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University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo builds better corporate partnerships with Salesforce
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Executive Summary

With more than 500 corporate stakeholders, the University at Buffalo (UB), the largest public institution in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, was challenged to strengthen its industry collaborations and unleash new research and innovation opportunities.

To improve UB’s corporate relationship management, the Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships (BEP) team took action to use its data more productively and enhance the customer service they were providing.

Salesforce helped the BEP team unleash new efficiencies and gain a 360-degree view of its corporate partners, enabling them to boost engagement, create better experiences, and ultimately drive more value from their relationships.

  • 150%
    increase in users across different business units

Heeding the Call for Better Customer Data

Managing corporate relationships is a critical task for major research universities. Sponsored research projects, government funding, and a range of initiatives – from experiential learning to employment opportunities – all benefit from good industry-university partnerships.

BEP’s strategic goal was to bolster its existing collaborations and find new opportunities for the institution, aspiring to create better customer experiences for both existing and prospective corporate stakeholders. The immediate challenge was to modernize the team’s approach, improve their tracking and reporting processes, and better align their communications and offerings with the current needs of their corporate partners.

At the root of this challenge was data collection and management. The BEP team lacked cohesive and actionable information about their partners and how the university as a whole was interacting with them on an individual basis. BEP needed to capture not just contact names and market segments, but also conversations and items not traditionally part of the higher education marketing culture, such as net promoter scores.

“Our partners are able to understand the value we’re bringing as an institution to the relationship. It allows us to really meet their needs and provide an incentive for our partners to pursue and deepen collaboration with us.” Tracy Krawczyk-Schiedel, Director of Marketing and Communications, Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships
University at Buffalo

The Path to 360-Degree Visibility

Salesforce stood out as the optimal solution because it could quickly help the BEP team segment their customer data, track interactions, and acquire deeper insights about their partnerships.

“We need to know everything about our partners and how we are interacting with them so that we can continue to show our professional face and be confident when we have conversations with stakeholders and prospects,” said Krawczyk-Schiedel.

BEP partnered with Redpath Consulting Group and set in motion a flexible, multiphase implementation that included extensive planning, business unit discovery, and in-depth user-story-development across a range of business scenarios.

The project was live within seven months of launch and quickly grew from 20 users to more than 50 users in multiple business units across the university, including executive leadership.

Equipped with 360-degree visibility, these users are now taking advantage of Salesforce’s dashboards and reports to support decision making efforts. BEP team members are using Salesforce for advanced segmentation, program management, as well as developing and monitoring collaborations. In addition, they’re using leads, campaigns, and achievements to track activities, participation, and results.

BEP is also actively capturing and making use of survey results, online inquiries, and net promoter scores to round out their understanding of their stakeholders’ experiences, boost engagement, and enhance customer service.

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Driving Better Engagement With Better Data

With Salesforce, UB and BEP gained a unified and detailed picture of how they engaged with industry partners, with clear visibility into the interactions, conversations, and collaborations taking place across the institution.

BEP team members can now easily track and manage milestones with key partners, program participation, and funding details without spreadsheets and other disconnected manual components. They’re also using their data more effectively to power their campaigns, segmentation, decision making, and engagement.

Making Every Message Count

With Salesforce as its single source of truth, BEP worked with other business units to better understand UB’s corporate relationships and align their resources to increase engagement based on actual needs. The BEP team identified key and target accounts and was able to take an integrated and targeted approach to marketing and business development. The new insights have fueled best-in-class targeted messaging and served as a blueprint for the new outward-facing website for corporate partners.

Using Salesforce, BEP can now view dashboards and reports to quickly see campaign results and then make informed decisions on segmentation and follow-up campaigns.

“This 360-mindset grows with every success story,” said Krawczyk-Schiedel. “By having shared pipelines, shared targets, and every conversation available for everyone in your database, you can make purposeful decisions and make every message count.”

Realizing the True Value of Corporate Relationships

Stronger data collection and management made it possible for BEP to capture and communicate the true value of its corporate relationships, which has further helped target resources and support the economic development of its clients.

“Salesforce is designed to bring everyone in and provide value to everyone involved,” said Krawczyk-Schiedel. “People will continue to get quick wins from that and learn that having information at your fingertips enables great conversations and a sustainable ecosystem.”

From faculty research and intellectual property to corporate information and contracts, Salesforce has brought advanced visibility to BEP’s relationships and helped them realize the value – including the financial impact – of individual contacts.

Salesforce has also made it easier to quantify and strategically communicate that value to corporate stakeholders and funding bodies, going far beyond transactional interactions. UB can now demonstrate the benefits it brings to each relationship and position itself as a brand of choice for future collaborations and opportunities. With Salesforce’s rich reporting and segmentation capabilities, BEP is also prepared to move the needle as their partners’ needs change.

“Our partners are able to understand the value we’re bringing as an institution to the relationship,” said Krawczyk-Schiedel. “It allows us to really meet their needs and provide an incentive for our partners to pursue and deepen collaboration with us.”

“During that difficult time, it was critical for us to be nimble and flexible and to be able to get communications out quickly in a way that was on brand and well-received — and Salesforce helped us do that,” said Julian Olivas, Director of Communications and Marketing for the Division of Enrollment Management.

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About the State University of New York at Buffalo

The State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) is a top 35 public research university that serves more than 30,000 students across three campuses.

Dedicated to academic excellence and making a positive impact on the world, UB offers extensive opportunities for research, experiential learning, and employment.

It is as well focused on building bridges between academia and industry and through its Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships (BEP) business unit, maintains corporate relationships with more than 500 corporate stakeholders — helping to share technology and resources, collaborate on R&D projects, and commercialize new technology and provide students with opportunities to learn and work in the private sector.