Sportsnet Holidays needed a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to handle data that was spread among 220 separate databases. Sportsnet implemented Microsoft Dynamics® CRM, which dramatically improved customer service, business intelligence and target marketing capabilities. The firm’s revenue has doubled in the last 12 months and Sportsnet credits Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a contributing factor to the company’s exponential growth.
Sportsnet Holidays capitalizes on the Australian passion for sports by putting together sports-centric vacation packages. Each trip represents a unique product offering that can include almost any sporting event—from the World Cup to the World Series.
Over the past 11 years, the Victoria, Australia–based company has flourished. The foundation for its success is the way that employees deliver service—with flair and a personal touch. Such notable service would be impossible without databases to capture and track nearly every relevant customer detail. For Sportsnet, the tool that began as their best choice—the spreadsheet—eventually became unmanageable. The company created separate spreadsheet-based databases for each Australian state, sporting association, international sporting event, and tour operation. Soon, employees were managing 220 different databases that included 50,000 unique records.
“It was just impossible to manage all those databases,” recalls Rob Cecconi, Executive Chairman and Founder for Sportsnet Holidays. “We had no conventions around the data, so one database might capture data points or use different field headings than another one.”
That made it very difficult, according to Cecconi, for the marketing department to access aggregate customer data and drill down into specific categories across databases to compile targeted marketing lists for newly developed products.
Worse still, for a company whose reputation rested upon intimate business relationships with customers, the lack of visibility into the data led to embarrassing moments.
“It wasn’t unusual for customers who appeared on multiple databases to receive the same e-mail blast many times,” explains Cecconi. “Those mishaps made us look unprofessional and they were counter to our goal of providing an exceptional customer experience. I decided it was time to take our service delivery to a higher level.”
Cecconi’s due diligence began with reviews of Goldmine and Salesforce.com. Then, over lunch one day, a friend suggested that he meet with JayThom, a company that specializes in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, specifically Microsoft Dynamics® CRM.
|At a time when the global economy has slowed down, we have doubled our business in the last 12 months—and the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has certainly been a contributing factor in that success.|
Executive Chairman and Founder, Sportsnet Holidays
“The people at JayThom were brilliant,” says Cecconi. “They took the time to learn about my business, the specific challenges we faced and what our vision was for the future.”
JayThom, a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, installed Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows® SharePoint® Services. JayThom then integrated the Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 messaging and collaboration client and the company’s ExactTarget e-mail marketing program with the solution. To round out the initial implementation, JayThom wrote a short-message-service (SMS) add-on for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enable text communications directly to customers.
“The ease of integrating the solutions with our existing Microsoft stack was very important to us,” recalls Cecconi. “We needed our systems to operate virtually seamlessly. And we liked that Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrates well with robust e-mail marketing solutions like ExactTarget.”
To date, the CRM system has been rolled out to the sales and marketing teams. Future phases will fold in the firm's e-business and corporate teams.
Sportsnet Holidays uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to more effectively target marketing campaigns, improve customer service, enhance business intelligence, and boost employee productivity.
“At a time when the global economy has slowed down, we have doubled our business in the last 12 months—and the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM has certainly been a contributing factor in that success,” says Cecconi.
Targeted marketing campaigns create competitive advantage. The ability to quickly create and carry out targeted marketing campaigns helps Sportsnet beat competitors to the punch. “As much as 20 percent of tickets are sold in the first two days of availability,” says Cecconi. “Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps us capture more of that business than we could have previously.”
Targeted customer communications reduce “unsubscribes” by 50 percent. Microsoft Dynamics CRM automatically manages requests from customers who want to “unsubscribe” to e-mail campaigns, as well as hard and soft bounces, to save the company about 500 hours a year in administrative time.
Orders of magnitude improve customer service. The addition of fields for personal information—such as favorite sports and teams, names of family members and personal interests—significantly increases the ability of sales people to establish rapport with clients. “We use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to create a level of intimacy with our customers that wasn’t possible before,” Cecconi says.
Also, having a single customer view—rather than hundreds of different spreadsheets—improved the firm's brand image by eliminating duplicate e-mail blasts to customers.
Business intelligence capabilities inform product development decisions. Vacation product managers use customer data to make informed decisions. “When a new horseracing event becomes available, for example, we look at how many potential horseracing fans we have in our database,” says Cecconi. “Then we calculate projected sales and balance potential revenues against projected costs to make a yes or no decision about creating the travel package.”
Automation and integration boosts employee productivity. The firm’s Web site currently enjoys 50,000 unique visitors a month. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has replaced a time-consuming, manual process used to import informational inquiries for the sales team to follow up with. “This single change has saved us many labor hours that we can use on more productive tasks,” says Cecconi.