Education

We are committed to providing holistic solutions that empower academic institutions and training organizations to achieve their strategic goals and improve their student outcomes.

Office Hours with Gerent

A new era for education is on the horizon.

Post-pandemic, institutions of all sizes and types are finding innovative ways to take advantage of a rising demand for learning services and provide more value to their students. However, no two educators approach this reimagination process in exactly the same way. Your organization is unique; your evolution should be, too.

At Gerent, we see every learning institution as an individual. We want to help you achieve your ideal future state on your terms — which is why we’re opening up limited (and entirely free) office hours to forward-thinking program leaders.

Areas of expertise

We service a wide range of educational organizations:

Online training

Tutoring & Student Advancement

International / Study Abroad

Camps & Recreational Programs

Language Training

Higher Education

You can count on us

Depth & Breadth of Knowledge

We have a deep and broad understanding of all key areas of educational institutions, including:

  • Recruitment
  • Marketing
  • Student Experience & Engagement
  • Enrollment Management
  • Admissions
  • Communities & Portals
  • Reporting
  • Scheduling

Salesforce Exclusive

We are a top Salesforce pure-play consulting partner with critical mass and no corporate parent or acquisition-induced constraints.

Proven Track Record

We’ve successfully deployed Salesforce solutions into multiple large and complex Education and Training environments.

Gerent Digital

We leverage the power of our digital product agency to design winning customer experiences that set your brand apart in the education marketplace.

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Salesforce for Education

Flexible, easily-managed outreach tools to grow enrollment

Build thoughtful student journeys with impactful messaging that communicates your unique culture and value proposition

Dynamic reporting and dashboards powered by secure, unified data

Leverage robust student and partner profiles to gain insight into trends and opportunities for growth

Intuitive self-service portals and knowledge-sharing communities that empower students and partners

Design smart, interactive spaces that provide centralized help, secure account access, and chat for 24/7 support

Scalable scheduling tools to maximize resources and deliver seamless learning experiences

Make informed programming decisions to foster retention and improve student outcomes

How we can help

Meet Sarah

Vice President, Enrollment Management

“As we brace for Fall 2021, I am tasked with managing our enrollment pipeline to ensure that we meet our strategic recovery goals. This “new reality” has certainly put me behind the eight ball because our student demographic has been impacted by the pandemic. We’ve relied on “our students” being “our students” for so long that it’s hard to gain insight into changing trends and new opportunities. I work closely with marketing and recruitment, but I don’t have a good idea of what they are doing and if we’re on track to hit our yield and retention targets.”

How can technology help?

  • Transform once siloed data into a single source of truth to gain insight into student demographics and enrollment trends.
  • Access real-time student pipeline information from lead to application, through admission and enrollment, to track yield and monitor benchmarks.
  • Collaborate seamlessly across business units, courtesy of shared comprehensive student and partner profiles.

Meet Patrick

Director of Marketing

“I have a robust communication plan that fosters student engagement and support. However, because our institution’s data is very siloed, it has become increasingly difficult to leverage critical milestones within the student journey. As a result, there is a misconception that marketing doesn’t understand our students. We have great ideas and direction, but need a cohesive way to automate personalized messaging to reach our students (on a variety of platforms) when they need it most.”

How can technology help?

  • Create thoughtful student journeys, complete with supportive and strategically scheduled messaging.
  • Leverage social media to attract and interact with students via their preferred platforms.
  • Track campaign efforts and ROI to maximize spend.
  • Transform once siloed data into a single source of truth to gain insight into student demographics and enrollment trends.

Meet Cathy

Director of Admissions

“In admissions, we often find ourselves balancing two conflicting roles: gatekeeper and cheerleader. It’s my responsibility to adhere to our institution’s rigorous admission standards, while still communicating our mission of inclusivity and student success. I would love to spend more time getting to know my applicants, to help them through our process, but I am bogged down in tedious, manual (and sometimes double) work. I worry that I am losing touch with our current student population and am not able to add value to their experience.”

How can technology help?

  • Create campaigns to assist applicants at key milestones of the admission process.
  • Provide self-service support communities to engage admitted students.
  • Keep detailed student records, including communication and cases, to provide thoughtful experiences.
  • Understand students and their parents/sponsors to build trust and foster retention.
  • Build custom reports and dashboards with scheduled and on-demand updates/distribution options.

Meet Steven

Director of Alumni Relations

“I serve as the liaison between my school and our graduates. I coordinate with just about every department on campus and am responsible for outreach through programmed events and targeted messaging. Our institution is generously supported by alumni/donor contributions and with incoming student funding being impacted so heavily by the pandemic, I need the ability to create scholarship opportunities and carefully track ROI of our fundraising efforts and related campaigns.”

How can technology help?

  • Automate and personalize alumni outreach campaigns to foster lasting engagement.
  • Manage relationships with key donors and sponsors to drive advancement initiatives.
  • Create robust online communities to encourage networking and continued.
  • Track campaign efforts and ROI to maximize spend.

April Bollwage

Education Practice Leader

April has spent over 20 years working in education and training. Her most recent leadership role in organizational and customer operations gives her a unique insight into the challenges and opportunities facing today’s institutions.

She has developed and redesigned processes to support a network of 60 domestic learning centers and their relationships with over 500 higher ed partners. April specializes in enrollment management, strategic operations, and student experience.

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Will Shu

VP of Technology

Will has worked in the technology industry for over 27 years. He has spent the last 10 years spearheading Salesforce digital transformation in the finance and education sectors. This experience has provided unique insights into the issues many businesses face during a digital migration.

His most recent senior leadership role in a global language training organization has led to a worldwide Salesforce implementation and fostered internal adoption of the new platform. Will specializes in strategic thought leadership, technology innovation, and senior IT management.

Connect on LinkedIn

Our Point of View

Our Point of View

Meeting Learners’ Evolved Expectations in the Competitive Online Education Sector explores why online education organizations’ digital presence must be differentiated in today’s competitive climate, why catering to consumers’ changing demographics and expectations is essential, and the profound importance of leveraging data to increase the recruitment and retention of learners.

Episode 29: Why Educational Companies Must Deliver On Their Brand Promise And How They Can Do It

In a world where the customer is more important than ever and competition is greater than ever, a company’s brand promise is everything. It goes to reputation, customer retention, product value and, ultimately,  corporate growth. So, if that brand promise is broken in any way, a company could be in peril.

After all, they are offering a product and a service and they’re promising satisfaction at the end of the day. Perhaps nowhere else will a customer turn away faster than from a company offering training or education that fails to measure up. That customer will never return and will likely let a whole lot of other people know about it, too, via something called…social media.

In this episode, we’ll examine the brand promise in education through the thoughts and words of two experts in the education field.

July 19, 2021

Coursera Converts Leads Into Students with Sales Cloud

The internet has ushered in immense social change since the birth of email, its primary driver, in the early 1970s.

Today, there is nothing – no body of knowledge, no academic paper, no book, film, video or artwork, no individual, famous or otherwise – that cannot be found on the internet. It truly is a World Wide Web of knowledge, a global encyclopedia at one’s fingertips.

The internet’s technology has also spawned online shopping and ecommerce, two more examples of how the web has changed our lives.

MOOCs For The Masses

It wasn’t until the late 2000s, however, that the global reach of the web gave birth to the idea of online education for a worldwide audience. It began with a single course offered by two professors through the University of Manitoba in 2008. 25 students enrolled on campus while 2,300 from around the world enrolled online.

At that time, the two professors coined the term, “MOOC” — massive open online courses ¬— to describe this new kind of online learning.

For some years, many courses were offered free. That has changed to a fee-based model under which  course content may still be free but a certificate of completion comes at a charge. With the addition of full-blown degree programs, students register and pay up front; the degree designation is included in the cost structure.

In just 11 years, MOOCs have exploded. By 2017, according to Class Central, 78 million students were enrolled in at least one online course. There are five major companies offering over nine thousand different courses through affiliation with some of the world’s leading universities. Students can take one course at a time or enroll for a full master’s degree program.

While the numbers are huge, one of the problems with online courses is the high rate of incompletions; almost 90% of students drop out, something that has led to widespread changes in course offerings with a decided shift to more vocational, technology-driven courses.

If a company wants to keep track of millions of students taking its courses, a rock-solid data management system is critical. That’s why Coursera turned to Salesforce and Gerent.

Data Going Adrift

“Our client was already using Salesforce in other aspects of their online education business that serve government and businesses,” says Andrew Swartz, Gerent’s Director of Sales, “but they didn’t have anything for their degree student situation. There was nothing in place for their teams to be able to know where students were in the process.”

Had students submitted applications properly and in a complete manner? Why hadn’t Coursera heard back from new students? They had no way to find out. In other words, as Andrew Swartz explained, the company wanted to implement Salesforce Sales Cloud in order to have the means to increase the number of active degree learners by increasing conversion rates.

“So, the opportunities turn into leads and, with Salesforce, the leads turn into applicants who turn into students and then become graduates”, he said.

Coursera uses an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) tied to one of their other Salesforce instances. Student lead data was stored there but when it was called up via Zapier, a technology that integrates apps and services, several key pieces of data would be missing. There were also too many occasions of data duplication, as well.

The way that Gerent implemented Sales Cloud for the client, Andrew says, all data will be fully integrated and key data sets will no longer be missing.  The project also involved Salesforce Inbox for the company’s Gmail needs and some data migration was undertaken.

The Implementation Grows

The more that Andrew and his team worked with Coursera, the more the project began to expand. There are now extensive talks around adding more Salesforce products into the solution.

Discussion around the project began in January 2019, but as the SOW changed and expanded, the timeline stretched out. The company gained full use of Sales Cloud in October 2019, and Andrew says they are already deriving benefits from it.

While Coursera didn’t look at any other CRM provider than Salesforce, Gerent was chosen as the solutions implementation partner over two other Salesforce partner companies, an indication of how highly Gerent is regarded within Salesforce.

As for the online educator, the road continues; according to Andrew, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud are on the horizon. Gerent is also working on an ‘org merger’ of the three Salesforce solutions now in place, something that is going to streamline admin maintenance for the company.

By utilizing the data analytics capabilities of Sales Cloud, the company gains complete control of incoming student data, is able to leverage it efficiently and provide best-in-class service to its clients – the 35 million students who have chosen Coursera for their online learning needs.

Coursera Prepares for the Future of Education by Implementing Marketing Cloud

In late 2020, Coursera found itself facing a new and welcome problem. Amid an e-learning boom, a rising tide of students threatened to overflow the company’s existing CRM framework. Between March and September, the remote learning giant accumulated no less than 21 million learners and reported a 444% increase in course enrollments(1).

Coursera needed to boost its growth capacity and attain a 360° view of its customers. The means to do so seemed obvious: the company would implement Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud to better meet its burgeoning outreach needs. The e-learning platform was motivated to do so, as it had recently transitioned over to Sales Cloud and seen the benefits Salesforce products could provide firsthand. 

However, implementation is no small feat — which is why Coursera brought on Gerent as its Salesforce implementation partner. 

Salesforce solutions tailored to your needs

Gerent collaborated with Coursera to develop and deploy a program management structure that would ensure the efficient delivery of work streams across all internal and external business stakeholders and teams. The Gerent team also designed optimal enrollment journeys to bolster the company’s student acquisition efforts. 

During implementation, Gerent’s solution architects established core Marketing Cloud solutions such as Email Studio, Web Studio, Automation Studio, Journey Builder, and Marketing Cloud Connect. Once implemented, they further connected Coursera’s Marketing Cloud with its sales cloud, external data warehouse, and learning platform. 

Coursera’s implementation process occurred in phases. First, Gerent’s solution architects created static emails so the e-learning platform could transition from its former marketing software and begin learning how to operate the Marketing Cloud system. Then, once Coursera’s team felt comfortable with the framework, the solution architects enabled Marketing Cloud’s full dynamic capabilities — a switch that enabled Coursera to take their scalability to the next level. Since achieving these action items, Gerent has continued to provide support for Coursera’s digital growth initiatives. 

The results speak for themselves: by using Marketing Cloud’s tools to facilitate full dynamic emails and automate marketing processes, Coursera was able to reduce the number of campaigns it needed to create and drastically improve employee bandwidth. 

Implementation guided by decades of industry experience

Coursera specifically chose Gerent as its implementation partner because of our team’s experience in the education sector. April Bollwage and Will Shu, who lead Gerent’s Education and Technology practices, have well over three decades of collective experience working in the education and training industry. Bollwage and Shu’s ability to weave their boots-on-the-ground industry experience into a high-level Salesforce implementation strategy was a selling point for Coursera. 

Under their guidance and direction, Gerent’s team gave Coursera the framework it needed to accommodate post-pandemic growth and meet a new era of online learning head-on.  

(1) Coursera 2020 Impact Report. (2020, September 23). Retrieved from https://about.coursera.org/press/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Coursera-Impact-Report-2020.pdf



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