Visit Eau Claire has been a valued Simpleview CRM customer since 2008. Back then, the DMO team admits that they were still learning about certain technology-based products on the market, especially Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. So they paid attention to top destinations, and eventually turned to the solutions provider whose name kept popping up as an authority in the industry: Simpleview.
Impressed by the cities already utilizing Simpleview CRM, Eau Claire realized they, too could take advantage of the exceptional technical support, industry specific tools, learned best practices, and networking advantages of working with Simpleview that they were hearing about if they planned and budgeted long-term. They worked with Simpleview's VP of Sales and Account Services to suggest a 3- to 5-year planning window to their board, and since then, their investment in Simpleview CRM and later, integrated Content Management System, has paid off in non-stop value.
In addition to utilizing the Simpleview CRM to manage industry partnerships, meeting sales, consumer marketing efforts, forecasting, business analysis and reporting, Eau Claire integrated Simpleview CMS in 2014 to manage content and power their destination website, visiteauclaire.com.
Incorporating the integrated CRM/CMS solution removed pre-existing barriers to efficient processes and intuitive data management, saving the DMO hours and dollars. In addition, database and content management modules were able to be further customized to meet Eau Claire's specific needs. Recommendations informed by Simpleview's careful analysis and years of developing best practices with hundreds of DMOs helped the Eau Claire team choose the cutting-edge tools that would work best for them, whether website modules, email marketing via Distribion, or search engine marketing (SEM) services.
After years of utilizing Simpleview CRM and recognizing the benefits of the industry-vetted tool and expert support, the Visit Eau Claire team opted to incorporate Simpleview CMS as well. Like the CRM, Simpleview CMS is built especially for destination marketing, with web modules designed to bring the most relevant information to visitors and meeting and event planners via a compelling destination website. The last three designs have been very successful, with a
100% increase in traffic year-over-year. Pretty exciting!" said Kenzi Phillips, Visit Eau Claire's Director of Marketing.
The Visit Eau Claire team has been working with Simpleview's industry-specific CRM for years to manage industry partner relationships and reporting. Because the CRM is built exclusively for how DMO staff work each day, process efficiencies were promptly apparent and highly appreciated by Kelly Schwoch, the Director of Finance & Administration for Visit Eau Claire.
"I do everything on the CRM side," said Schwoch. "I LOVE the address book. It's a great way for me to keep track of our board, committees, sports groups, and other groups. Updating an address... It goes in one spot and reflects everywhere. It's great, especially being able to do it all internally."
"I also really like the invoicing part," she added. "What I like is other partners can see what we are doing. This is a significant communications tool and a lifesaver for communicating with partners. The invoicing module allows communication about what's going on financially."
Schwoch was also excited about Destination Dashboards, a CRM tool that allows visual display (graphing) and sharing of report data in one centralized location. This option allows her team to track individual performance, a task that always had to be handled manually in the past. "Reporting and analytics are so sophisticated, it's easy to make a case within the system itself," she said.
INTEGRATION & INNOVATION
Simpleview designed their web-based, industry specific CRM and CMS platforms to seamlessly interconnect. Using the two systems together offers DMOs like Eau Claire significant advantages-not just now, but in the long-run. Increased efficiencies in data management, task tracking, and communication between the CRM and the website, and vice versa, mean a more consistent, expedient experience for staff, partners, and visitors. Both tools are designed for the way DMOs work and continue to be updated based on organization needs, and are built to smoothly incorporate highly advantageous partner options like Stackla is User Generated Content (UGC) platform integration. This means that even as technology improves and market needs address new trends, Eau Claire's CRM and CMS platforms will flex to address those needs, with updates already included in the agreed-upon licensing plan. In short, the integration allows for innovation without costly surprises.
Proactive, engaged, and innovative, the Eau Claire team makes sure they get the most value out of every product and service from Simpleview's integrated solution. For the blog module on their website, the DMO leans on community partners to write great content with a voice authentic to Eau Claire. When they decided they wanted to provide audio tours online, the DMO earned a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) to build up the historical element of their destination, serving up podcasts and working with Simpleview to provide interactive maps online. These maps highlight different regions, and using the visitor's location, serve up tours close by, complete with driving directions and an audio track.
On the CRM side, the Eau Claire team utilizes the extranet as part of their "paperless" board and committee meetings. Relying heavily on the event module and address book, all of the team's communications come from the CRM. "Anyone can see a record of it in the CRM. It's not just in my email," said Schwoch, who is happy with the tracking and accountability the system
allows for on multiple levels.
"Our board is thrilled, too," said Schwoch. "It was a big step for them to invest in this, but it's paying itself back." She added, "Anytime the board has questions, we can pull up the information and configure it for them, and they're very impressed with that."
ONGOING EDUCATION & TRAINING
Eau Claire's commitment to success didn't stop with the completion of the physical integration of their CRM and CMS platforms. The DMO team also took advantage of the ongoing education and training Simpleview offers to learn best practices and get the most value out of their integrated solution. "I find the education very helpful and recommend it to others. If I'm not there yet, they help me get there," said Schwoch about Simpleview training and educational videos. "A lot of us end up at Summit every year, and we've done joint training with Simpleview and other Wisconsin DMOs."
Both the DMO and Simpleview realize ongoing collaboration and education is key to remaining competitive in the marketplace. "I really like working with (the Simpleview team)," said Phillips. "They're cutting edge, letting us know what's new. And we've built that trust. They always try to make the latest items work for us. We wanted access to do what the tier-1 cities do, and Simpleview helps us do that."
In the collaboration between Simpleview and Visit Eau Claire, intuitive, industry specific tools, expert advice and education, and an enthusiastic and driven DMO team all came together to deliver streamlined communications, significantly increased partner participation, noteworthy site traffic increases, and a happy board. That's a powerful, valuable connection where every success is a shared success...and the overarching goal of Simpleview's integrated solution and suite of services for DMOs, no matter what their size.