What Exactly is a CRM and Why Do You Need It?

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Senior Client Administrator, PatronManager. 

Dear [Patron Name],

Thank you for attending [last Thursday’s show], we really hope you enjoyed it! If you did, you might want to consider coming back for [this show in June] as it’s the same style. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit different maybe come to [this weekend’s show] as it would definitely be a change of pace. [Include information about this weekend’s show]. Plus, if you order online using [this discount code], you can bring a friend for 50% off! Hope to see you soon!

Many organizations wish they could write this email, but are missing key information. While it’s possible to track all this data with an excel spreadsheet, it’s a lot of manual work with a great deal of room for human error. Ticketing software can track who purchased tickets to what show, and maybe even if they attended, but you’d still need to do a lot of manual work to cross-reference if those same patrons had purchased tickets to other shows, and to find other key data to make this email the most effective it can be. While spreadsheets are useful (and might be able to help you aggregate this data eventually), a better, easier, and faster solution is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. Salesforce is the CRM system upon which PatronManager was built. A CRM system can help your organization gather insights from your customers. It basically builds the Excel spreadsheet for you. And, if you’re using Salesforce, it’s in the cloud, so no more emailing those spreadsheets or wishing you had your flash drive with you; everyone can see the same report (possibly even your board members, from their phone, in a board meeting)! Let’s take a look at that email above and break down exactly how this information would be tracked with a CRM system:

Dear [Patron Name]

You’d be able to fill in this information with the patron’s preferred name as they entered it online when they purchased tickets from you or when they gave it at the box office. You can even be more formal and give it a salutation. This patron’s name is now a contact record in your CRM system and is connected to anything and everything this patron does.

Thank you for attending [last Thursday’s show], we really hope you enjoyed it!

The CRM system captured that the patron not only purchased a ticket to last Thursday’s show and connected that information to their contact record, but when the patron was scanned in at the door, they were marked as having been in attendance. No more sending confusing emails to patrons who couldn’t make it due to weather, emergencies, or other distractions.

If you did, you might want to consider coming back for [this show in June] as it’s the same style.

Because we know what purchases the patron has already made, we can verify that they don’t already have tickets to this show in June. It would be awkward to send out an invitation to someone who has already RSVP’d!

Or, if you’re looking for something a bit different maybe come to [this weekend’s show] as it would definitely be a change of pace. [Include information about this weekend’s show].

We know that they don’t have tickets to this weekend’s show through the same reporting method as above. We can also include the description of the show as written by your marketing department which is also stored in the CRM system! This way, you can ensure that the language you are using is consistent with all other promotional materials.

Plus, if you order online using [this discount code], you can bring a friend for 50% off!

If the patron goes online or calls the box office and uses this code, you’ll be able to track how effective your recommendation campaign was. It’s a great way to measure what campaigns are worth your time and effort in the future.

All of this and so much more is possible with the data collected through a CRM system. From tracking donors to subscribers to first-time ticket buyers, a CRM can open up all sorts of possibilities. It truly allows you to interact and relate with your customers on a more personal level without adding a huge amount of work. Plus if you put your data into a CRM system in the cloud (like Salesforce) not only is the information accessible by anyone with login information anytime, anywhere; it’s also more secure, less likely to be corrupted, environmentally friendly, and you no longer have to worry about losing all your data if your computer suddenly gets a virus, dropped in a puddle of water, or some other data-destroying disaster.

It’s time to dump the spreadsheets and do yourself (and your organization) a favor by managing your customer relationships with a CRM system in the cloud.

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