How AI is a Game Changer for Education Businesses

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Daniel Tay | 02 July 2018

The education sector is known for being slow-moving and resistant to change. It is also an industry that has grown exponentially over the years. According to a study by EY-Parthenon, private education spend in Southeast Asia reached nearly $60 billion in 2016.

As such, many education businesses have emerged over the years to try to disrupt this industry and meet the ever-increasing demand from a burgeoning middle class, who are turning to private education as a means to supplement the existing curriculum.

However, while education businesses have no lack of opportunities and leads, managing the sheer amount of enquiries and students is simply too overwhelming for the admissions team. This results in missed opportunities to upsell or cross-sell their products and services.

As such, artificial intelligence (AI) might just be the key to picking up those sales that might have otherwise been missed. Here’s how. 

Re-engagement of “stale” leads

Leads are described as “stale” if they have been in your sales funnel for a while, but no progress has been made on them.

This could be for a variety of reasons. The lead might have lost interest, or found better alternatives elsewhere. On the other hand, in the case of education businesses, chances are that the admissions team simply had insufficient time to follow up.

Such was the case with a popular international education group in Singapore. By and large, their schools are bursting at the seams with enrolments, which means that they are typically unable to follow up with the sheer volume of parents who inquire on courses for their children.

So they turned to Saleswhale to help reactivate this group of leads. Once set up, our AI sales assistant quickly started to reach out to parents with inquiries in the past months. Once they opened the emails and responded, the sales assistant got to work engaging with them.

Based on the conversations, 14 percent of the leads - which otherwise would have been lost - were qualified and handed over to sales.

It could also be that the parents reached out during peak periods, such as in the middle of a semester or term, and therefore their enquiries fell through the cracks. An AI sales assistant would capture these leads, and re-engage them before the next enrolment window.

Upsell to the next level

The great thing about education is that it’s never-ending. There’s always something new to learn, and areas to be improved on.

As such, a key revenue driver for education businesses is in upselling the next level of courses. Unfortunately, this is usually a very manual process, which involves sifting through student information and deciding which is the next course that would make the most sense for the student - based on age group, interest or courses they attended in the past.

A tech-focused private school in Singapore ran into this problem. While they hosted a number of small-scale workshops, these were mainly used as a marketing channel to encourage attendees to commit to a part-time or full-time course.

Running multiple workshops, however, meant that the team had little to no time to actively follow up with workshop attendees after the sessions were over.

In the same way, an AI sales assistant can simply jump straight in and start reaching out to potential leads, which was exactly what happened when they decided to bring Saleswhale in.

For the 63 percent of them who responded, our sales assistant parsed and interpreted the replies, handled the questions, objections or requests for information accordingly, before sending qualified leads to their admissions team.

Besides upselling from paid workshops to full fletched courses, upselling courses based on age or level of education also makes a ton of sense for education businesses.

In these cases, an AI sales assistant could automatically reach out when a student reaches the age for Primary 6 enrolment, to share more information about tuition courses for the upcoming PSLE exams.

Don’t miss out

Make no mistake - demand for education is not going to fall anytime soon. And thanks to technology, AI is poised to help us to make the most of it, clinching sales where they might have been missed before.



Daniel Tay Avatar

Daniel Tay

Co-founder & lead content strategist at With Content, a content production studio that helps B2B tech companies create credible, authoritative longform content that potential customers will actually love.

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