By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the late Slim Dusty's "Losin' My Blues Tonight." Dusty's by far the most celebrated musician in Australian history, and his country sound is best described as what Jimmie Rodgers might sound like channeled through Hank Snow with a good country-rock bar band behind him. Much better than you'd probably expect, it's a shame this man never hit it big in the States:
Here's an interesting bit: First Coffee's seen CRM verticalized for just about any industry you can name off the top of your head, sport -- as in the athletes themselves -- is a new one.
Australia's New South Wales Institute of Sport will "embark on a new information race starting this week, with a new customer relationship management (CRM) system which will link the sporting data of more than 700 athletes in 28 different sports from across the state," according to industry observer Penny Jones.
Signing with Sydney-based Australian sports performance start-up Athletic Logic, Jones reports, "the institute will do away with two disparate systems instead putting all its money on a AU$50,000 customized CRM system called Athletrak."
Americans use CRM to track fans, ticket buyers and targets of sports merchandising. Using CRM to track the athletes themselves, well, if this is happening in
Last summer CRM vendor Sage announced that the Buffalo Sabres National Hockey League team implemented Sage CRM to automate ticket sales, customer service and marketing activities.
Over thirty Sabres employees access the CRM system to manage sales and marketing programs including the Sabres Insider and SabresKidz Clubs. The Sabres have measured a significant increase in ticket sales and a 20 percent reduction in customer service administration since implementing Sage CRM in 2004, Sage officials say.
“The greatest thing about Sage CRM is the way it ties everything together for us,” explained Tom Matheny, database marketing manager for the Buffalo Sabres. “Sales, marketing and our account services department all use the same information.”
That's the usual view of CRM in the sporting world -- how to treat fans as ATMs. It's nice to see the technology being used for the benefit of the athletes themselves. And if a man can dream, maybe, someday, to…improve the fan experience at sporting events in ways that don't translate into higher concession and merchandising sales? Sorry, sorry, I know, I… lost myself there for a second.
"Athletes, coaches and high performance service staff, including sport science, sport psychology, athlete career and education and medical, will use Athletrak to manage data on sporting progress, individual athlete's information, and research and testing along with accounting, payroll and administrative staff," Jones says.
Evidently the vendor, Athletic Logic, already "provides a similar system for every major Australian NRL, AFL and ARU club, and has made headway in the
Greg Baxter, NSWIS Communications and Technologies manager, tells Jones "we have a lot of coaches who work offsite around the state -- Athletrak plugs into the backend of SQL Server 2005, which means these people can run it off their notebooks without needing wireless or a LAN. When the coaches come back to the office they can simply download this information into the system -- which keeps the costs to us down."
Hosted CRM vendor SalesNexus, which also sells web-based contact management software, has added a new mobile tool to compliment its core product line, company officials say.
The new mobile tool, available only to current SalesNexus Premium Edition subscribers, is a web-based contact management software program that allows wireless synchronization of contacts and calendar to Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm PDAs and virtually any cell phone with an address book, officials promise.
Using the SalesNexus mobile contact management software program, sales representatives in the field can "access and update basic calendar and contact information, such as phone numbers and addresses, as well as unique business-specific information that can be customized based on the needs of the sales team," SalesNexus officials say. "Once the sales rep enters new or updated information, it immediately becomes available to the rest of the sales and support staff."
Craig Klein, President of SalesNexus, noted that "most sales organizations waste time with a lot of internal communication before responding to a client's needs. With information that's always up to date, anywhere, anytime, the entire team can take action without hesitation."
FTS, a vendor of Business Control, Billing and CRM products for communications service providers, has announced the availability of Leap Billing version 4.0, what company officials describe as "a carrier grade, next generation converged pre/post product for wireless, wire-line, cable, ISP, and multi-play service providers."
Comprised of integrated customer care and billing, Leap Billing version 4.0 is being marketed for its "flexibility in billing" and time-to-market for any communication service. The product is currently deployed or being implemented worldwide.
Company officials say it can help service providers "create additional revenue by billing for new multi-play services that cannot be billed using their current systems." They say it lets providers "increase customer satisfaction by empowering subscribers to control their own service package, modifying and provisioning without a customer service representative intervention," with "real-time event analysis, execution, and charging."
Version 4.0 introduces an Online Charging Engine which combines charging and business control capabilities with the "performance and robustness" for Prepaid IN systems.
Furthermore, the new version is equipped with a state-of-the-art voucher management system, allowing any customer, regardless of their payment method, to purchase and replenish with vouchers. The voucher management module provides complete voucher lifecycle management, including bulk and lot generation, ordering, distribution, and recharging accounts or specific services and content.
Yair Sakov, VP Marketing & Business Development, noted that by providing a single rating engine, a single CRM product and a single product catalog, Leap Billing Version 4.0 "offers true convergence on multiple levels."
Auto/Mate Dealership Systems has announced the introduction of a new feature in its Automotive Management Productivity Suite dealership management system. Dash/Mate can be used to select graphical elements, called widgets, that can display dealership vital statistics, and allows them to be viewed at-a-glance.
AMPS by Auto/Mate offers more than 20 fully integrated modules, including Sales, F&I, Fixed Operations, Accounting, CRM, Fleet Sales and more. Users throughout a dealership can use Dash/Mate to set up customized, graphical representations of particular metrics they are interested in.
For instance, a general manager might want to keep abreast of the number of vehicle sales each day to see if the dealership is on track for the month. Dash/Mate allows the GM to create a widget graphical element such as a bar chart, meter or thermometer, that can be displayed in AMPS at all times.
In other words, dashboard-style "idiot lights" for management.
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