5.3 Customer Relationship Management

You’ll you need a customer relationship management strategy to manage customer information in a way that provides you with reports on your customers, groups of customers, and your individual interactions with them.

Customer relationship management—known as CRM—is a way of organizing and segmenting your customer information to make marketing and sales easier, track interactions, and record the information.

The term “CRM” has become synonymous with software systems to the point where they are always considered together. There are hundreds of CRM’s on the market. Many of them , like Sales Force, are very comprehensive, complex, and designed to handle the needs of large enterprise companies. These mammoth systems are also expensive and probably not right for your needs.

You may already be working with a CRM and if it meets your needs, great. If you don’t have a CRM, we recommend reviewing our list of simple CRM’s for small businesses.

Some systems can be used for all aspects of your business including financial transactions. While basic ones perform only marketing functions. These are just a few of the many options that are available. We recommend doing demos or tutorials on them before making a decision about which is best for you. Of course, CRM system preferences are as unique as fingerprints and the final decision is yours to make based on your needs.

Our customer data organization chart helps you understand how your customer data should be organized and segmented within your CRM.

As you can see, the first delineation is the team’s sector.

This sector is separated by sport and type of customer. Obviously, this is only a small portion of what your CRM might contain, but you can see in this example that the system will allow you to “slice and dice” different sectors, sports, and customers to create a target group based on the campaigns you’re planning.

Segmenting your customer data allows you to easily market to a particular sports segment or group of customers when you’re ready to run promotions, create awareness campaigns, and do other marketing. For example, you may want to send all booster customers a campaign on creative fundraising ideas for team training. If your CRM is set up correctly, it’s as simple as selecting the group and sending the communication.

We can’t stress enough how critical the initial set-up of your CRM is. You should follow the provided diagram when setting up your CRM.

Some CRM’s are flexible enough to set up your own structure while others require you to work with the provider to set it up if it needs to be customized.

You should think of your CRM as a living entity. It will grow and change as time goes by. You will not have all of the information up front, but you must commit to obtaining more information as time goes by and updating information as things change. This means that you’re always discovering new teams and customers, as well as getting new information on existing customers and teams.