2021 Q2 StudentBridge Business Update
The best storyline of Q2 were the results from our Customer Success Team who managed to sign contracts with 31 existing partner schools. Some of the upgrades were significant in size, and this pushed the CSM team to end the period over 230% of goal. These upgrades include newer products like My Five Faves, VisiTOUR and IdentiFlyer. The current trend shows that our customers are not only seeing the benefits of their current solutions but are looking to continue to build onto their recruitment solutions with StudentBridge.
Sales to new customers were lower than hoped, but 10 new customers joined the portfolio and our average TCV increased to $62K, showing value in multi-year deals and bundled solutions. We definitely felt some timing issues, as potential customers looked to wait for their new fiscal year, which typically starts in July each year.
The BDR team kept the activity high at the top of our funnel despite some headcount changes, setting 460 meetings that converted into 73 opportunities, adding an additional $4.2M to our already healthy pipeline.
Finally, we made a wholesale change to our sales strategy by adopting Gap Selling methodology and brought in the author “Keenan” as a sales training consultant. The onsite event was high energy and thought provoking. To ensure it’s adoption, we moved Zach Chastain into a full time Director of Sales role to continue to grow and develop the Sales team, execute Gap Selling throughout our organization and achieve our 2021 bookings goals in H2.
With increased targets heading into Q3, we have hired a new Senior Account Executive as well as two new Business Development Representatives with experience selling or working in the higher education space.
We head into Q3 with a very healthy pipeline that aligns with our highest quarter target in company history. We do expect challenges in Q3 as schools start to navigate back to normal operations on campus while following the ever-changing CDC COVID guidelines.
We have focused our marketing efforts on VisiTOUR in Q2 with the launch of our Summer Promotion. If a partner signs a contract for VisiTOUR before September 1, we will waive the implementation fee. This promotion has been highlighted in paid ads and organic content on LinkedIn, in our newsletter and in many of our other emails and at the CIVSA and RNL virtual conferences and has already resulted in 9 new opportunities.
In June, we hosted our inaugural virtual partner conference, Digital Impact Summit 2021. Over 100 partners and VIP guests registered and attended to hear industry experts discuss the most pressing issues facing higher education enrollment today. We also awarded four deserving partners with our first “STUies” awards to recognize their efforts and results from their digital experiences this past year.
In addition to our featured blog content, we have posted several blogs on our website focused on targeted keywords to help generate organic traffic to our website. We also completed two additional case studies on the success of our partners at Wayne State College and Suffolk University. In June, we generated 9K website sessions which is a company record.
In Q3, we will be focused on generating marketing qualified leads to continue to pump up the Sales pipeline through account based marketing campaigns targeting specific schools for VisiTOUR and Virtual Events.
In Q2, the Creative Services Team marked a return to our core product development efforts while continuing new product momentum. Our video crews returned to the road, filming 25 campuses across the country. Operating up to three film crews at a time, we successfully filmed campuses that were allowed to film. The team is actively managing approximately 95 partner programs and 191 concurrent projects. The team also successfully launched 56 new digital solutions.
On the new product side, we saw Virtual Events continue to be an important component of our partners recruitment approach. In Q2, we hosted 16 events, with some being return events from 2020. With the transition to summer, we saw event frequency decrease, but we anticipate virtual events will ramp up again as we transition into the 2021-22 recruitment cycle.
In Q3, we will be evaluating several new Creative Service offerings designed to generate incremental revenue in H2 and into 2022.
In Q2, the Technology team worked on a number of enhancements to our Virtual Campus Experience, including improvements to the event schedule pages, personalized URLs, the ability to schedule automated content switches to “launch” new websites, notification banners, and improvements to enable IdentiFlyer, the new StudentBridge targeted direct mail solution through an exclusive partnership with NaviStone.
For VisiTOUR, we’ve added support for three more languages, making the total number of languages supported five: English, Spanish, French, Chinese (Mandarin), and Korean, and we also added report export archiving and auditing features for NameCapture.
Finally, we hired a new Lead Backend Engineer in the US, who is currently developing a proof of concept for our new Data Integration and Reporting service to enable future integrations with school systems like student CRMs and student information systems, as well as new features in StudentBridge solutions including content suggestions and recommendations. We’re excited by the many possibilities and opportunities we see by enabling better use of our data.
Since inception, StudentBridge has focused on building an internal go to market team and all sales have come through that channel. This has given us great control and insights into the industry as we stay close to the customer throughout the process. In Q2, we decided it was time for us to expand and actively started an EcoSystem strategy, whereby we will find three or four partners that can add value to our customers, or increase our sales velocity by reselling StudentBridge solutions.
We identified nearly 100 potential partners and whittled it down to ten, based on a series of factors. The first partnership was concluded with NaviStone as referenced above. StudentBridge is now the exclusive partner in education for NaviStone’s unique direct mail retargeting solution and will give our customers a powerful solution to drive traffic to their virtual experiences, at a time when schools are finding it very hard to gain names due to the lack of ACT/SAT testing. Two customers have already signed up and our goal is to add 28 more customers by the end of the year.
For sales expansion we are also in the final steps of confirming a partnership with one of the biggest companies in the education industry, who will be taking our solutions and offering it to their customers. It is forecasted that this partnership will generate 50 sales a year.
Finally, we are very excited to share that StudentBridge has engaged the investment bank Tyton Partners to advise us on our capital market alternatives as we continue to see strong organic growth and strategic M&A opportunities in our core and adjacent markets we serve. Tyton Partners provides investment banking and financial advisory services to companies, institutions, foundations and investors that are navigating the global education marketplace.
A Moment with Katy Ball, Customer Success Team Lead
Katy joined the StudentBridge team in August 2018 as a Business Development Representative. In August 2019, she became a full-time Customer Success Manager helping further develop relationships with our partners.