CRM solutions that help businesses better understand their customers, like Microsoft Dynamics 365, are vital in a wide variety of industries that rely on positive, ongoing consumer relationships. The analytical power provided by Dynamics 365 allows companies to see the connections between many areas of operation and make changes that can increase efficiency, reduce waste and lead to better outcomes.

While college and professional sports teams have some of the most enduringly loyal customers in any sort of business-to-consumer relationship – there’s a reason they’re called fans, after all – these organizations can derive serious benefits from the right implementation and use of CRM solutions. One such team, the National Basketball League’s Portland Trail Blazers, has realized some major improvements in terms of maximizing arena capacity, forming positive, lasting relationships with season-ticket holders and gaining a stronger understanding of fan preferences.

Trail Blazers combat growing effectiveness of in-home technology
A post on Microsoft’s partner network blog detailed how sports teams in general are facing off against the development of consumer technology that takes fans closer to games than ever before,
without buying a ticket and taking a trip to the stadium or arena. Mobile devices, large-screen, high-definition TVs, highly efficient digital distribution of game information and more all combine to create an increasingly attractive at-home atmosphere for fans.

There are certainly differences, but in some significant ways, this shift in sports fans’ spending and decision-making habits mirrors an issue common in many areas of B2B and B2C sales: growing consumer ability and desire to shop from home, leading to more choices and price comparisons through eCommerce channels. In both situations, this leads to a more competitive marketplace and requires companies to adapt if they want to maintain relevance and build connections with customers. For the Trail Blazers, this meant using a variety of customer data dimensions to create a more attractive environment inside the confines of their home court at Portland’s Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers had an issue common to many companies still using legacy systems to try and gain insight into customer behavior and develop relationships. The organization could collect the data somewhat well, but it flowed into siloed systems that didn’t allow staff to gain insight into fan behavior or make decisions that have a major impact on operations. With data ranging from concession and merchandise sales to web search histories available to the team, it had the right incoming informational streams. It still needed the right CRM solution to make sense of that mountain of data.

Success with Microsoft Dynamics 365
Following a successful implementation, The Trail Blazers had a modern platform in place to manage, analyze and help the organization understand the many dimensions of consumer data it captured. With a unified system, there was no overlooking certain pieces of info. The team can now segment its fans into groups for more effective marketing and outreach, and can use similar processes to reach out to individual customers about promotions that they will be most interested in.

In terms of results, it’s easy to see how the Trail Blazers have improved. Here are just a few statistics demonstrating their growth using Dynamics CRM:

  • An average 100.5 percent arena seating capacity, indicating high and consistent ticket sales.
  • Selling out 37 of 41 home games.
  • Retention of 95 percent of season-ticket holders, ranking third-highest in the NBA.

While college and professional sports teams are definitely unique organizations, they face many of the same issues as many other businesses in terms of customer relationships and related information management. Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides the advantages customer-oriented organizations need to stay connected with and engaged with their consumer base.