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CRM – What does it mean for clubs?

So, as many of you will know, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, but what does this really mean?
For some this means marketing, for others it means a sales database and for others a communications register. So what is the right answer? The real answer is a combination, but it depends on your business, your goals and your customers.
CRM is typically a technology solution that helps you deliver strategies to manage sales for new business and prospecting as well as manage existing business relationships and customers. In the club world, whether golf or city, public or private, CRM is vital in the battle for retention and growing your new business opportunities.
So, if you don’t have a CRM system or are thinking of implementing one, speed is of the essence, as you can be sure your competitors are already using or considering it!!
I know purchasing or buying software licences can be a daunting process, especially if you are not that tech savvy, but it is an absolute must to manage your business. The blue-chip organisations use systems like salesforce, but I think that would be like using a sledge hammer to knock in a nail for clubs (multisite and very large operators aside).
There are many smaller providers that work for clubs, but if you really want to do CRM right, it must integrate with your club management system. CRM is about knowing your customers and members inside and out, and the only way to do that is by utilising the data your club systems provide.
Knowing your club’s demographics, individuals, how often they visit the club, what they do when they are there, how they book activities, when they book activities, what they buy, how much they spend are just a few examples of the data CRM systems need in order for you to increase retention and maximise revenue.
How you use this information, in line with your club goals and strategies, sales processes and practices is up to you; you know your club best. But, without a CRM system to help you manage and maximise, it’s guess work as to what will work. You may have had success in the past with different promotions or campaigns, but until you know your customers, how will you ever know what will work best?
The general idea is to better understand your member, provide them with more things they like at your club, get them to spend more when they are there and in turn they will be a member for longer. It’s pretty simple really. The same general rule applies for customers and visitors too, but you have the added bonus of being able to convert them to members, seeing as you now know them inside and out!!
CRM will help you grow your business, achieve your goals and make you an extremely professional operator who maximises all revenue opportunities. The other great thing is ROI, it is very easy to see a return on investment with CRM. You probably have steady figures for the past 3 or 4 years to compare against, so why not invest and see for yourself what CRM could do for your club over the next 6, 12 or 24 months, I think you will be surprised and wonder how you ever worked without it!!
ESP Leisure provide CRM as part of their standard club management offering, meaning all of this data on customers and members is automatically available to utilise. Understanding your club and its customers has never been easier than with ESP!!!
For more info call ESP on 02082515100 or email me direct on
Steve is a PGA Professional with 20 years club experience in teaching, retailing, membership, sales, marketing, operations and management. He spent 3 of those years in NC, USA and has worked at some of the UK’s premier venues including private members club, Bearwood Lakes and European Tour site The London Golf Club. For the last 8 years he has worked in the club technology space, helping clubs achieve goals through IT best practice and better use of management software. Steve is currently working with ESP Leisure, but has overseen the sales, project management and delivery of systems both as an operator and as a supplier.

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