Georgia Tech Strengthens Athletic Department with SalesLoft
College sports, especially in major conferences like the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), are extremely popular. But that popularity doesn’t just happen. The fan base must be engaged to ensure ticket sales and donations stay up.
That was the challenge for the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), the 25,000-student university based in Atlanta.
“Our biggest challenge was that we had a large database of people and we were not engaging with them at the level that was required for ticket sales and for donations to athletics,” says Jeff Keisler, executive director of annual funds and engagement at the school. The low engagement meant lower-than-desired ticket sales.
Georgia Tech had already made changes to its sales team leadership, but to boost engagement and ticket sales, Keisler and Charles O’Donnell, Georgia Tech’s manager of sales and service, looked for technology that they could use with Saleforce.com to ensure the human capital was as effective as possible in driving better interactions with donors and ticket purchasers.
The search for a new tool was already under way when Georgia Tech alum and SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter contacted the athletic department about a suite for Georgia Tech football games. He described SalesLoft and how it worked, and Keisler and O’Donnell both knew it was exactly what Georgia Tech needed.
“We had a lot of interest in working with a top company in Atlanta,” Keisler says, noting that SalesLoft had recently earned such recognition.
Keisler and O’Donnell also liked that SalesLoft wasn’t just another email program cobbled on top of Salesforce. Open APIs enable Salesloft to work seamlessly with Salesforce, even though Georgia Tech’s versions of the software weren’t compatible out of the box.
SalesLoft technicians worked with Georgia Tech to get the two dissimilar technologies to work together, and “now they work very effectively,” Keisler says.
SalesLoft creates a contact workflow for the sales team and provides a framework or blueprint for contacts. It also provides management with a measurable structure to help determine the effectiveness of different types of outreaches. Whether the initial outreach is successful or not, there is an audit trail of all of the interactions, which actions the software recommended, and which actions the salesperson took. Such traceability and history is important because it can take several prospect touches before an actual sale occurs, Keisler and O’Donnell point out.
“Sales is a process, but before we added SalesLoft, we didn’t have [a process],” O’Donnell says. “Now we know what we are doing, when we are doing it, and why we are doing it.”
SalesLoft also provides sales teams with next best actions, whether that’s an email, phone call, or even a handwritten note. The suggested email content and phone scripts come from experience with buyers.
Georgia Tech has seen several benefits since rolling out SalesLoft last April.
Last year, sales reps were able to connect with 500 accounts who either donated for the first time or increased their levels of commitment.
“Our biggest gap was in our communication with donors,” Keisler says. “We didn’t have the right labor behind it.”
With SalesLoft, the number of active donors increased 40 percent. Additionally, sales of university ticket packages grew by more than 25 percent compared to the previous year, an even more impressive result considering one of Georgia Tech's big rivals, Duke University, wasn't on the home schedule. And, even before the official announcement that football tickets were going on sale in January, 600 season ticket deposits were already in, compared to none the previous year.
Relationships with season ticket holders and supporters improved through more sophisticated account development, according to Georgia Tech officials. Additionally, increased employee engagement continues to provide a more enjoyable experience for supporters at all levels.
Since implementing SalesLoft, Georgia Tech Athletics has seen the following results:
- connections with 500 accounts who either donated for the first time or increased their levels of commitment;
- a 40 percent increase in the number of active donors;
- a 25 percent increase in sales of university ticket packages; and
- 600 advance season ticket deposits, compared to none the previous year.