Your Top 1%: Partner Relationships in CRM
In the world of sports Customer Relationship Management, it has become a fairly common practice that all staff involved in ticket sales and retention should log their interactions with current and potential customers. I think everyone sees the benefit to this – more detailed profiles of fans, more visibility into sales and retention efforts and more insights around productivity and business decisions.
So, let’s run through a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say our team has 10,000 full and partial-plan season ticket holders. We know that in sports, a large percentage of revenue often comes from a small percentage of your highest value customers. So what would you think if I said, with regards to our CRM usage, that for the top 1%, roughly 100 of our most valuable customers, usage of CRM was “optional.” Go ahead and stick to Excel files, emails tucked away in Outlook folders and whatever you can remember from your last conversation.
Let’s think of this same scenario in a different industry, like casinos, where we know they have very robust loyalty and CRM systems. Casinos have dedicated staff for their biggest high rollers whose entire job is based on knowing every possible detail about these players to make sure they keep coming back. Would it make any sense to not use CRM for this “top 1%” but use it for the rest of the general customer population?
I think most of you reading this would think that my examples are crazy. If we’re using CRM to record our interactions with the other 99% of our customers, we should most certainly use it for our top 1%. Well, I raise this scenario to you because I see it happening far too often with teams… when it comes to our corporate partners. When you boil it down, a team has on average around 100 key sponsors, and yet the interest in capturing traditional relationship-driven data for this “top 1%” is spotty at best.
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Now I’m not saying teams don’t use CRM to help manage their sponsorship business – we see great usage of our KORE ProSports Sponsorship module to manage inventory, create proposals, generate contracts and track fulfillment of assets. However, one thing we’ve been trying to stress more recently is to not overlook the basics of activity and relationship data.
I had a recent conversation with an executive at another team and he mentioned this is something they struggle with. How much do they push their staff to log calls and appointments vs. what is the value of spending time on that. In general, there can be a middle ground where staff log activities “of note” – anything involving key learnings, important meetings and relationship data. However, I caution a bit that the more you rely on staff to make a judgment call on what is or isn’t important, they will be more and more likely to go with the path of least resistance, in other words, hardly logging anything.
So what do we do to fix this? Sometimes the easiest things are the simplest, things like:
- Hustleboards to make sure staff are at least hitting basic minimum thresholds
- Reports and Dashboards that feature the most recent activity date and details of that activity
- Key custom fields on the Contact and Account level that your staff are encouraged to complete and are judged on
- Easier interfaces that help overcome the objection to using the system
And finally, with any CRM-related initiative, its key to get philosophical buy-in from the key executives in that department. If they don’t believe in it and don’t check on the usage, then their staff won’t either.