The Warriors rugby league franchise plans to install a new CRM system next year, using StayinFront software that is being rolled out across all the clubs in the National Rugby League (NRL).
Vodafone Warriors membership manager Leon Marsh says the Auckland club plans to run the StayinFront system in tandem with its existing system, as a trial, for the first few months.
Marsh says a successful 2007 season is expected to lead to an increase in season and corporate members in 2008.
“We will look to use the system to ensure that we offer regular correspondence with these members and to allow easier internal communication around interactions between the club and sponsors, members and suppliers,” he says.
“Early interest levels are indicating a significant increase in membership, with the new CRM system being the ideal way to manage these larger numbers.”
The rollout comes six months after the NRL inked a deal with StayinFront. In that time 11 of the 16 NRL clubs have adopted the software.
The NRL’s Australian-based IT project manager, Marnie Hobbs, says all 16 clubs use different methods — from spreadsheets to CRM systems — but they all had trouble managing information about their members.
“The NRL wanted to make sure all the clubs had access to the same technology,” Hobbs says.
StayinFront’s web-based CRM offering, which is being siloed between the clubs, is “quite unique”, says Hobbs.
“All clubs have different types of members, but they all have members and [they] can now do email and SMS marketing directly in the system.”
After going live in May, integration work with the nrl.com website has now been completed so it can feed data into StayinFront, allowing the NRL to harvest more information about visitors and to undertake e-commerce activities.
“Our next move will be a portal, so people can purchase things online,” Hobbs says.
With most ticket sales going through third-party merchant Ticketek, the two organisations have developed a better relationship and are beginning to exchange information more freely.
Hobbs says one of the biggest challenges has been convincing clubs to adopt a web-based CRM system.
“[Sydney’s] Parramatta Eels were the most behind in terms of technology, so we had to do the most work with the management team so they understood the security of the data,” Hobbs says. “Now they are using the most modules.”
The NRL’s CRM system is hosted by WebCentral.
The Warriors’ Marsh says it’s a “great system” and the perfect concept for the NRL as it will allow the clubs to improve their communications both internally and externally.
StayinFront’s chief technology officer, Tony Bullen, says the vendor is differentiating itself by including more tools for analytics and business intelligence directly in the CRM system.
“Analytics need to be pervasive in CRM and our one product has both,” he says.
StayinFront was founded in 2000 through the merger of New Zealand software company Great Elk with Windsoft.
Other customers in New Zealand besides the Warriors include the local branch of pharmaceutical company Merch Sharpe and Dohme.