Buffalo Sabres Fire Up Fans With SageCRM

“The future starts now,” says the marketing slogan of the Buffalo Sabres, fi nishing one of the best
seasons in the NHL team’s history. SageCRM has brought the team success off the ice–as well by
bringing their database systems into the future–by integrating numerous departments.
“We had a combination of proprietary systems, custom database applications and-third party
products throughout the organization,” says Tom Matheny, database marketing manager. “The
lack of integration and functionality limited our ability to effectively grow and service our customer
base.”
SageCRM Ties It Together
In 2004, the Buffalo Sabres implemented SageCRM, an easy-to-use, feature-rich solution
providing enterprise-wide access to vital customer information. The software has automated all
aspects of customer relations management, from account services and season-ticket information,
to ticket sales and processing.
“The greatest thing about SageCRM is the way it ties everything together for us,” Matheny says.
“Sales, marketing, and our account services department all use the same information. Often
our customers have requests that need to be handled by other departments. With SageCRM,
information can immediately be sent to a season ticket holder who is interested in sponsorship
opportunities. We can then schedule the proper response, and attach a detailed history to the
patron’s account. This has signifi cantly streamlined our administration—and made our fans much
happier.”
Fantastic Follow-Up
The Sabres use SageCRM to record all communications with fans. “With the software, we create
a viable community with our followers, including ongoing outreach efforts and follow-up programs
after anyone attends an event. This strengthens cross-sell activities,” Matheny explains.
“For instance, members with club-level seating have the opportunity to purchase tickets to other
HSBC Arena events before they are offered to the general public. Members can choose to receive
this information by fax or email, and their preference is stored in SageCRM. This makes it easy to
communicate with them quickly whenever we have a special offer.”

Marketing Campaigns
With SageCRM, the Sabres create their own outbound marketing
campaigns. The software generates targeted lists, such as former
season ticket holders or concert patrons, and then tracks wave
activity for different variations on the list and program contents.
“SageCRM adds a new level of professionalism to our direct mail,
telemarketing and email campaigns,” Matheny notes. “The detailed
reports we generate with the software give us immediate results, so
we can tweak a campaign for greater effectiveness. Our campaigns
are at least 20 percent more successful due to SageCRM.”
Insider News
The Sabres Insider club has grown to over 45,000 members this
season. Insider members receive news, special offers and advanced
information via email as well as exclusive content on the Sabres’
webpage, www.sabres.com. For example, Sabres Insiders were able
to purchase tickets to the fi rst round of the NHL playoffs before they
went on sale to the general public. The list is managed in SageCRM
and gives the Sabres an effective way to get information into the
hands of its fans quickly.
Smarter Strategies
A customization of SageCRM allows seamless integration with
Tickets.com. Tickets.com processes orders and generates invoices
for Sabres tickets, while SageCRM handles all day-to-day operations
and communications. Data on the specifi c transaction, account,
and sales history is all downloaded directly from Tickets.com, then
merged to avoid duplication, and stored in SageCRM.
Diverse reports in SageCRM help the Sabres strategize for the future.
“We calculate demographics for each type of customer,” Matheny
says. “Our opportunity reports show exactly what percentage of
returns each of our sales campaigns provide.”
Special Capabilities
The Sabres are very active in the community and always expanding
the role that SageCRM plays in those activities. The Key Attribute
functionality offered in the software provides the functionality
needed to manage attendees for special events, such as the Sabres
Foundation’s Aces and Blades annual fundraiser or their Street
Hockey Festival. Similarly, the Sabres use SageCRM to organize their
SabreKidz Club for children under 12.

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