Increase Season Ticket Renewals by Identifying At-Risk Accounts

Increase Season Ticket Renewals by Identifying At-Risk Accounts
by Daniel Venegas – September 2015

Identifying At-Risk Accounts

Many factors go into the buying decision whenever customers receive renewal invoices.  Team performance, usage, cost, and value are just a few of the buzz words we hear every year.  The issue is knowing which accounts will bring these up and how to identify them beforehand.

Simplifying the renewal process has been one of our paramount objectives for the past three seasons. We focus on identifiers of at-risk accounts.  Team performance is important and measurable, but beyond our control. We chose two metrics to identify at-risk accounts early in the process:

  • Season Ticket Tenure
  • Attendance

Understanding these two elements and what they indicate allows us to influence accounts at the beginning of the season as opposed to waiting to hear objections.

Season Ticket Tenure

You can tell a good deal about customers by how long they have been with the organization.  Over the past two seasons alone we can tell that first year customers are 9% less likely to renew than second year customers and 17% less likely to renew than third year customers.  Obviously, new season ticket holders should be a major focus of your renewal campaign.  You know who they are from the very beginning so there is no excuse for not being proactive with these accounts.

Karlis Kezbers
Karlis Kezbers

“When it comes to first-year season ticket members, education can help drive success.  It’s important to educate the client on every possible aspect to utilize their tickets in the most efficient way.  Don’t assume a first-year account knows everything about their membership.” -Karlis Kezbers (@karliskezbers), Director, Retention and Ticket Operations, Oklahoma City Thunder

Season Ticket Attendance

Attendance at games is another great quantitative measure to identify at-risk accounts.  Customers with an attendance of 61-70% are 6% less likely to renew than those customers that attend 71-80% of games and 9% less likely to renew than customers that attend 81-90% of games.

Tracking attendance early on in a season can help you identify customers that may have issues utilizing their tickets. Be proactive with these accounts and to help them identify ways to better use their tickets.

“The responsibility for getting a ticket used is slowly but surely transferring away from the client and onto the team.”  -Karlis Kezbers (@karliskezbers)

Face to Face: The Throwback Solution

Now that you know the potentially risky accounts, what do you do with them?  You can’t change their tenure.  You may be able to influence their attendance, but probably not much.

Go meet them in person!

Take time out of your week to show customers how much you and the organization care about their business.  It is your job to consult with them on the product you sold.  Let them know 1st year STHs often aren’t aware of the best ways to utilize season ticket benefits compared to tenured accounts.  Walk through the benefits to see how you can help.  Tell customers when you notice they are not utilizing their tickets as frequently as most.  Offer solutions to manage missed games or to better utilize future games.  When you have done this:

Go see them again!

Sam Bays
Sam Bays

Sam Bays, Director of Business Development at the Arizona Coyotes, shares,

“Whether it’s at the arena, in their office, or over a lunch, nothing solidifies the relationship between an AE and a client like a face to face meeting. As a sales professional, the more you can make yourself the ‘face of the franchise’ in the client’s eyes, the more likely they are to renew.”

You may or may not be able to influence attendance or utilization of seats, but your actions influence renewal rates. Accounts that use 61-70% of their tickets renew at a rate 10% higher than average if their reps visit them more than once during the season.  You also can’t change the fact you are working with a first year account, but you can show them the real value they purchased.  First year accounts that have more than one face to face visit from their reps during the season renew at a rate 6% higher than the average rookie account.

Day one of your renewal should be the first day after your deadline.  These numbers are specific to my organization but the relative impact can be the same for you.


Cover photo courtesy of PresseBox.

 

Illustrated CRM: How CRM Process Helps the Sales Process

Illustrated CRM: How CRM Process Helps the Sales Process
by Alex Karp – September 2015

Three things will make CRM a great tool for your organization:

  1. consistency,
  2. ease of use, and
  3. documentation of activity.

All of these are essential, particularly the last one, if management is going to be able to use CRM effectively. I wanted to share some best practices that I have gathered from my short time in the industry and how those best practices can contribute to the overall growth of your organization.

Focus on the learner: Keep training time short

Let’s consider the documentation of activity.  A wise previous boss of mine once said, “If it’s not saved in CRM, it didn’t happen.” Documenting every activity is the goal every CRM staff member and sales manager strives to meet. It’s not easy.

Whenever sitting down with a new group of sales reps, the first training session should focus on one thing: How to document/save a phone call. Reps do this task a hundred times a day or more. The process of saving a phone call is tied to many other reporting aspects of CRM.  Drill them on this until you know they are doing it right every time. The many other features of CRM (e.g., advanced finds) can be covered later. Making sure reps know how to save a phone call is the first step to helping them succeed.

Another way to focus on the learner is to have training sessions grouped by department. Group Sales and Season Ticket Sales use CRM differently. Training by departments provides relevant content and keeps everyone engaged. Otherwise, people tune out when the training isn’t relevant–and it’s hard to get them engaged again.

Fewer clicks leads to more calls

At Fan Interactive, I get to work on multiple client CRM redesign projects. A project goal is to make CRM a little more user friendly and reduce necessary clicks. As you can see in Panel A , reps have the ability to add an activity and notes directly from the opportunity. This is a bit different than the out of the box version of CRM, where more clicks are required to add an activity to an opportunity. Reps can enter information, save and close the opportunity and move onto the next one. This process also stores the last activity data and counts the activity as being completed, as in Panel B. Reps are then able to search using fields from this opportunity such as ‘last activity date’ and ‘number of activities’ within the opportunity.

Reporting

Now that the reps can easily and document a phone call in a consistent way, what’s next? A daily activity tracker (see Panel C) is a good start. This helps re-enforce the importance of saving a phone call to reps since they will see their results and know where they stand compared to the rest of the group.

With software such as Tableau, which combines the layout of Excel with the power of SQL, you can create scoring models based on rep activity. After tracking activities, the next step is to track the revenue associated with those activities. The campaign report below shows revenue generated in a rollup version as well as a more detailed version.

crm3

These reports were made possible by the re-design (ease of use) and consistent documentation. With a more user-friendly version of CRM, it’s easier for everyone to use CRM the same way, which leads to more accurate reporting.

Conclusion

CRM is a powerful and essential tool for sales and marketing. For it to succeed, sales reps need to enter data in a consistent and thorough manner.  Documenting phone calls in CRM is a process sales reps will repeat thousands of times throughout their sales careers. By making the process easier, both through training and redesign, CRM can help you generate reports and analytics that will allow you to make effective business decisions.

CRM Made Easy: How to Track Account Renewals

CRM Made Easy: How to Track Account Renewals
by Michael Hurley – September 2015

Are you using your CRM system to project final renewal numbers? Are you able to identify accounts that might be harder to renew?

The Way We Were

In 2012, during my first renewal campaign  with the Houston Astros working with then Director of Season Ticket Services, Alan Latkovic, our “CRM system” was an Excel spreadsheet with every single account listed as a line item and the columns  laid out to reflect “touch points” or times of contact with Season Ticket Holders (example below).

hurley tpm

This method of touch point management worked in lieu of an actual CRM system. But, there isn’t much tracking and it’s not easy to project renewals. When we rolled out Microsoft Dynamics CRM before the 2013 renewal campaign, our eyes were opened to the benefits of tracking renewals. Today, after years of tracking accounts and tendencies, we can project renewal numbers to the percentage point even before we receive the first response.

Using renewal scores we have real-time information on which accounts require a little more “love.” We quickly see which accounts have not responded at all. We strategically plan an offsite visit with them and maybe even take Orbit along.

orbit

Using CRM to Track Renewals

Alan Latkovic (@AlanLatkovic), Senior Director of Season Ticket Services and Operations with the Astros, accentuates the importance of using  CRM to track renewals and project the final renewal numbers.

“With the tools of CRM we are able to score accounts who respond to the initial renewal call daily, monthly, and annually.  Providing this data to our analytics team, we are then able to project renewals and carry the information over each season to create new renewal benchmarks.”

Tracking every conversation and response for each account ultimately makes the big picture become more clear. The Astros use a very simple but effective renewal tracking method throughout the renewal campaign. We categorize accounts based on an initial indication of renewal.  If an account’s initial response to us when they receive their invoice is that they are not renewing, we mark them as “unlikely to renew” in CRM, at the same time if an account lets us know they are planning on renewing and processing the invoice, or “the check is in the mail” we mark them as “likely to renew” in CRM.  Using renewal scores, we can project what an account will do, and by tracking the data of renewal scores over time, we then have an idea of what percentage of accounts in each score grouping will ultimately renew.

The Importance of Tracking Renewals

When it comes down to it, we simply cannot overlook the importance of tracking renewals and building renewal campaigns around the tools of CRM. Katherine Tran, Manager of Membership Services with FC Dallas, stresses the importance of being able to forecast future renewal cycles by using CRM:

“The importance of tracking renewals is second to none.  It allows teams to pinpoint customer trends over the seasons and helps forecast future renewal cycles.  Teams can plan their renewal efforts and campaigns based on data from previous years.”

When following trends in renewals over the years, and knowing which accounts renew and when, a much clearer picture emerges when forecasting renewal numbers.  While using Excel will get the job done, it’s no comparison to the benefits a true CRM system provides.


Cover photo courtesy of Ezhil Ramalingam, India.

 

5 Characteristics of the Best Salespeople in Sports

5 Characteristics of the Best Salespeople in Sports
by Andre Luck – September 2015

As an Inside Sales Manager I am often asked what the best salespeople do to be the best.  Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to manage or mentor over 100 salespeople so far in my career. I have seen many times what the top performing salespeople have done to separate themselves from their peers.  What makes these salespeople great?

Attitude

One of the most important characteristics of a successful salesperson is the attitude you bring to the office every single day.  Although, being positive and having a smile on your face is important, bringing the right attitude to the office is more than just that.  As a salesperson it means fully embracing your role as a salesperson that is tasked with generating revenue for your organization.  It means having a confidence and assertiveness that will help you close sales and overcome tough objections from customers.  And most importantly it means being in total control of how you react to all situations. One of my favorite quotes that I share with every one of my new hires is from Charles Swindoll that says “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” I tell my salespeople that no one else is in control of your attitude but you.

Work Ethic

When I was a sales rep I took great pride in my work ethic. I look to hire salespeople with a strong work ethic as well.  Sales is a numbers game. More times than not, the people who put in the most work are at or near the top of the sales board.  Come early, stay late, make five more phone calls, set one more face to face appointment, do whatever is needed to put yourself in the best situation to succeed. Hard work is not the only recipe to success, but long term success is impossible without it.

Consistency

It seems simple: Be consistent. Do the little things right every single day.  But, it’s tough to do. Consistency requires great discipline. It’s easy to fall into bad habits.

Travis Baker
Travis Baker

Travis Baker, Inside Sales Manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks says, “There isn’t much that separates the good reps from the great reps on our staff.  Because of our hiring process everyone is talented and everyone works hard.  So it comes down to day in and day out consistency, as well as a refusal to lose.”

Make a conscious effort to stick to the fundamentals. Do the little things right every day that others do not have the discipline to do. It adds up after a full sales campaign.  I always feel more confident in a salesperson’s long term success if s/he produces revenue consistently instead of making a big sale every now and again.

Discomfort

Some of the best advice I ever received: If you are not stepping out of your comfort zone, then you are not challenging yourself to grow.

For most new salespeople, it’s uncomfortable to strike up a conversation with a random stranger. It’s uncomfortable to ask someone you just met (and then tells you no multiple times) to spend thousands of dollars.  But, you are tasked with doing this as a salesperson.  The fear of the unknown is too much of a risk for some. They play it safe. They stick with comfortable.  The best salespeople understand that if they do not take risks–do not get out of their comfort zones–then they will not reach their full potential.

Initiative

All sales reps typically have the same resources at their disposal.  They receive the same training, same types of leads to call, and the same products to sell.

Success comes down to what you do with the opportunity.  Look at inside sales as more than just another job. The best reps see it as the start to their careers.  They are all-in. They give 100% commitment to whatever it takes to be the best.  Losing is never an option.  When things don’t go their way they don’t make excuses. The best reps proactively seek help from a boss, a mentor, or peers. Even when there’s little overall sales momentum, they find ways to create momentum for themselves and their sales team.  During training with new hires I always share a quote from Will Rogers, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

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