Tell us about your organization.
Arena Media Networks (AMN) owns and operates the largest network of digital flat-panel displays in over 30 arenas and stadiums throughout the country, spanning the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA. On average, we reach over 45 million people per year. Our programming is designed to engage audiences while they wait on line in sports, music, circus, and other types of entertainment arenas. We work with clients such as Century 21, Nokia, and Radio Shack to target specific audiences at their point of passion.What problems were you facing?
By the end of the 2005-2006 NBA season, we found ourselves growing faster than we could manage. We were struggling to capitalize on new opportunities because we were adding new clients and new stadiums so fast. Several of these new arenas would be featuring playoff and possibly championship games; those were opportunities we didn't want to miss. To add fuel to the fire, due to the nature of the playoffs, a team that's playing one day could be eliminated the next, meaning all that inventory would have to be moved to a new arena. Even worse, our sales force tracked all sales and customer information manually in spreadsheets and in Outlook files. Every time a new salesperson wanted to call a client, [he] had no idea of the previous interactions with that client or where the account stood. As a result, we couldn't quickly identify potential customers in relevant markets and present them with the proper media kits for the games. Subsequently, we only sold 30 percent of our available advertising for that NBA [playoff] season.Why did you select SageCRM?
We turned to Infinity Info Systems, a New York--based value-added reseller and system integrator. [See "Rising Stars," September 2007.] Rather than make the decision ourselves, we decided to go with Infinity due to its broad understanding of the tools in the marketplace. Because we're a small company with a limited IT infrastructure, we chose SageCRM for two primary reasons. First, it was Web-based, so we didn't need to concern ourselves with the extra IT burden. That also works well for a nationally distributed sales force, [much of which] logs in remotely. Second, we were impressed by the level of customization that could be done, such as recording each of our clients' favorite sports team. Those are the little things that go a long way toward building a profitable relationship.
How did the implementation go?
Very well. We first engaged Infinity about 18 months ago. From that point until the time we went live with Sage was only 4 weeks. As for end-user buy-in, I think most of our younger salespeople picked up Sage faster than our older salespeople, as they were more accustomed to using their notepads and Outlook. Some enforcement solved this, because the sales force quickly realized that by not using Sage, they couldn't protect their own accounts. If it wasn't logged into Sage, it never happened, so another salesperson could come along and follow up with that client.What have been the main rewards?
At the end of the 2006 [Major League Baseball] season, we once again had the opportunity to sell advertising in stadiums hosting playoff games. Within hours of the playoff picture emerging, we were able to search our customer listings, pinpoint them and their related ad agencies, and quickly develop a list of prospects. We were able to coordinate all of our sales activities across the entire sales force so that media kits were sent out in a timely manner. The coordination and quick response enabled us to close out 100 percent of all available advertising space, and customer satisfaction surged to an all-time high.
5 Fast Facts
- AGE OF THE INITIATIVE? 1.5 years
- WHO WAS INVOLVED? Myself and our sales manager
- BEST IDEA? Using the customization of Sage to allow for more-timely sales pitches.
- BIGGEST SURPRISE? Our sales force was shocked
by how quick and easy it was to send out mass marketing campaigns from Sage. It's their nature to think everything requires a Herculean sales effort.
- BIGGEST CRM MISTAKE MADE? For this implementation, don't underestimate the usability of a CRM system. Use it for all it's capable of.