RMIT Online tasks Kraken with reeling in enrolments

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RMIT Online tasks Kraken with reeling in enrolments

The long tentacles of lead nurture.

RMIT Online has built a lead nurturing journey it is calling ‘the Kraken’ to encourage more sign-ups to its online short courses.

CRM marketing manager Liam Markus told Salesforce’s Dreamforce 19 conference the Kraken was so-named because “it’s an absolute beast of a journey” with “so many personalised branches depending on the lead scenarios that the branches started looking like tentacles”.

A Kraken is a squid-like sea monster from Scandinavian folklore.

“Hence 'the Kraken' was born,” Markus said.

The Kraken was jointly developed by RMIT Online and Bluewolf and launched at the end of June 2019.

“We've really only been running for about five months, not a whole lot of time, but our analysis has shown now that we're generating nearly a quarter of the enrolments for the business for last click and last call attribution,” Markus said.

“The other thing that we really like to keep our finger on the pulse with is the ‘session to enrolment’ figure, driving intent to enrol from the web sessions that we're creating. 

“Someone knows a little bit about your brand, they've come to your website, they've submitted a lead, they're in that awareness and consideration phase, and it's up to [our] comms to help convince them that RMIT Online is the best place that they can study.”

In 2018, CRM communications helped convert 0.75 percent of web sessions into enrolments. In 2019, aided by the Kraken and other web improvements, the conversion is a shade under two percent.

“These are really pleasing results to see in a pretty short amount of time, and with optimisation and further improvements we've got planned [in 2020], I think there's still a long way to go in this space as well,” Markus said.

Anatomy of a Kraken

The Kraken is built in Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud.

“What we did is we hooked up Marketing Cloud to Salesforce [CRM] mirroring leads and contacts - nothing new or exciting there,” Markus said.

“But then what we did that was quite innovative is that we built a lead engine in Marketing Cloud, which runs 27 rules over the top of every lead that comes in. 

“The types of things we're looking at is ‘what type of lead is it?’ We also look at how far away is close of enrolment, and if the lead is a duplicate - that's a big one for us, a third of our leads are duplicates.

“Importantly, [we also look whether it’s an] existing lead in a journey already, because we don't want to treat someone as a bunch of disparate leads. 

“We want to make sure that we treat people as people and work out the most ideal path for them.

“So a lead comes in, and using a multistage process where we use Automation Studio [Activities in Marketing Cloud], server-side JavaScript and SQL queries, we run these 27 rules over every single lead, and then at the end of it we work out the most ideal path for the lead or in this case, the tentacle in the Kraken.”

The Kraken also contains “more than 150 separate communications assets” that can be sent to prospects depending on the lead they submit.

“We really wanted to push the boundaries with the number of personalisations that were going out,” Markus said.

Leads were most likely to convert within seven days of them being received.

“Of our leads that convert, 44 percent of them do so in that first week, and so that really helped us dictate the length of time that we wanted to have our journeys,” Markus said.

“We wanted to be in their inbox during that first week, we wanted to be on their phone during that first week, we wanted to be making phone calls to them in that first week and then leave them alone if the time to convert has come and gone.”

Leads were also more likely to convert as the enrolment date for a particular course neared.

“We found at RMIT Online, 39 percent of our leads convert in that final week prior to close of enrolment,” he said.

“So what we did within the Kraken is that we put in checks … for how far away is close of enrolment. 

“Because what we didn't want to happen is for a lead to come in say three days before enrolment and for the [prospective student to get a] seven day journey that just blows through the close of enrolment date without any reference to it.”

Markus said that a lead that came in days away from an enrolment cutoff was put on a nurturing journey for the exact amount of time until the cutoff.

Friends of the Kraken

RMIT Online has also developed some journeys outside of the Kraken for other scenarios.

One of these takes leads submitted well in advance of the enrolment cutoff and revives them inside of the final seven days.

“We developed this close of enrolment journey which is separate to the Kraken but has a symbiotic relationship with the Kraken - they reference each other, you can't be in both journeys at the same time,” Markus said.

“What this is doing is, it's just got the receptors up and it's just looking for that days to close of enrolment to tick down to seven, at which stage it will suck the leads into this journey and let them know, 'Hey that course that you’re interested in, you better hurry up and enrol because it's closing soon'.”

Duplicate leads are similarly treated outside of the Kraken.

Markus said duplicates were “far and away the biggest indicator that a lead is likely to convert.”

That is, someone that submitted multiple leads were more likely to enrol than someone who submitted just one.

“We wanted to recognize that hot button, that hot indicator that someone submitted duplicates, and so we created this duplicate lead journey,” Markus said.

“Again, separate to the Kraken but it references the Kraken - you can't be in both journeys at the same time - and what this is looking for is that duplicate lead coming in. 

“So under the right scenario, we're jumping all over it: we're sending them an email and adding them to outbound call campaigns now, so we're harnessing the power of the sales team here, because if you're going to use human resources you want to be targeting leads that are likely to convert to get that incremental uplift. And if they don't convert after that first day we send them an SMS.

“So it's short, it's sharp, it's just recognising that hot indicator has come in and having a high intensity campaign as a result.”

Ry Crozier attended Salesforce’s Dreamforce 19 conference in San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.

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