by Michael Hurley – September 2015
Are you using your CRM system to project final renewal numbers? Are you able to identify accounts that might be harder to renew?
The Way We Were
In 2012, during my first renewal campaign with the Houston Astros working with then Director of Season Ticket Services, Alan Latkovic, our “CRM system” was an Excel spreadsheet with every single account listed as a line item and the columns laid out to reflect “touch points” or times of contact with Season Ticket Holders (example below).
This method of touch point management worked in lieu of an actual CRM system. But, there isn’t much tracking and it’s not easy to project renewals. When we rolled out Microsoft Dynamics CRM before the 2013 renewal campaign, our eyes were opened to the benefits of tracking renewals. Today, after years of tracking accounts and tendencies, we can project renewal numbers to the percentage point even before we receive the first response.
Using renewal scores we have real-time information on which accounts require a little more “love.” We quickly see which accounts have not responded at all. We strategically plan an offsite visit with them and maybe even take Orbit along.
Using CRM to Track Renewals
Alan Latkovic (@AlanLatkovic), Senior Director of Season Ticket Services and Operations with the Astros, accentuates the importance of using CRM to track renewals and project the final renewal numbers.
“With the tools of CRM we are able to score accounts who respond to the initial renewal call daily, monthly, and annually. Providing this data to our analytics team, we are then able to project renewals and carry the information over each season to create new renewal benchmarks.”
Tracking every conversation and response for each account ultimately makes the big picture become more clear. The Astros use a very simple but effective renewal tracking method throughout the renewal campaign. We categorize accounts based on an initial indication of renewal. If an account’s initial response to us when they receive their invoice is that they are not renewing, we mark them as “unlikely to renew” in CRM, at the same time if an account lets us know they are planning on renewing and processing the invoice, or “the check is in the mail” we mark them as “likely to renew” in CRM. Using renewal scores, we can project what an account will do, and by tracking the data of renewal scores over time, we then have an idea of what percentage of accounts in each score grouping will ultimately renew.
The Importance of Tracking Renewals
When it comes down to it, we simply cannot overlook the importance of tracking renewals and building renewal campaigns around the tools of CRM. Katherine Tran, Manager of Membership Services with FC Dallas, stresses the importance of being able to forecast future renewal cycles by using CRM:
“The importance of tracking renewals is second to none. It allows teams to pinpoint customer trends over the seasons and helps forecast future renewal cycles. Teams can plan their renewal efforts and campaigns based on data from previous years.”
When following trends in renewals over the years, and knowing which accounts renew and when, a much clearer picture emerges when forecasting renewal numbers. While using Excel will get the job done, it’s no comparison to the benefits a true CRM system provides.
Cover photo courtesy of Ezhil Ramalingam, India.