• April 1, 2012
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Improving Ticket Sales When You Already Sell Out

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The Boston Red Sox have sold out every home game at historic Fenway Park since May 2003. Granted, the team's record-setting sellout streak is aided by the fact that, with seating for slightly more than 37,000 people, Fenway has the lowest capacity of any stadium in the major leagues.

Nonetheless, with 700 straight sellouts, one might think the team doesn't need to worry about improving the fan experience or better serving its customers. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

When the 2012 season kicks off this month, the team will again be using Sports CRM from Green Beacon Solutions to increase targeted customer interactions, manage opportunities, and improve customer service. It first implemented the system in 2011.

Sports CRM, which is built on the Microsoft Dynamics xRM platform, will integrate information from various sources, including the Red Sox ticketing, finance, sales, and customer service systems, to provide the team with real-time access to critical business development data.

Using integrated predictive analytics, the Red Sox can develop targeted promotions and marketing programs, understand and recall the preferences of long-term customers, and improve visibility into the sale of higher-end clubhouse seats and private suites, single-game tickets or multigame packages, night or weekend games, or those against certain teams. The team can then pair ticket offerings with other special amenities, like visits from the team mascot or team legends, based on the individual preferences of its fans.

Having all the ticket-holder information in one central system will enable the customer service team to integrate inbound customer communications into a single service record to provide detailed profiles and streamline the overall response cycle.

The team first rolled out the Green Beacon system in January 2011 within its ticketing office to manage ticket sales and waiting lists. "The movement toward a central CRM implementation here took some time," recalls Curran Raclin, Red Sox senior operations analyst. "We talked about it for years but never moved forward."

Now Raclin wonders why it took so long. Sports CRM "has been a tremendous marketing boom," he says. "It's been much easier to sell for games with this system."

Sports CRM has led to a 20 percent increase in the Red Sox's offer-to-conversion ratio. "Specifically, we are able to make more strategic offers to fans while maintaining our conversion rates," Raclin says. "We expect to see that rate increase as we continue to develop a more sophisticated system in 2012. I'm really looking forward to working with it this year."

Raclin says he chose Green Beacon as the team's CRM system provider because of its flexibility and robust capabilities. He especially likes the idea of eliminating all the spreadsheets that used to fill his office and having real-time access to critical business development data.

"The only thing that concerned me was the ease of use," he says, noting that some people in the front offices have been with the Red Sox organization for a long time and have become set in their ways. "But Green Beacon designed the system so it's easy to follow."

About 50 people will be using the system this year, and Green Beacon even worked with the Red Sox to make sure everyone received the proper training.

"In today's competitive marketplace, sports organizations like the Boston Red Sox need to use innovative technologies to drive their businesses forward," says Benjamin Holtz, president and CEO of Green Beacon Solutions, which is based in Newton, Mass. "We are proud that our implementation of Microsoft Dynamics xRM and Sports CRM will provide the Red Sox with key tools to effectively manage their inventory and improve the fans' overall experience. Sports CRM is a dynamic and flexible solution that can deliver similar results for other leading sports and entertainment organizations."

Raclin, in the meantime, says he's "very happy with the implementation so far and excited to see where it can take us."

He's also excited about the start of the season and likes his team's chances this year under new manager Bobby Valentine. The season home opener is April 13 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Not surprisingly, the game is already sold out.

The Payoff

Since implementing the Green Beacon Sports CRM solution, the Boston Red Sox have been able to:

  • increase their offer-to-conversion ratio for ticket sales by 20 percent;
  • integrate inbound customer communications into a single service record;
  • bring ticket-holder data from a number of disparate systems into one central repository; and
  • gain real-time access to critical business development data.

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