Fiona Green | 15th October 2015


Thanks to #sportsbiz executives who participated in our survey to understand more about the industry’s relationship with CRM.

So what did we learn? Well not a lot that we didn’t already know to be honest – and I doubt you’ll be surprised either….


The number one challenge faced by our survey respondents is…..getting their data in one place, the Single Customer View, the Holy Grail of CRM and and the bane of everyone aspiring to be a data-driven business.

Admittedly, as consultants in this field who work with data 24/7, we don’t understand why this is perceived as such a difficult thing to achieve – yes it can be time-consuming but once you know where all your data is, have agreed your standards, your data governance is in place, and you have identified the right technology, the rest is just a process. In fact we’ve even been so bold as to say it’s the software salesmen that like to make it sound more complicated than it is……


The number two challenge cited is securing cross-organisational or management buy-in and admittedly we see this quite a lot (indeed, as I write this I’m on a train to visit a prospective client who has named this as the number one topic he wants to discuss with me!)

Again, maybe because as a business who’s main focus is in this industry area (as opposed to staging events, managing player transfers, making sure our venues conform to safety and performance regulations, etc.) that we also take a simplistic view of this particular problem. If you were to ask us how we do this, we’d say quick-as-a-flash, identify your business objectives and focus areas (those things that keep your management awake at night), and list the ways CRM can help you achieve them. And then, as a priority, look for some quick-wins that will get your management or other departments to sit up and take notice. We’re talking low-budget/no-budget actions that will produce the intended response that directly contribute to one or more of those business objectives.


The number 3 challenge from the survey was what we consider the absolute essence of CRM for the sports industry (indeed for any industry): nurturing fans into loyal customers.

This is what we want – for sofa spectators to become ticket buyers, for ticket buyers to become season ticket buyers, for executive box holders to become sponsors, players to become referees, etc., etc. The key is getting our stakeholders from one level of engagement to the next, to maintain and strengthen our relationships with them…..with the aim of supporting our business objectives.

The #sportsbiz Value Exchange

Interestingly the challenge that is considered the least concern is collecting data – that’s because this is the sports industry and the value exchange is one of our key strengths.

Consider this, Amazon want to know your household income and in return will give you a sneak preview of next week’s top book launch…..what do you think, will you do it? But then your football team wants to know the same but in return will give you access to their squad announcement ahead of the national press and a chance to win a training session with the squad. Now you’re talking! You’d probably give them your household income, your tax code and your inside leg measurement for that privilege!

So perhaps the survey confirmed a lot that we already know, but it really brings the challenges of sports organisation into focus:  align your customer data, get organisational buy-in and nurture your fan relationships.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But we understand this process can be daunting. In fact the survey comment that arguably left the most lasting impression on us was from the poor soul who answered that “My number one wish is that I didn’t have to use CRM. But I know that’s not an option!

Hey, if you’re reading this and that’s what you’re thinking right now, please get in touch – let’s see if we can help turn that situation around for you because once you know how powerful CRM and BI can be as a business tool, you’ll not only wish you didn’t have to use it, you’ll want to use it more, go deeper, and plan more strategically.

If you’d like to know more of the survey results, please contact us and we’ll gladly share them with you. All respondents were guaranteed anonymity so no contact data will be shared.


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