While the economy may be slowly rebounding, spending in the realm of sporting events is still struggling to return to pre-recession numbers. Seeking to put more bodies in the stands, various professional and college sports teams are utilizing consumer relationship management (CRM).

CRMs are focused on managing an organization’s interaction with current and potentially new customers. Using computer programs, CRMs can turn complicated marketing campaigns into simple set-ups, taking the pressure off of the people who are in the front office by allowing them to focus on other areas of management.

A CRM can be created for various areas of a team’s operations, from marketing, to customer service, to ticket sales. Many teams that implement CRMs tend to focus on marketing, creating CRM databases that allow the team to keep track of who is purchasing tickets and in what section those tickets are so that the team will be able to target specific groups with offers for future games. An additional growing area of CRM focus is customer service, wherein any time a customer interacts with the customer service team, a notation is made regarding what topic was discussed.

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In recent years, CRMs have begun to streamline into phone and tablet applications, allowing for fast and easy usage by sports teams. In 2011, the Boston Red Sox made headlines by officially adopting parts of Green Beacon Solutions’ CRM app, which is based on Microsoft Dynamics’ CRM.

Currently, the Red Sox are utilizing the app to look into the inventory management model, which refers to premium seating and event venues. Under this model, the Red Sox have more streamlined access to data than under their previous system. “The CRM system gave us a better view of what we can book, when certain seats were available, and in terms of customer knowledge, who liked what. We no longer were relying on our gut for how well we were doing,” Curran Raclin, senior operations analyst for the Red Sox, told CRM Buyer.com.

The Red Sox are planning to expand its use of the CRM in the 2012 season, delving into fan services and family enterprises non-game day events. But the Red Sox is hardly the only sports franchise using CRMs. Teams that have implemented CRMs in their marketing, ticketing, and customer service strategies include the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Phoenix Suns.

The Suns, like the Red Sox, implemented its CRM system to overcome the disconnect between ticket sales and the organization’s customer service database. Through the use of Microsoft Dynamics’ CRM, the Suns now know more about each individual customer than through the old system.

With the constant drive for sports teams to retain past customers while searching out new patrons, CRMs appear to have revolutionized the ability to maintain comprehensive databases that create the ultimate marketing and fan service experience. As more and more CRMs transition into the realm of apps, the ability of teams to consistently access CRM information will almost certainly lead to even greater use of CRMs.

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