New Orleans Hornets Choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Better Target Marketing and Scouting Efforts

REDMOND, Wash. — May 4, 2010 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets have selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM to gain insights about the fans who fill New Orleans Arena and the prospective players who will perform on the court.

The Hornets chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM over Salesforce.com because of the technology’s flexibility and comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) features, as well as the option to extend the capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM offerings down the road. The organization initially integrated Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Ticketmaster and its systems to elevate customer service and marketing efforts. The Hornets took the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM one step further by building an application that will enable scouts in the field to manage player performance information.

“We had some low-level CRM capabilities through our previous ticketing software, but we wanted a more full-featured solution, a more intelligent approach to how we were selling tickets, to be more effective in our process,” said Hornets Vice President of Information Technology Tod Caflisch. “We looked at Salesforce.com, but it didn’t have the flexibility we wanted. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we could modify it to meet our specific needs.”

The team’s initial use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM allowed an agent to quickly access a customer’s history in an effort to better serve the customer’s specific needs when it comes to purchasing tickets. This information gave Hornets’ management the ability to understand in which geography they sell the most tickets, so they can establish successful sales operations.

From that original implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Caflisch worked with Transech, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, based in Houma, La., to create the application for smartphones that would enable scouts to store information on the players they were watching in real time. Scouts in the field record information about each player based on specific formulas that take into account competitive statistics and a player’s ability to positively affect team chemistry. Hornets scouts now can acquire information, store notes and sync with a master database, from which valuable reports can be pulled to evaluate potential players.

The scouting database is used to rank players based on a set of standard criteria and their interpretation by scouts. On draft day, an executive can download a list by rank or position, so that the front office easily can see its top prospects during each round.

“Our mobile application, built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, is a unique solution that other teams have not yet deployed,” Caflisch said. “We saved a significant amount of money compared with developing an app from scratch, so it’s a real slam-dunk as far as our return on investment in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is concerned.”

The Hornets expect to gain a wide range of capabilities and business benefits from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including the following:

  • Improved revenue. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the team to identify areas where revenue may have been lost. The system logs all incoming calls — even those that may not be answered in off-hours — to ensure that every contact can be pursued.

  • Strategic scouting systems. Through smartphones and other remote devices, the team links its scouts to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM database.

  • Support for growth. With a targeted and accurate contact management system, sales teams can reach more appropriate demographics rather than just making cold calls.

  • Cost savings. The Hornets staff is more productive. Caflisch reported that since implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the organization has seen some attrition in its sales staff but no decline in its sales, possibly indicating a more effective sales organization.

  • Time savings. With ticket sales and customer relationships synchronized, the staff is confident that data is accurate and up-to-date. Knowing they have the most current snapshot of what individual customers have purchased in the past, the staff can target promotions to them on both inbound and outbound calls, making the time with customers more efficient for selling them packages that satisfy their needs.

  • Better reporting. Real-time reporting allows management to stay up-to-date with ticket sale numbers.

  • More coordinated marketing. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has produced better coordination among Hornets’ sales and marketing staffs and sponsorship groups to coordinate sales events and promotions for the Hornets, with ticket sales opportunities tied to events and programs.

Caflisch anticipates that his mobile-scouting application will attract a lot of attention in the NBA. “I thought Microsoft Dynamics CRM enabled us to develop a very innovative idea, and it has exceeded our expectations,” he said. “Other teams will take a serious look at what we’ve done and may copy our lead, possibly building a similar database using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.”

“In an era when one-to-one customer relationships and niche communications are rapidly replacing mass-marketing techniques, Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows organizations to access conversations, buying history and preferences for each of their customers quickly,” said David Willis, corporate vice president for U.S. Dynamics business at Microsoft. “The results are much stronger customer relationships, improved opportunities to gain sales and better prospects for success.”

About the New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are proud to be a New Orleans business that happens to be an NBA franchise. Under the leadership of owner George Shinn, the Hornets remain committed to revitalize New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana through numerous community initiatives and by providing world-class entertainment on the court that appeals to the entire family. For more information about the New Orleans Hornets, please visit www.Hornets.com.

About Transech

Transech is the first and only Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in the New Orleans area, and it offers particular expertise in Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations. Its certifications, experience and proven leadership provide customers with confidence that their problems will be completely resolved as quickly as possible.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of easy-to-use, integrated and adaptable ERP and CRM applications that enable business decision-makers to quickly respond to market shifts, take advantage of new trends, increase their competitive edge and drive business success. Microsoft Dynamics solutions are delivered through a world-class network of reselling partners providing specialized services and additional innovation to help customers excel in their industries.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.