Welcome to part three, which wraps up my series on choosing an admissions recruitment CRM! 

In this post, I’ll provide you with five tips for getting the best outcome from your CRM RFP. I’ll also provide you with a master list of CRM requirements from which you can simply pick and choose the requirements that make sense for your admissions office. 

My hope is that, with this resource at your fingertips, you’ll be able to identify about 80 percent of your CRM requirements, which will save you MONTHS of time and headaches!

Now, on to the five tips!

1. Limit the number of vendors to whom you send an RFP.

As my previous blog posts indicated, I encourage you to use the RFI process to narrow down your list of prospective vendors to no more than four. Ideally, the responses you get from your RFI will help you narrow your list even further.

Each vendor should be aligned with your priorities, staffing resources, and budget. That way, reading through each RFP response will be a valuable exercise, not just a drain on resources.

2. Set reasonable deadlines.

When you ask for a proposal on a complex system, such as a CRM, you need to give vendors adequate time to respond (a month is reasonable). If you give them less time, the vendor(s) you’re most interested in may not be able to prepare a response at all, leaving you with the least desirable CRMs to choose from.

3. Focus on what’s most important.

Zero in on the specific core requirements that you need to get your job done and meet your enrollment goals. The good news? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you: Check out our Master List of Admissions CRM Requirements, from which you can choose the requirements that are top priorities for your school.

Remember, a common IT adage is that 80 percent of all software users generally use just 20 percent of a software product’s features and functionality.

4. Carefully consider weighting and scoring.

Give more weight to admissions requirements than IT requirements. (Often, RFPs get this backwards.) Sure, you should consider the needs of the IT department, but be certain to place the most importance on YOUR office’s needs. You’re the ones who will have to “live” with the CRM every day … and who are responsible for enrolling the class!

5. Be clear about what you really need to see in a demo.

Demos should put the software through the paces of performing scenarios that are directly relevant to your requirements. For the best results, let each vendor know your top priorities. (Be sure to give the vendors a few days of advance notice so they have adequate time to prepare.)


I hope this series of blog posts and resources has equipped you with the knowledge and tools you need to choose a CRM with confidence in less time. Most importantly, I hope this blog series leads you to the right admissions recruitment CRM.

I’d love to hear your feedback on these posts and resources, as well as any ideas you have for additional ones! Feel free to email me at shelly@fire-engine-red.com.

Shelly J. Spiegel has nearly 35 years of experience in the education market – including 19 years as CEO & Chief Creative Officer of the company she founded, Fire Engine RED.