Off of the field, sports organisations are quickly realising the value of leading sport CRM software, or more specifically the benefits of fan engagement’ – one of a number of buzzwords currently trending across the sports sector, along with the likes of œdigital transformation; upporter activation; and long-standing candidateocial marketing.
For most UK professional clubs and associations, these terms are connected to indulgent exercises for giant sports brands with international followings. Real Madrid’s cloud partnership with Microsoft and Bayern Munich’s œDigital 4.0 project are recent examples in football. These high profile campaigns aresimplytoo unrealistic for the modest sales and marketing team of a battling mid-table club, but that shouldn’t hinder your ambitions. Our last articleprovidedsome tips on howsports clubs can manage marketing campaigns without using a CRM at all.
What about the rest of us?
In the real world, where cash that isn’t spent on enhancing first team performance doesn’t stretch to software solutions capable of connecting 450 million fans worldwide, what are we supposed to do to prove ROI on the spend we do have? Hereare some of the main considerations relevant to sports clubs considering a new CRM solution and we also have results from a sports marketing survey that we conducted recently that may interest you.
Out of those we surveyed, 22% said that a 360-degree view of their members is a desirable feature that they didn’t currently have. That means that nearly a quarter of those surveyed realise (and want to overcome) the guesswork involved when planning campaign for attendance drives and sales initiatives. As it stands, marketing teams have access to the analytics from isolated software applications which all partially reveal touch-points that fans and sponsors are experiencing with the club. A recent study byDeloitte’s US sports division identified that season ticket holders spend up to 5x more than non-season ticket holders (excluding the ticket cost). What is expected now at every professional level are single supporter views so that plans can be put in place to nurture casual supporters into season ticket holder fanatics.
With significant investments in sports (both performance and non-performance related) comes high expectations for immediate and long-term impacts from stakeholders. When looking for your next membership management solution, always consider things like:
- the solution’s development roadmap
- whether thefeatureswill still be valuable in 3-5years’ time,
- if ALL the functionality featured in the demos would still be relevant as external influences (like third party apps and end user technology) progress.
Even the quietest alarm bells at this point should be addressed. Our case studies show examples of how we have saved clubs and organisations from bespoke and robust solutions that were dreams come true at œgo-live but quickly aged poorly and became the most challenging obstacle that the marketing teams had to face.
Closely associated to your sport CRM’s future, is the ability to effortlessly expand as your club does, and¦ well, parachute’ down a division or two. Unlike the rest of the commercial world, where performing bad for a year can be quickly rectified after a couple of good months, a sports club’s size and success is largely limited by the division they are in for that season. Many CRM providers fail to recognise that professional sports organisations are more comfortable working on a season by season bases and not necessarily financial years. So firstly, question your CRM provider’s sports pedigree and case studies, then secondly, when negotiating user licenses and access rights, be sure to discuss how easy and flexible it is to add and remove users and viewers of your CRM so you are not contracted into licenses on their terms.
One of the major benefits that Microsoft Dynamics CRM has over rival sports softwareis its power to integrate. Microsoft Dynamics focuses on its strengths; aggregatingand displaying insights and metrics needed for critical, fast-paced decision-making. Microsoft has no intention of pretending to be venue access control experts or ticketing specialist. Instead the efforts are concentrated on a solution that connects seamlessly with specialist third-party apps and software that are specialists. Making your solution best-of-breed, reinforcing the previously mentioned future-proofing concept.
What else to expect from leading sport CRM software?
Social media management and social listening functionality, marketing automation, customer service, corporate relationship management, customer service features and real-time business intelligence dashboards are all elements of a sports CRM solution that you should be seriously considering as your next sales and marketing investment. m-hance has designed Sport 365, a pre-configured version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that brings the functionality ideal for sports sales and marketing departments to the forefront.