our testing, we could remove sections we didn't need, such as Skype ID or Fax. We found the Quick Create tool to be incredibly useful when adding a large number of leads. It allowed us to save time by adding only essential information. We could then go in and add details later. ▶ Read more: The Best CRM Systems for Small Businesses 2. Freshsales: Best for tracking communication with students Freshsales Pricing £0 - £66 per user, per month Try Freshsales Why is Freshsales on this list? Freshsales offers one of the most affordable CRM plans, offering institutions excellent value for money. Likewise, it equips you with reliable communication tools to connect with and keep track of students, including live chat and messaging apps. The best thing about it is that it even includes native VOIP (voice-over internet protocol), which allows you to dial and receive calls over the internet.However, we think Freshsales could use more lead-capturing tools, like website visitor tracking. This is where Zoho shines as it offers Zoho SalesIQ integration, helping you engage and collect information from your leads.Regardless, you cannot deny that Freshsales houses various practical tools for storing and organising data, such as list custom reports, a chart builder, list segmentation, and duplicate detection. These are extremely valuable in building reports and managing data from your prospective, current, and former students. Read more + Read less - Strengths Multiple lead communication and conversion features Excellent value for money Excellent data & reports tools Practical contact database Easy to use & navigate Weaknesses Missing in lead capture tools No customer service tools Pricing See more See less PlansStarting price per user, per month (billed annually)Starting price per user, per month (billed monthly) Growth (for three or fewer users) £0 £0 Growth £12 £15 Pro £29 £35 Enterprise £55 £66 Freshsales has a lot of support/demo suggestions and a decent amount of tooltips. We found these useful as the UI can be overwhelming to those without a lot of CRM experience. There's also a handy ‘launchpad' functionality (the rocket ship in the left menu) which acts as a search engine for Freshsales features/functionality, allowing you to quickly identify the available options by using a keyword or two.Email campaigns are quick and easy to set up and schedule, despite the requirement to build our own templates.Email campaigns are very useful as they help you to reach out to students in a quicker and more efficient manner, ensuring communication is always timely and relevant. 3. FullFabric: Best for alumni and student relationship management FullFabric Pricing Available upon request Why is FullFabric on this list? FullFabric is a CRM system that specialises in higher education, providing solutions to boost enrolments, drive revenue, and improve student-faculty relationships. It offers three types of products: Origin, Core, and Foundation.Foundation CRM gives you tools to track every interaction with and the progress of each student, including real-time tracking, custom forms, dashboards, and reporting. Origin focuses on admission and enrolment progress. Lastly, Core is a unique platform that lets students manage their schedules and course materials, foster relationships with faculty, and manage campus life. From lead capture and prospect qualification, to event management and pre-enrolment communication, Full Fabric lets you take charge of the entire student lifecycle.However, FullFabric’s system only allows storing up to 2,000 contacts. If you want more contact storage, Freshsales offers unlimited contacts across all of its plans. Read more + Read less - Strengths Outstanding student pre-qualification process Seamless process from recruitment to admissions Transparent pipeline Specialises in providing solutions to the unique requirements of universities Weaknesses Analytics and data reporting still needs improvement Limited to 2,000 contacts Pricing See more See less Available on request FullFabric doesn't share its prices publicly - you can contact the provider for a bespoke quote. 4. Anthology Reach: Best for admissions management Anthology Reach Pricing Available upon request Why is Anthology Reach on this list? Anthology Reach is another CRM software that caters specifically for universities, with tools that give you insights into your applicants, enrollees, and students. It’s especially good at managing the recruitment and admission process. In addition, it‘s efficient in student retention, alumni engagement, and career advancement. By utilising tools, such as the reach scoring model and success planning, you can collect data and develop strategies to help your students enhance their experience and performance at school.Some users complain about its outdated and non-intuitive interface, making it difficult to learn and use. If you’re looking for a CRM with a user-friendly interface, we recommend Freshsales. Aside from providing step-by-step onboarding assistance, it’s easy to set up and use. It has a highly intuitive interface that’s easy to understand and adapt to. Read more + Read less - Strengths Multi-channel outreach for marketing automation Includes automated workflows for time-consuming processes Simple to set up cloud-based solution Weaknesses Outdated interface Pricing See more See less Available on request Anthology Reach doesn't share its prices publicly - you can contact the provider for a bespoke quote. 5. Maestro Student Information System by BocaVox: Best simple interface Maestro SIS by BocaVox Pricing Available upon request Why is Maestro SIS by BocaVox on this list? Although its user interface (UI) is quite dated, Maestro SIS by BocaVox gives users an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. For example, you can sort applicants, students, and alums into groups through drag and drop. This makes it easier to send group messages and emails by category. Customising forms and reports to mirror your school's business processes takes less effort too. Likewise, adjusting your system to accommodate your university's growing demands is simple, which shows the system is also highly scalable.With a highly configurable, cloud-based system, and a slew of practical tools, including admissions management, class scheduling, activity tracking, and billing and invoicing, Maestro takes a bulk of responsibilities off your hands.If there are any complaints, they are about the lack of user permission levels, which are essential in protecting sensitive data. If you want a solid team infrastructure on your system, we recommend Zoho CRM. Zoho CRM is programmed with team hierarchies, which allows you to set up internal teams to keep information within a group. It also has data restrictions based on roles, so you can control which of your users can access sensitive data. Read more + Read less - Strengths Reliable 24/7 customer support User-friendly interface Plenty of efficient and highly-responsive features High scalability Weaknesses Outdated UI design Lack of accessibility control Pricing See more See less Available on request Maestro SIS doesn't share its prices publicly - you can contact the provider for a bespoke quote. 6. Blackbaud CRM: Best for donor stewardship Blackbaud CRM Pricing Available upon request Why is Blackbaud CRM on this list? Blackbaud CRM made a name for helping non-profit organisations raise funds. It's built with tools designed to connect with donors, organise fundraising activities, and track donations. But beyond its reputation, Blackbaud also flourishes in the academic world, giving institutions a helping hand when it comes to cultivating relationships with applicants, students, and alums.But because of its reliable fundraising features, such as payment processing, donation tracking, as well as donor and grant management, you'll have the tools to manage scholarships, awards, and promotions.What also makes Blackbaud part of this list is that it's one of the most user-friendly CRM systems for higher education. You can easily customise forms and reports with just a few clicks, saving your team time and costs for training.The downside is, reports are rigid and difficult to customise. Some aren’t even configurable at all. If you want to modify your platform to accommodate your needs, Zoho CRM has custom dashboards, fields, task boards, and objects to reflect your business processes and accommodate your needs. Read more + Read less - Strengths Extremely user-friendly Multi-user access means it’s ideal for remote teams Range of third-party applications on offer Weaknesses Rigid reports Pricing See more See less Available on request Blackbaud CRM doesn't share its prices publicly - you can contact the provider for a bespoke quote. 7. Jenzabar One: Best for usability Jenzabar One Pricing Available upon request Why is Jenzabar One on this list? Jenzabar One brings high-quality CRM software to higher education with top-notch usability and design. It’s programmed with user-friendly tools (workflow management, fundraising management, eLearning, and analytics) that makes managing enrollment, fundraising, online learning, and student retention easier.A good example of this, is its Financial Aid feature. It's important for any institution to offer well-managed financial assistance as it can influence many potential students' decisions. Fortunately, its Financial Aid feature eliminates the fuss around awarding scholarships and financial grants. To elaborate, the software enables you to identify the right students and appropriate financial aid by automating a big chunk of administrative tasks. This includes creating reports and leveraging on smart data analysis, helping you meet your goals while providing learners with meaningful opportunities.However, some users complain about its buggy system. If you want a smooth experience navigating the system, Freshsales provides a simple and intuitive interface that’s easy and hassle-free to use. Read more + Read less - Strengths Makes a wide range of data accessible and easy to parse Very mobile-friendly Lets you administer surveys to garner feedback and retain your students Weaknesses Some reviews suggest that the system can be a little buggy Pricing See more See less Available on request Jenzabar One doesn't share its prices publicly - you can contact the provider for a bespoke quote. Try one of our favourite higher education CRMs for free: Our researchers found Zoho CRM offers the most generous range of features Try its free plan Try Zoho CRM Freshsales is our researchers' top pick for student communication Try its free plan Try Freshsales How did we compare the best CRM for universities?Our researchers painstakingly test and evaluate the top CRM software to help you find the perfect solution for your business. We look at the following key criteria to assess each CRM provider:Usability: We test each system and evaluate how easy it is to use the platform.Price: The most affordable CRM plan that offers the best value for your money gets the highest score.Customisation: We don’t just assess how much you can personalise your system to suit your business, we also consider how easy it is to customise.Features: The wider the variety of functionalities the system offers, the higher its score.Help and support: How many customer support channels does the platform offer? The higher the number of support resources the platform has, the higher its ranking.Once we’ve collected all of the information and scored each key category, we’ll calculate each CRM plan’s final scores and rank them accordingly. What are the benefits of CRM in higher education?Engaging prospective studentsCRM systems enable universities to capture information from prospective students, including name, email, location, and educational attainment. This information can then be used to customise email and future promotions and campaigns to their interest.Implement marketing campaigns through automationUniversities can gain a great deal from CRM solutions by automating marketing practices, such as student lead management and follow-up procedure.Gain insights on organisational processesWith built-in reporting and analytics tools, users can easily add, manage, and access information. This information updates in real time and provides historical data, promoting transparency across all departments. This makes it easier to gain insights into your organisational processes and help you develop successful growth strategies and make better decisions. Verdict Zoho CRM is our number one pick for the best CRM system for higher education due to having a plethora of features under its belt.However, we recommend that you choose your CRM system based on your university’s goals and demands. So, whether you need software specialising in alumni and student relationship management or donor stewardship, we have one recommended for you,If you need a personalised CRM recommendation, our free quote comparison tool will help you connect with trusted CRM providers that will give you the best, obligation-free quotes that fit your needs. FAQs What is the use of CRM in higher education? CRM systems help build and strengthen the relationships the institution has with its candidates, students, alumni, and the faculty. Is CRM effective in educational marketing? Most CRM systems are equipped with marketing tools like web forms, chatbots, and website visitor trackers, which help you track, engage, and manage prospective, current, and former students. In addition to this, CRM software can help you send personalised messages and automated follow-up emails to cultivate the relationship between your institution and your students. What are the three types of CRM? CRM systems have three classifications: sales CRMs, marketing CRMs, and customer service CRMs. We recommend that you choose software that's aligned with your goals and needs. How much does CRM software cost? CRM software can be affordable as £8.50 to as high as £240. Most CRM providers offer free plans, but you’ll most likely get basic features and limited capabilities. You can find more in our guide to CRM software costs. Written by: Claude Quiba Content Writer If you want insights into the best phone systems for your business, Claude Quiba will give you the lowdown on the latest in the industry. She's also a dreamer, a writer, and an autism advocate. Talk to her about art, coffee, or anything under the sun. But mostly, she's your go-to person when it comes to finding the best solutions for your team. Reviewed by: James Macey Senior Business Software Researcher James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.