With Apple’s headquarters right down the street, you would expect the teams in Silicon Valley to be digitally-savvy and data-driven. We were not disappointed, as the teams from San Jose demonstrated how they employ business intelligence to generate revenue.
Sharks Leadership Analytics-Driven
Flavil Hampsten, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, began honing his sales & marketing analytic skills to drive revenue while completing his MBA at Arizona State in 2009 and serving as Vice President of Ticket Sales at the Phoenix Coyotes, before heading to the Charlotte Hornets and now back in the NHL at the Sharks. Neda Tabatabaie was brought in at the Sharks to implement a cohesive data strategy when Mr. Hampsten arrived in 2015.
CRM Boosts Sales
S3 graduate McKenzie Bryan said, “I really enjoyed hearing from the Sharks on how well they integrate CRM/Analytics into the sales department and all of the ways a solid CRM system helps sales.” The Sharks organization encourages utilization of CRM to achieve more efficient and effective sales numbers. Beyond this, however, the Sharks want salespeople to be analytical and intentional as they attempt to make connections with current and future fans.
49ers Commit Headcount to Analytics
Hayley Di Naso, Hospitality Sales Executive (S3 ’15), hosted us at the 49ers. Following a stadium tour, Demar Amacker and Paul Epstein explained the organizational structure and integral nature of CRM as strategy working hand-in-hand with sales. The Business Strategy & Analytics group, led by Moon Javaid, includes five staff members with analytics responsibilities.
S3 Senior Jacob Kurian appreciated how “every aspect of the experience at Levi’s Stadium has been thoroughly planned out.” The 49ers have created an authentic atmosphere in the stadium that reflects much of what people in the area value. Levi’s Stadium uses repurposed redwood finishing in its concourses and has 16 (Joe Montana’s number) native plant species growing on the patio atop the building. The stadium also showcases an impressive collection of local artwork.
StubHub and Baylor S3 created a partnership to reward motivated, analytically-talented S3 students with an expenses paid trip to the Bay area. The inaugural S3 StubHub Analytics All-Stars group visited San Francisco for three days, gaining valuable interaction time with representatives from some of the Bay’s sports industry leaders. Thanks to StubHub’s generosity, we spent three days visiting with executives from StubHub, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks, and San Francisco Giants.
S3 Senior Ian Young said, “It was great to see the variety of career paths people have taken to get to where they are in the sports industry. I really got a feel of how closely connected people are in the sports industry and how best practices are shared among teams.” Young also commented on the value of being data-driven as an organization. Each organization relies on a data strategy to generate revenue utilizing analytics, CRM, and BI/BA to derive actionable insights.
The StubHub Data-Driven Culture
Our group began the circuit of Bay area sports and entertainment properties by visiting StubHub’s corporate offices. Located in downtown San Francisco, the office encapsulates much of the Silicon Valley atmosphere and emphasis on creating a comfortable, enjoyable work environment.
S3 students received a tour of the office followed by interactive panel discussions with six StubHub employees whose positions touched many of the company’s various focuses. S3 Senior Jonathan Roselli found value in “understanding how analytics are used to report, optimize and predict performance.”
If you are interested in the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program at Baylor, visit www.baylor.edu/business/s3. Prospective students and transfers can find out more about their tickets to a career in sports. Like StubHub and other S3 Leadership partners, organizations can learn about supporting the growth of talent for the industry by visiting www.baylor.edu/business/s3/board. Look for more stories with insights from executives we met at the Warriors, 49ers, Sharks, and Giants in the coming weeks.
Since launching the first Sports CRM & Analytics track in the U.S in 2011, the S3 program is the leader in placing graduates in data analytics roles at teams [Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Dynamo, Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs, Madison Square Garden, New York Yankees, Denver Nuggets, Columbus Blue Jackets, Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins, , Utah Jazz, University of Southern California] and sports-related companies [KORE Software, Stone Timber River, Eventellect, E-15 Group, The Company, Legends Hospitality, and SportsDesk Media].
After arranging & supervising hundreds of sports internships for the last dozen or so years, Dr. Darryl Lehnus and I devised a system that works well for us.
Ideally, partners provide the internship with the same objective of developing and evaluating talent in view of future employment there or elsewhere. Our partners see intern successes as their successes, as it reflects on their abilities to train, motivate, and model excellent performance.
Among others, the Pittsburgh Pirates B.U.C.S Academy and the New York Mets are ahead of the game in organizing internships and recruiting to careers. While many teams and companies provide summer internships, the Houston Texans (sponsorships) and Houston Astros (CRM) provide 9-12 month postgraduate internships specifically for our graduates to gain more in-depth training before launching careers.
Initiate follow-up with interviews to (a) hire or (b) refer for hiring.
Five Not-So-Easy Steps
From a process standpoint, partners follow these five steps. We’ll explain each in turn.
Prepare students for careers.
Determine parameters & responsibilities.
Define, communicate and evaluate on criteria that predict success.
Hold students responsible.
Review insights & follow-through with students.
Prepare students for careers
Ask employers what they want. Continue to ask.
Too many prepare students for sports marketing or sports management jobs. The only problem is no entry level positions exist for “sports marketer” or “sports manager.” Entry level positions do exist in ticket sales, sponsorship sales & service/fulfillment, CRM, and analytics. Design coursework and programs accordingly.
Business schools have courses in professional selling, database management, statistics and predictive modeling, and data visualization (Excel, Tableau, etc.). Take advantage of these courses in planning curriculum requirements. When employers see you take them seriously, they’ll line up for your students.
Determine Parameters & Responsibilities
Once employers agree, we send them a link to an online form to identify the supervisor, time frame (start, finish, hours per week, pay or course credit), and responsibilities. Most likely you’ve already discussed this, but best to not be surprised at the end of the term that the internship didn’t include a vital part of what they needed to experience.
After selecting the type of internship, the employer completes the appropriate section for what the intern will do. Our forms are below.
Define, communicate and evaluate criteria for success
Every year the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) publish a list of attributes most desired of new hires. These could differ among some, but odds are they are the same. With a little adaptation, we use these for midterm and final evaluations by the intern’s direct supervisor.
Responses on the primary criteria (below) are shared with the intern in a meeting with the academic advisor. We also ask about punctuality, attitude, performance, and overall grade from the direct supervisor of the internship at the employer. The entire form may be downloaded here.
Sports Internship Evaluation Criteria
Specific to our own preparation and values, we ask students to be 2nd milers. When asked to do something (walk a mile), go above and beyond expectations (go the second mile). Supervisors rate the intern accordingly (below).
Hold students responsible
Students should perform well in the internship. We expect that.
We also expect them to reflect on what they learn. Keeping a daily or weekly journal is recommended.At the end of the term, students must submit the S3 Internship Report Form (click to download) regarding a weekly log of hours, assignments, volunteering, accomplishments, application of class material, issues (problems or challenges & resolutions), culture, behavioral adaptation, recommendations, and net promoter score rating for the internship.
Review insights & follow-through with students
Meet with each student to get his or her take on the evaluation provided in Step 3. Usually there are no surprises. Employers do a good job of picking up on areas for improvement that you’ve likely noticed in class. So, it’s nice to have someone else see it and say it.
Generally, these are great times to encourage students in careers. On occasion, you can use these to give appropriate kicks in the pants. We’ve seen these have fairly drastic effects on capable students who needed to get with the program. On occasion, you find some who need to find another program. The wide world of sports, perhaps the same as other industries (but we think more so),demands a high level of commitment. We help students by holding them to a high standard.
Providing good internship experiences takes effort on the part of the academic advisor, student, and employer. But, working together, internships are the foundation for successful careers. No class, book or assignment can substitute for on-the-job reality training.
The very best part of what we do is to see students succeed in their careers.
Feel free to borrow, steal, or adapt any or all of the attached materials! If you’ve found other things that work well, please let us know!
Business intelligence is old school. Business analytics is new school. Sport business analytics is finally going to school. In the past decade, interest grew beyond the 100 or so nerds at the first MIT Sports Analytics Conference to sellout crowds (>3000 geeks and wannabes) today. At the same time, courses and programs have emerged to educate tomorrow’s sports business analysts.
In all fairness, I acknowledge a number of the chapter authors are associates. My intent, then, in this book review is to not treat them as I do my friends, but will instead try to be considerate and complimentary.
The Evolution & Impact of Business Analytics in Sport
The question, “What is analytics? Really?” is often raised among academics. Professors and data scientists tend to think of analytics as using advanced statistical techniques to model and predict behaviors based on (big) data. Practitioners may refer to analytics when they really mean reporting.
In the opening chapter overview of the text, Scott Bukstein states the core purpose of sport business analytics is “to convert raw data into meaningful, value-added and actionable information that enables sport business professionals to make strategic business decisions, which then result in improved company financial performance and a measurable and sustainable competitive advantage.” In short, analytics is any “data-driven process as well as any actionable insights derived from data.”
Consistent with this understanding, the book chapters provide good case examples of data-driven processes that produce actionable insights. In large part, many of the chapters read as a series of case studies with examples of how organizations implement analytics. The chapters provide instruction to understand what leading teams and companies do on a day-to-day basis, as well as propose thought-provoking ideas for practitioners.
In Chapter 2, Jay Riola offers replicable examples of how the Orlando Magic use customer data to target and engage fan segments through appropriate digital channels and devices. Other teams would do well to learn from the success of the Magic’s Fast Break Pass and season ticket holder app, as thoroughly explained by Jay in this chapter.
Using ticket pricing analytics, Troy Kirby does a great job explaining how the secondary market is the primary market, in Chapter 3. Troy makes the argument that a ticket may eventually evolve beyond its current revocable license legal status to a material good, allowing greater freedom for fans to use and resell however they wish. The practical upshot of these two chapters is teams must more quickly adapt to digital channels–whether owned by the team or others–to provide value to fans. Teams with NIH attitudes will suffer.
Data Management & Marketing
Ray Mathew offers a basic understanding of how teams use CRM to gather and analyze customer data for use in targeted marketing campaigns in Chapter 4. Since CRM coordinators are typical entry-level positions, interested learners should be motivated to self-learn, intern, or take courses in CRM to prepare for careers in data management in sports. This chapter provides a good foundation for students to understand if this is a viable career path for them.
Michael Farris provides an overview of the Aspire Group’s 8-point ticket marketing, sales and service philosophy in Chapter 5. Academic programs lacking courses in marketing strategy will benefit from the Aspire Group’s marriage of marketing with analytics. Programs housed in business schools will also appreciate founder Bernie Mullin‘s sound approach to management and marketing. The application of the model to the experiences of Georgia Tech are particularly insightful for NCAA programs. Plus, students in classes adopting this text will go into interviews with Aspire knowing what they’re all about!
Research & Applications
Chapter 6 leans closer to the professor or data scientist’s POV of business analytics. Michael Lewis, Manish Tripathi and Michael Byman address the importance of calculating, tracking, and managing customer lifetime value (CLT) and related functions of brand and fan equity. CLV is critical to model retention and seat-buying decisions. The authors present insights into NFL team’s fan equity and social media equity to pinpoint pricing and promotion opportunities. Updates among leagues are available on Michael Lewis’ blog at Emory University (follow link here).
John Breedlove illustrates how teams use analytics to improve the performance of sales reps with targeted campaigns to open the door to warm leads. In this chapter (7), John illustrates the importance of keeping analytics simple to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Combining public (secondary) and private (primary) data can provide insights to make decisions, as when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used public geodemographic information to help set prices and target customer segments. This chapter provides a good explanation and case study for A/B testing.
Digital Media Analytics
Duke University serves its huge fan base through its crowdsourced data visualization platform know as #DukeMBBStats. Ryan Craig provides an engaging explanation of the process Duke followed to grow the platform. Ryan’s chapter (8) offers direction for other NCAA and pro organizations to create fan profiles to authentically and personally engage fans with effective marketing strategies to enhance renewals.
Michael Lorenc and Alexandra Gonzalez present a fascinating chapter (9) on leveraging digital marketing to drive revenue, relying on data from their employer (Google) to paint a picture of today’s digital buyer. Evidence shows the potential ROI on digital marketing informed by audience, acquisition, and behavioral and conversions data via Google Analytics. You’ll be analyzing your own website and digital marketing before you finish the chapter.
Sponsorship Valuation & Affinity Groups
Adam Grossman and Irving Rein provide one of the best summaries I’ve read on the state-of-the art in sponsorship valuation. [dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”200px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”Where audience analysis often fails is the inability to recognize that it is never static.” ~Grossman & Rein[/dropshadowbox] The authors provide descriptions of inherent valuation (profits generated by sponsorship assets), relative valuation (comparing CPMs across channels), and comparable valuation (comparing the price of assets offered by different properties), as well as how best to communicate to particular audiences. In addition to teaching at Northwestern (along with Professor Rein), Adam founded Block Six Analytics, using analytics and technology to help brands and teams generate revenue.
Co-editor C. Keith Harrison of the text, along with Suzanne Malia Lawrence, introduce the concept of “live analytics” in Chapter 11 to study and understand affinity groups and develop marketing plans accordingly. Live analytics, in this case, means distributing surveys during events, collecting and analyzing the results, and then creating innovative ways to engage fans. They provide an example of the Gridiron Girls football clinic at Montana State University. Another good example at the pro level is the Dallas Cowboys 5-Points Blue designed for female fans, based on extensive primary research and analysis of other NFL teams to differentiate the affinity group.
Talent Analytics & Data-Driven Storytelling
Brandon Moyer explains how the Aspire Group and others use analytics to hire and develop talent in the business of sports. At Aspire, they look for employees with WHOPPPP:
Honesty, integrity & character
Openness to learning
Passion for sport business & sales
Potential for leadership
This chapter (12) provides other examples of how teams and companies (should) use data-driven approaches to hire and evaluate personnel.
Ryan Sleeper illustrates a variety of data visualization approaches to enhance storytelling–or communication–with the intended audience in Chapter 13. Effective visualization reduces time to insight, increases accuracy and improves engagement. The lesson here, again, is: Keep it simple. Ryan offers engaging examples of how to hook an audience–like converting a league standings table into a map to quickly gauge relative team performance. See more of his Tableau tips at his website. While we are at it, we strongly recommend taking a course in Tableau if your goal is to succeed in the business of sports.
Michael Mondello provides a concluding chapter on how to teach a sports business analytics course. Dr. Mondello provides helpful examples of his approach to class relative to content delivery, class assignments, and exams.
The approach in the Sport Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program is to combine the Sport Business Analytics text (most Mondays) followed by lab instruction (most Wednesdays) using Microsoft Dynamics 365 to learn CRM and marketing automation processes reliant upon analytics. Microsoft IT Imagine Academy provides video instruction for learners at member Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance schools. Code Academy offers free courses on related data management topics, such as SQL.
To assist others using the text, below is a list of key terms for each chapter. To give the reader of this review an idea of the concepts and content, the first and last chapter are complete with definitions. The first chapter outline also provides tips on studying, just in case some students are still trying to figure that out. Other chapters contain key terms/concepts only. Feel free to download, edit and use for your own class purposes.
Three things will make CRM a great tool for your organization:
ease of use, and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
How do you measure a salesperson’s hustle? From an activity-based and CRM standpoint, is it the number of tracked phone calls, emails, and appointments in a week? What about LinkedIn InMail, Social Media, and text messaging? With the amount of different communication methods available now, does it matter what communication medium salespeople use as long as they are moving prospects through the pipeline and closing sales?
This past season we redesigned our Ticket Sales’ hustle metric by shifting the focus from activity-based performance to pipeline management. Our main objective was to let the reps sell the way that works best for them and their customers. To accomplish this objective, we wanted the reps to focus on advancing quality leads closer towards a sale, rather than hitting certain activity based quotas. Additionally, we wanted our reps to view and utilize CRM as a sales management tool and less like a simple correspondence tracking system.
Going from Quantity to Quality
[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“Our new effectiveness metric has been transformational in refocusing sales reps on engaging high-quality customers and building out their pipeline rather than achieving phone call and other activity-based benchmarks.” – Jay Riola, Assistant Director of Business Strategy, Orlando Magic [/dropshadowbox]
[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”395px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]There is a “direct correlation between effective pipeline management and strong revenue growth.” – Harvard Business Review, Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue[/dropshadowbox]
Pipeline Growth through Personal Prospecting
How does it work?
Score – Each metric is weighted with a certain value. For example, a completed appointment is 25 points, a personally prospected sales opportunity is 2 extra points, and each positive movement through the pipeline is weighted by stage and product.
Competition – Weekly, the reps compete against one another to get the highest score. The reps are then ranked, top half are winners and bottom half are losers. Over a certain period of time, the reps keep a win-loss record and prizes are given for the top performers.
It’s been four months since we redesigned the hustle metric and already our sales reps are better at utilizing our CRM as a sales tool. They have even started asking for more data on how to streamline their sales efforts. The Ticket Sales management team has done a great job in assisting the sales team with pipeline management by leveraging our pipeline and appointment reports. Having leadership adopt and support this new philosophy has helped the implementation and success of the program measurements as a whole.
In the end, activities are still important because those interactions are how prospects are engaged, qualified, and moved through the sales funnel; but instead of being measured on how many calls a rep can make in a week, we measure our reps on how efficient they are in closing a sale and generating revenue, which is their main responsibility at the end of the day.
Answering these five questions can help you know if it’s time to update your CRM system.
Are we fully utilizing our current CRM system?
Have we researched new systems?
Do we have the budget?
Is the new system easy to train?
Can we upgrade the system and minimize interruptions in sales?
After conducting research and testing software trials, your team has finally come to the conclusion to upgrade your CRM software. From a technology and marketing standpoint, the decision is clear you are taking the correct step forward. Now comes the most important task: making the switch. The departments that relied so heavily upon the outdated software are now going to be thrust into this new system with no training and no concept of what changes are in order. Unless you do something first.
A few months ago, we faced this exact situation as we transitioned from Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2011 to Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2013. We researched, read relevant blogs[ref]Here’s a good one outlining changes from MS Dynamics CRM 2011 to 2013[/ref], and worked together in our Business Strategy and Analytics Team to sell the sales and sponsorship departments on the new system. Note: Department heads look for key words and evidence of “sales efficiency” and “improved data quality” when hearing the pitch to switch to an upgraded CRM system.
Our CRM developer guided us through the process on the IT and deployment side. Based on our experience, these five tips can help make the transition as smooth as possible:
Focus on preparing, anticipating, and responding to questions from the other departments.
Select CRM power users from each department or area to help champion the new CRM system.
Meet with each power user one-on-one to let them beta test the new system and navigate through the changes.
Schedule times during individual weekly department meetings to present and train on the updated system features.
Focus on gaining the trust and cooperation of all departments by searching for more opportunities and ideas to increase efficiency & effectiveness in each department.
After you complete the steps above, it’s time to upgrade the system. It is imperative to find a weekend in which you can shut down your team’s use of CRM in order for the upgrade to be successful. We were fortunate enough to upgrade during a three day weekend. This gave us plenty of time to test and ensure the system would be ready for all users prior to launching Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Before any representatives access the new system, the system administrator should test out the new system.During the next several weeks, it is vital that the system administrator provide follow up training and consistent on-the-floor support.
Keys to Your Upgrade
Make a plan – Set up a timeline that announces and clearly identifies the necessary steps needed for the upgrade. Consider all parties affected: the end users, your team’s IT department, and your CRM developer.
Identify specific users from the various departments that will champion the new system. (Power Users)
Create transparency with all parties affected by the upgraded CRM system.
Develop a training manual that explains how to properly use the CRM system.
Keep training short and simple.
Follow up with individuals meetings with all end users when necessary.
If you have other helpful tips on how you have managed CRM system changes and upgrades, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly.
One of my favorite sales reps said this to me coming out of a CRM training session a few years ago. I think it’s the best analogy I’ve ever heard about CRM training.
“Going to CRM training is like going to the dentist….no one really looks forward to going, but when you are done, you’re usually glad you went.”
Let’s face it, CRM training isn’t sexy. Click here, do that, fill this fill field in, make sure you do that first, blah blah blah. However, user training (and user adoption) is the most critical element of CRM implementation. Here are 10 axioms to follow as you set up your user training for CRM.
1. Thou shalt not have 5 hour marathon training sessions.
I’ve probably conducted somewhere between 2,000-3,000 software trainings in my life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t possibly hold a sales rep’s attention for longer than 45-60 minutes. Maybe less. An Indiana University study says that the average attention span of students is actually around 15-20 minutes. Yikes! Make this a hardline rule right now: Training sessions cannot be longer than 60 minutes. The moment you hit 60 minutes…close up and stop training. Trust me, they’ve already stopped listening.
2. Thou shalt not cram all of the CRM training into 1-2 days.
We have a “CRM Boot Camp” that stretches across 10 (yes, 10!) days. Why so long? Repetition! Repetition is the key in software user training. I’d much rather have 10 shorter training sessions over a span of two weeks than to try to cram 2 marathon training sessions over a day or two. I purposely want my reps to go through the training, then go do something else not CRM related (aka forget about things)….and then come back the next day and see what they recall. Remember, your reps need to know how to use CRM properly every day…not just this one time. You’ll get much better rep recall when they run repetitive “sprint” sessions rather than “marathons.”
3. Thou shall not have “all staff” training sessions.
This one is brutal. I cringe when I hear a VP/President instruct the CRM Manager to “grab everyone in a conference room and go through the whole CRM thing.” Think back to the last time you had an all-staff meeting. How many people were fiddling with smartphones not paying attention to the speaker? I did a quick survey with my own staff last time we had a non-CRM related all-staff meeting: 78% of my reps admitted playing with smartphones during a portion of the meeting. When the classroom size gets too large, it’s extremely challenging to make sure everyone is following along with you.
4. Thou shalt not intermingle departments.
There are two parts to training sessions: “This is HOW you do it.” and “This is WHY you are doing it.” The first deals with compliance. The second deals with buy-in and understanding. How much you decide to dive in on the second part is the key. With newbie Inside Sales reps, it’s often best to focus on the “click here, do this” part. They are still trying to comprehend the sales scripts they just spent 7 hours learning in role-playing. So, it might be information overload to start going into the intricacies of 1:N relationships in CRM. My goal is to get newbie sales reps to do X correctly. For more experienced reps in Premium Sales, however, give them insight into why a certain form or process is being done the way it is. Get buy-in and understanding from senior sales reps who have a far greater influence on the sales staff. Sure, it might be “easier” on you to shove all of the departments into one training session. However, the way you’re going to teach a “compliance” session is going to be much different than teaching an “understanding” session.
5. Thou shalt not have the CRM Manager move the mouse.
Think back to your teenage days learning how to drive a car. Did you learn more from the passenger or driver’s seat? Reps will learn far better if they are the ones behind the wheel. There is no prize in showing how quickly YOU can navigate CRM. It only matters how well they can navigate CRM. Have reps login as themselves on training PCs to mimic “real” experience in CRM. They see their My To Do List, their leads, their dashboards, etc. Even in a group setting with multiple reps, always have the rep move the mouse on the screen. If they don’t do it, they won’t remember it.
6. Thou shalt make sure the rep’s boss is in the first few training sessions.
Nothing undermines CRM quite like when the rep’s boss doesn’t show up for the first training session. The typical dialogue between the rep and sales manager usually goes something like this, “Go see (insert CRM Guru here), s/he will run you through that CRM stuff.” Remember, the reps report to Sales Managers, not CRM Managers. When sales managers don’t show up for CRM training at least early on, it undermines the importance of CRM in their jobs. A special note to sales managers who don’t show:
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”450px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]What you are telling the rep is that while you say CRM training is “important,” it’s apparently not important enough for you to stay in this room and make sure the rep is paying attention.[/dropshadowbox]
7. Thou shalt not worry about anything else in CRM other than completing a phone call on the first day.
Everything the reps do in CRM falls into two buckets: 1) things they do about 100 times a day 2) things they do maybe once a day. Guess which singular activity they do 100 times a day….phone calls! The most important thing the reps have to do (correctly) in CRM is completing the phone call screen the way you want them to do it. Don’t worry about anything else in CRM until you are 100% satisfied that they can complete a phone call correctly without you standing over them to monitor it. Sometimes, you might get reps that will try to skip forward (how do I search this? where do I go to do that?). Tell these over-achievers that you are purposely putting blinders on them and you’ll get to that training later in boot camp.
8. Thou shalt tailor the training to the type of rep in the room.
Especially when you are doing new sales reps onboarding with CRM, you tend to encounter three very different types of reps. It’s important that you identify which types of reps you have in your training room.
“Soldiers” are the majority of your sales reps. Soldiers come in with a “tell me what to click on, and I’ll do it” type attitude towards CRM.
“Old Guard” are the minority of your sales reps. Old Guards tend to be skeptical that what you are about to show them in CRM is going to be better than their “tried and true” methods.
“Questioners” are the rarest of your sales reps. Questioners want to know WHY something is the way that it is in CRM – and may not comply until they are satisfied with your explanation.
The people you should most be concerned with are the Questioners. They are often the most influential about CRM to their sales rep brethren (positively or negatively). For more on this, check out my past S3 article that explains this in greater detail.
9. Thou shalt have mini-training sessions periodically with each department if you roll out a new feature.
Let’s say you roll out a new feature that can help them in CRM. Maybe it’s a new view that organizes info better for them. Maybe it’s a new process you’ve built in CRM that allows them to make appointments quicker. Quick! Grab the reps and huddle them together. These mini-sessions don’t need to be elaborately planned. It can be impromptu at their desks – or even better in a nearby conference room. Your sales reps and managers might actually welcome it…it gives them a quick 10-15 minute breather from making calls. I recommend doing these mini-sessions twice a month to refresh them on cool features they may have forgotten about and/or teach them new features that can help them do their job better.
10. Thou shalt make sure everyone can see the screen and read the text. I know this one sounds really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times this gets overlooked. CRM from a UI perspective has a ton of small icons, menus, and fonts. Even if you have a decent sized display for your CRM trainings (projector, large TV screen, etc.), it might still be difficult to read the text in CRM. Remember, your software training deals with more than just icon and shape recognition….much of your training will involve the rep reading text and making an appropriate user interaction in CRM. As you read this article now, take 10 steps back from your monitor/screen. Can you still read this text? If you can’t read the text, then your reps are too far away in your training room.
“Big data” is no longer just a buzz phrase or a passing fad. According to a W.P. Carey School of Business study at Arizona State University, the amount of data accessible for businesses is growing exponentially, with the amount of data doubling every 1.2 years. Having a plan for this amount of data is no longer a way to generate a competitive advantage, it’s a necessity.
Bobby Whitson, Partner at SSB Consulting Group, summed it up nicely when I chatted with him recently about the growth of big data in sports. “Without an effective data warehouse and management strategy, sports teams will continue to struggle to manage data efficiently, and more importantly, make data actionable. Big data should be a focus of every team; from generating revenue to creating better fan understanding and engagement.”
It may seem overwhelming when approaching this project, but with a few steps, you can help your organization step in to the future. According to Charlie Sung Shin, Senior Director, Strategic Planning – CRM & Analytics at Major League Soccer, “Developing a big data strategy is a journey and it’s not just about implementing new technology or integrating a customer database. The strategy needs to support and continuously be aligned with your organization’s overall goal.”
How teams can get started with big data
So where do you begin? Here are a few steps which may help you and your organization adopt a big data project.
Meet with your constituents to address short, mid and long-term goals.
Short-Term: How can I use this data to grow revenue for a ticket promotion?
Mid-Term: How can I create a better profile of my customer through all of the data feeds we have?
Long-term: How can we use the data to identify trends to generate more revenue or increase efficiency is aspects of our business?
Identify key data sources.
What are all the sources of data you have, transactional & non-transactional?
Which of these data sources are most important for your objectives?
Don’t be afraid to not incorporate some data sources from the start. It’s a process and can be taken in steps.
Data source examples include: Ticketing, Email, Social Media, Website, Surveys, Loyalty, Merchandise, Concessions
Analytical Models / Dashboard.
Aggregating the data alone doesn’t get your team anywhere. Remember (or figure out how) to identify what types of dashboards or statistical models are needed to reach your goals/objectives.
Models/Dashboards examples include: Projecting Single Game Sales, Lead Scoring, Retention Risk Modeling
Identify a partner.
Many sports teams and organizations don’t have the staffing to do this on their own. Make sure you find the partner that fits your needs, be it strategic, technical or other.