Rugby league CRM project wins fan clubs

More e-business now on the agenda

Some six months after it inked a CRM deal with vendor StayinFront, the National Rugby League (NRL) has extended the applications reach to 11 of the 16 clubs in the league.

The NRL's IT project manager, Marnie Hobbs, said 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 said.

StayinFront's Web-based CRM offering is used, which is siloed between clubs and "quite unique", according to Hobbs.

"All clubs have different types of members, but they all have members and can now do e-mail and SMS marketing directly in the system."

After going live in May, integration work with the nrl.com Web site has been done so that it feeds data into StayinFront, allowing the NRL to harvest more information about its visitors and undertake e-commerce activities.

"Our next move will be a portal so people can purchase things online," Hobbs said.

With most ticket sales through third-party merchant Ticketek, the two organizations have developed a better relationship and are beginning to exchange information more freely.

Hobbs said one of the most challenging things is convincing the clubs to adopt a Web-based CRM system.

"Parramatta Eels are 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 said.

"Now they are using the most modules."

The NRL's CRM system is hosted by WebCentral.

StayinFront chief technology officer Tony Bullen said the vendor is differentiating itself by including more tools for analytics and business intelligence directly in the CRM system.

"Analytics needs to be pervasive in CRM and our one product has both," he said.

Bullen believes that traditional in-house, enterprise CRM has many integration and configuration advantages over the new wave of hosted, software-as-a-service CRM offerings which can be "a stretch above contact management".

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