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"Salesforce has enabled us to build bridges between departments." - Christoph Andriessens, Head of Strategic IT Applications

Zeppelin University flies high with Salesforce

Zeppelin University has a mission: it aims to bridge business, culture and politics in order to ‘make the improbable probable’ – a phrase coined by the university’s patron, airship pioneer Graf Ferdinand von Zeppelin.

With Salesforce, the university has been able to create a collaborative, unified environment for its operational and academic activities.

As Christoph Andriessens, Head of Strategic IT Applications at Zeppelin University, explains: “Salesforce brings together all our contacts in one place, including details for our 1,175 students, 240 employees and business partners, prospects and sponsors. This has eliminated data silos and enabled us to build bridges between departments.”

A collaborative approach is particularly important when it comes to fund-raising: as a private university based in Germany, around two-thirds of the organisation’s funding comes from corporate sponsors.

“Sales Cloud helps us manage the interactions that are vital to securing the university’s long-term financial future,” says Andriessens. “We use it to track all communications with our sponsors – from corporate sponsors to organisations wanting to work with us on research projects,” explains Andriessens.

The remainder of Zeppelin University’s funding comes from student fees, so ensuring a steady influx of enrollments every year is also crucial.

“From the moment a potential student registers their interest on our website, they are engaging with Salesforce,” comments Andriessens. “Our applications team then monitors and tracks the leads so we can maximise the opportunities for enrolling new students.”

With more than 15,000 contacts centrally logged in Sales Cloud, organising events is now much easier. As Andriessens explains: “We used to create a new spreadsheet for every event to manage registrations, which equated to around 60 spreadsheets and a lot of duplicated effort.”

With Salesforce, the spreadsheets are no more: guests lists can be created from the central contacts database, and by integrating Sales Cloud with the university’s website, online registrations can be automatically captured and tracked.

“It’s very easy to develop new integrations and applications with Sales Cloud,” says Andriessens. “We use a range of apps from the AppExchange to ensure data quality.”

Thanks to Salesforce Mobile, this data can be viewed and updated by heads of department and the board of directors while working remotely. One such user is the University President, Professor Dr. Stephan A. Jansen.

“I now receive reports on a weekly basis, which wasn’t possible before as they took so long to compile,” he says. “This makes it easier for me to make informed and timely decisions.”

The flexibility of the solution has made it a popular tool not just with the executive team but with every department. The university has around 45 users in several departments including fundraising and the Careers Office.

“We have customised Sales Cloud so it can meet every team’s specific needs,” explains Andriessens. “We are now looking at other processes we can migrate to the solution, for example staying in touch with our alumni.”

With better data access, faster processes and greater collaboration, Zeppelin University can focus on developing its students and scholars to be pioneers like its famous patron.

“Our community is characterised by a commitment to scientific curiosity, academic excellence and social responsibility,” says Andriessens. “And with Salesforce, we’re in a better position to help the world’s high-fliers excel.”

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