After starting life as the Buffalo Braves in 1970, then getting a new home as the San Diego Clippers from 1978, the LA Clippers ultimately made ‘the City of Angels’ their home from the 1984 / 85 NBA season.
Even then, they were unsettled for many years, playing second fiddle to the Championship-winning LA Lakers and their ‘showtime’ celebrity status in California, USA. After reaching a low in 2014 when the NBA forced the sale of the team on then-owner Donald Sterling, the team was bought by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The Clippers are still chasing their first Championship, but they are now the ‘front office’ technology leaders across the NBA and one of the best in US professional sports.
Their weapon? EngageRM and the Microsoft ecosystem.
Charles Sims, Head of Technology, LA Clippers
The Clippers made large strides in the past few years from a low base, but still had several challenges competing in the world’s most competitive sports market, when they first met with the EngageRM team. As Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Charles Sims explains, ensuring that technology worked well across the entire organisation was difficult.
“In the past, CRM has been challenging for users to adopt. For a lot of people, it just feels like additional work and it feels like a chore. We had trouble with staff using the tools properly”, said Sims. “Our people had information written on scraps of paper, different processes everywhere and it was very hard to effectively track progress.”
In addition, the Clippers had data in multiple locations and were frustrated by the inability of their existing systems to collate the information in a meaningful way and surface it effectively to different groups within the business: owners, senior management, sales and operational staff, all of whom needed different but related information.
The Clippers were also faced with using multiple systems because of the limited capability of their existing tech. Over 100 different solutions were needed to cater for the range of tasks that had to be completed.
“We needed a solution that would actually make people better and deliver more revenue. We needed to process more leads, collect all the information available in one place and avoid multiple separate systems”, said Sims. “Then we found EngageRM”.
The Solution & Benefits
The additional benefit was having centralised information available to everyone in the business. COVID meant that many teams lost considerable IP when staff were laid off. Information about sales, entitlements and relationships were gone – adding chaos to the chaos. The Clippers had all their information safely stored in EngageRM with full visibility to everyone in the organisation.
With sales scripts embedded into the CRM, staff can now follow exact processes to increase sales results. Adding AI-enabled ‘Conversation Intelligence’ has meant that every call can be tracked for adherence to the sales script, to gain insights about customers and for sales coaching purposes.
EngageRM’s extensive functionality across ticketing, partnerships, hospitality, suites, membership, venue management, community engagement and much more has meant that the range of technology required at the Clippers has drastically reduced. All data is stored centrally with a single instance of CRM, not multiple systems across the business. This is particularly valuable now that the Clippers have acquired the LA Forum and are building a new facility due to open in 2024, the Intuit Dome.
Martech and Adtech has also been integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem, allowing clean data flows and a ‘360 degree’ profile of the customer that is just not possible with multiple platforms. All areas of the business have full reporting capability and decisions can be made based on real-time data.
Importantly, the productivity of the organisation has improved, despite the challenges and staff reductions brought about by COVID. Many time-consuming processes have been automated, including the rollover of memberships and partnerships, marketing journeys for prospects and capture of all information from emails and appointments.
With data accessible from the CRM, the team have valuable tools to aid in their day-to-day work, with in-built sales scripts, quota and goal metrics enabling insights to be shared.
Nearly all functionality is ‘out of the box’, ensuring it is repeatable but customisable and that the system is growing as business requirements develop. The organisation is using the right tools for the right job, with EngageRM at the centre.
The Clippers are now enabling ‘frictionless fan engagement’ and making the entire experience for the fan easier. As Sims says, it means a better experience for all concerned:
“Everyone has the right information at the right time without having to make 50 different calls, enabling us to be agile. Our philosophy is not to collect data to be big brother – it’s all around the fan experience. We want to enhance the 365-day experience so that people feel connected and part of something meaningful”, said Sims.
“We now have the right technology to realise our business ambitions off the court that will mean we can deliver our first Championship on it.
“With EngageRM, we know it’s going to work!”