Matrix Solutions CEO DJ Cavanaugh spells out the four key benefits of using CRM and sales management software. “The organizational benefits are wide-ranging and directly add value to any company’s short- to long-term profit and competitive goals,” he says.
Media sales today are not like what they were when I was a TV sales manager 20 years ago. For one thing, there has been a lot of consolidation in our industry as well as the emergence of new non-traditional revenue streams that account executives are tasked with capitalizing on. So the question becomes: Have sales management software systems evolved with today’s media landscape?
Comprehensive sales management software allows business planning and budgeting to increase the overall success of media enterprises. The organizational benefits are encompassing and directly add value to any company’s short- to long-term profit and competitive goals.
Here are four key benefits of using consumer relationship management (CRM) and sales management software:
Strategic account engagement and management. In the multiplatform world of media, a company sells a number of advertising vehicles. This, in turn, has created complexity for advertisers — and the sales team, or sales teams. A technology-based CRM and sales management system provides access, information and clarity by serving as a knowledge repository for any account. This, in turn, will decrease the problems and challenges created by the broad portfolio of offerings.
Whether it is one representative or many, the sales team and the organization can strategically identify the accounts that will provide the greatest revenue and those that you do not want to invest time in — after all, not all advertisers are good prospects. It allows sales managers to prioritize and distribute accounts more effectively and allows the sales team the opportunity to approach each advertiser with unique packages, promotions and a shared understanding of the advertiser’s business and worth to the organization.
Leveraged analytics for better business planning. Measuring business is not new for media companies. For a long time, the entire business has been based on analytics — primarily Nielsen. This critical measurement represents value proposition and pricing opportunities.
Yet, from a sales perspective, the anecdotal information about the market, competitors and clients continues to drive sales efforts and business planning. With an implemented CRM and sales management software system, a business can measure sales cycle, competitive positioning, target characteristics, effectiveness of sales tools — the list goes on and on.
All of these analytics help hone sales teams to focus on areas of the business that are most profitable and productive.
Accurate forecasting. How often has the sales team missed their projections? Too often, sales teams and managers miss “the numbers” because of missing key pieces of data. A CRM and sales management software system captures this data throughout the process. As sales representatives manage their accounts, critical information affecting the forecast is automatically calculated to insure accuracy.
No longer can a forecast be tainted by emotions, “happy ears” or sandbaggers. Instead, it is simply data that can be projected and easily managed. What a relief.
Effective inventory and pricing management. Because of the JIT nature of many media environments, advertising can be sold almost up to the last minute. The highest bidder wins the premium spot — preempting current rotations and placements. While a readily accepted practice, it does have positive and negative impacts on advertisers (and the operations team) when not properly managed.
A CRM and sales management software system will not only let sales vie for increased revenue, but also manage inventory and changes against all advertiser relationships. Thus, visibility into past and present inventory scenarios can help a salesperson/sales manager either up the revenue — or pass to protect a key relationship. Either way, the media company makes more money by either increasing pricing or eliminating the need for an apology to a core asset: an existing advertiser.
Of course, all of the benefits assume the following: that a media company has implemented its CRM and sales management software system effectively.
DJ Cavanaugh is CEO and partner of Matrix Solutions, a provider of sales management and analytic software to the media industry. Before joining the company in 2000, Cavanaugh spent many years in both television and radio management. He holds a B.A. in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.