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Whose CRM is it anyway?

In this article, we will explore how creative and cultural organisations can effectively utilise a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to manage their audiences. From box office management to marketing strategies, we’ll break down the responsibilities of each area and highlight the benefits they can reap from a well-implemented CRM. Hopefully, we’ll answer the question: ‘Whose CRM is it anyway?’.

Understanding the CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is like a virtual manager for your organisation’s interactions with its audiences. It’s a tool that keeps track of every interaction, whether that’s ticket sales, marketing emails, or physical entry to your venue or event. For creative and cultural organisations, a CRM is extremely helpful. It allows you to better understand your audience and gain insights that will help tailor your offering and develop your programme. Everything from your audience’s first interaction, to repeat visitors, to long term memberships can be noted, tracked, and analysed within your CRM.

Used effectively, CRM becomes the backbone of your creative and cultural organisation and the relationship with your audience. It’s well worth investing in, not only from a monetary perspective, but because a well-implemented CRM provides an invaluable resource across each department or role within your organisation.

CRM Administration: Effective Use and Maintenance

A CRM system is only as good as its management. The system owner or administrator is key to making sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. This role is vital for setting up, maintaining, and supporting the CRM to meet the organisation’s needs.

There are several responsibilities of the administrator, they start with configuring the system to align with the organisation’s processes and goals. This includes setting up user roles, permissions, and workflows to ensure that everyone can access the tools they need. Regular maintenance is another crucial task, involving updates, backups, and troubleshooting. Additionally, the administrator provides ongoing training and support for all users, creating guides and helping ensure everyone can use the CRM effectively.

The benefits of having a dedicated CRM administrator are significant. With consistent maintenance, the system stays reliable, and the data stays accurate. Proper training and support mean that staff can use the CRM to its full potential, leading to better productivity and fewer errors. Quick resolution of technical issues by the administrator minimises downtime and ensures the system continues to serve its purpose efficiently. Overall, a well-managed CRM system, overseen by a knowledgeable administrator, is a cornerstone of successful audience management for any creative or cultural organisation.

A room set up with tables and chairs with pieces of art leaning against the wall in the background

Visitor Management: Welcoming Audiences to Cultural Spaces

In the creative and culture sector, effective visitor management is crucial for creating memorable experiences and fostering engagement. Whether it’s a museum, gallery, or theatre, the ability to efficiently manage and record visitor flow, both online and in cultural spaces, can enhance the overall experience for guests.

Purchasing a ticket or attending a free event is often your visitor’s first direct interaction with your organisation and can set the tone for the rest of their experience. Ensuring a simple and stress-free journey will help both your audience and your organisation. Ticketing and visitor assistant staff members will also often handle a lot of the manual data entry of your audience, so make sure that your processes and practices are consistent and up to date. See 5 Tips for Cleaning your CRM for ways to tidy up your CRM and reduce issues with data management.

One of the key responsibilities in visitor management is ensuring seamless ticketing processes. From buying tickets online to in person purchases, the box office team plays a vital role in facilitating access to cultural events and exhibits. By using a CRM system, creative and cultural organisations can streamline ticketing operations, making it easier for visitors to secure their spot and reducing wait times at entry points. Additionally, robust CRM solutions offer features such as seat selection, membership management, and integration with online booking platforms, providing a hassle-free experience for both visitors and staff alike.

Effective visitor management extends beyond ticket sales to encompass comprehensive customer support. Whether it’s providing information about upcoming events, helping with special accommodations, or resolving inquiries promptly, dedicated customer support services ensure that visitors feel valued and well-cared-for throughout their interaction with the organisation. A CRM system acts as a centralised hub for managing customer support, enabling staff to deliver personalised service and support high levels of visitor satisfaction. By prioritising visitor management and using the capabilities of a CRM system, creative and cultural organisations can create welcoming and memorable experiences that leave an impression on their audiences.

Marketing Strategies: Reaching the Right Audience

Attracting the right audience can be key to a successful organisation. From promoting exhibitions to advertising performances, effective marketing strategies play a crucial role in engaging with potential visitors.

When it comes to marketing, these strategies can be enhanced by an effective CRM system. A marketing team’s main job is to craft compelling campaigns that resonate with the target audience, through various channels such as social media, email newsletters, and traditional advertising. Marketing handles the data once it’s in the system – you have collected all that data, now it’s time to use it effectively. ‘Segmentation’ is the engine that drives the CRM. Dividing the audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviour ensures that each marketing message reaches the right people at the right time. It’s always more beneficial to communicate with a segment of your audience with a proven interest in the message content than to contact everyone on your mailing list and hope for the best.

There are huge benefits of implementing a CRM system for marketing purposes;

Firstly, it allows for more targeted and personalised marketing campaigns, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates. By analysing data collected within the CRM, such as past ticket purchases and website interactions, marketers can gain valuable insights into audience preferences and tailor their messaging accordingly.

Secondly, a CRM can offer seamless integration with marketing automation tools, streamlining campaigns and freeing up time to be more creative and develop your strategy. Overall, using a CRM for marketing empowers creative and cultural organisations to connect with their audience in meaningful ways and drive attendance at their events and exhibitions.

The most important benefit of having this all under one roof is that you can actively see what works and what doesn’t. It’s hard to argue with a marketing campaign that has proven to work with the figures and evidence to back it up.

Person using a soundboard and holding a microphone in the foreground with another person standing by a drumkit in the background

Operations: Keeping Things Running Smoothly

Behind the scenes of most successful creative and cultural organisations, whether large or small, are dedicated individuals working to ensure that everything runs like clockwork. Managing visitors and coordinating logistics make operational teams essential for maintaining efficiency and delivering top-notch experiences to your audiences.

When it comes to operations, the responsibilities often span across various roles. Within the CRM system, staff handle inputting and updating data related to ticket sales, membership information, and audience demographics. Additionally, they generate reports to track key performance metrics, such as attendance numbers and revenue trends. They feed back valuable insights for decision-making and strategic planning to the rest of the organisation.

The benefits of using a CRM system for operational tasks are immense. Firstly, it serves as a centralised repository for all relevant data, removing the need for manual tracking and reducing the risk of errors or duplication. By streamlining data management processes, staff can access real-time information at their fingertips, enabling quick and informed decision-making. Furthermore, CRM systems often offer strong reporting capabilities, allowing staff to generate customised reports tailored to their specific needs. This not only saves time but also empowers staff to extract valuable insights and find areas for improvement. Overall, by embracing CRM technology for operational tasks, creative and cultural organisations can enhance efficiency, improve decision-making, and deliver exceptional experiences to their audience.

Collaboration and Communication: Breaking Down Silos

In any creative or cultural organisation, teamwork is essential for success. When team members work together seamlessly and communicate effectively, it leads to smoother processes and better outcomes for everyone involved. If individuals work independently, they can often miss opportunities that would benefit everyone. That is where effective collaboration and communication strategies come into play.

The reporting and analytics you can get from your CRM can be invaluable to you and your organisation. It can give you a chance to shout about your successes and inform your strategy, all backed up by facts. This enables you to pass information quickly and easily to managers or stakeholders who are often able to enact more significant changes. Too often organisations are stumbling around in the dark without realising they have the tools and capabilities to push for internal changes.

By working together, departments can avoid duplicating work and streamline processes, saving time and resources. Collaboration fosters innovation and creativity, as diverse perspectives come together to solve problems and explore new ideas. Communication across teams ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards shared goals. Overall, by breaking down silos and promoting collaboration, creative and cultural organisations can reach their full potential and achieve greater success. A CRM can help bridge these gaps between departments by centralising your data and facilitating information sharing, allowing more seamless coordination among team members. This will improve customer service and streamline business processes.


Back to the question ‘Whose CRM is it anyway?’ – the answer, as you may have guessed, is that it belongs to everyone. It’s not the responsibility of one person within your organisation, but a larger machine with many moving parts, which requires investment from everyone in the organisation to help it run smoothly. A CRM should streamline and reduce your work, not add to it.

Actions and Takeaways

To help your creative or cultural organisation make the most of your CRM system, here are some actionable steps and takeaways:

  • Decide who is responsible for managing the relationship with the system supplier.
  • Decide who handles the day-to-day admin; including creating new user profiles and CRM induction.
  • Consider times for regular users to meet and allow them input to support engagement with the system.
  • Make time to collaborate – find mutual quick wins to improve and build.
  • Document processes to cover what to do in a CRM emergency

What next?

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free one-to-one support to all arts and cultural organisations and individuals who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on X @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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