After joining Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2020 as an expansion team, Nashville SC (NSC) was tasked with capturing an audience in one of the most entertaining markets in the United States. Not only did the new franchise face unfortunate timing with the events of 2020, but its legendary Music City home presents steep competition with multiple professional teams and countless forms of entertainment for fans to choose from.
During their first year, the team studied how they were spending time and where it could be put to better use. With help from KORE Planning & Insights (KPI), they installed a data pipeline to automate much of the drudgery and get better outcomes.
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Companies often have one system that holds customer and partner contact information (i.e., a CRM) and another for marketing services. Nashville SC uses Salesforce Sales Cloud for their CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) for email marketing. Even when both systems are provided by the same vendor, it can be a challenge to get them interacting with each other—but the alternative is to let manual and repetitive tasks consume the bulk of the workday.
As Nashville SC rapidly expanded their fanbase upon joining MLS, their fan and customer data began adding up. But the team couldn’t make efficient use of that data—buying habits, interactions, and even social media sentiment are nearly impossible to actively track without automation.
Mark Simmons, Senior Director of BI, and Lauren Smith, BI Analyst, recognized they had a problem. They were spending too much time manually creating one-off lists of customers and fans to fulfill requests from various departments. But it went further than just making lists—Mark and Lauren also spent too much time meeting with those other departments to understand their needs, formatting the data appropriately, and sending the files to the requestors.
The inefficiencies didn’t affect only the BI team, though. For example, the Marketing team had to ask questions like “How long will it take to get the campaign lists we need? When will they be uploaded, and when can we send our emails? How can we get the data we need when someone’s on vacation?” Worse still, the customer lists were single-use only—the same inefficient process had to be repeated for future campaigns.
How could Mark and Lauren make things more efficient, for both themselves and their colleagues? Salesforce provides the Marketing Cloud Connect tool to share data across the two services. Although not terribly difficult to install, it does require some technical expertise to configure the system for the best effectiveness. This led Mark and Lauren to ask KPI for advice. KPI has experience customizing Salesforce Connectors for other clients, and experience shows how fundamental it is to truly understand a client’s objectives. So, they began by asking Nashville SC a few key questions:
How are we using data?
What are we doing most often that can be automated?
Where are our fans and how do we keep them engaged?
With the team’s needs established, KPI set up Salesforce Connector to provide a constant, real-time flow of granular data between the team’s two systems. Then, they built an extension to tie email records from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to specific contact IDs in the CRM.
With the full adoption of SFMC, we have gone from zero percent list automation to around 85 per cent list automation, making our marketing efforts more efficient and targeted.
Mark Simmons, Senior Director of Business Intelligence, Nashville SC
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