The media and entertainment (M&E) industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Its various segments— television, advertising, print media and radio among others—have witnesses tremendous growth in the last few years. The media and entertainment industry in Middle East will experience healthy growth in media spending, achieving double-digit compound annual advances to 2017. Viewership across various segments is likewise increasing and marketers are launching new channels to meet this growing demand. This plethora of options available to the corporate advertisers has resulted in increasing competition amongst media vehicles for the lion’s share of the region’s media and advertising industry. It has therefore become imperative for media companies to adopt new technologies and proven best practices in CRM to ensure maximum sales and productivity.
Most media companies have a distributed sales force across different countries in the middle east in the field trying to get advertising spends from prospective customers. The customers or accounts are either allocated to sales staff on the basis of territory or industry vertical or are picked up from the Missed Client Analysis which is generated on a weekly or monthly basis. This report contains data regarding quantum, frequency and time bands that major accounts had advertised in various media vehicles over the previous week. This is derived manually from reports like TAM, RAM, Airchek or Adex generated by leading market research companies and provides invaluable information to sales people regarding budget, advertising requirements and possible strategy of major advertisers. However there is no system to ensure that the missed client analysis has been viewed by the sales team and no automated method to analyze the data to make informed sales and marketing decisions, resulting in poor utilization of an otherwise important marketing tool. The management therefore needs an automated method to ensure that they are aware of industry happenings and have the benefit of the missed client report.
Having identified prospects, the concerned sales executive makes contact with the account to make a detailed presentation of the company’s offerings. Media sales business is characterized by two-way selling as it involves two parties, namely the account or the company and the agency. Three scenarios are possible, one where the client takes all decisions with regard to advertisement spends and buys independently, the second where the client takes the decisions with regard to buying but fulfills it through the agency and the third where the agency is fully responsible for ad buying. It is essential for the sales executive to identify the exact dynamics involved in the deal in order to ensure that he is spending his time and effort on the right person. Therefore his accounts need to be configured to enable bi-directional sales to clients and agencies with specifics on which brands fall under the agency’s purview and which party is responsible for generating the particular Release Order. This is not possible through MS Excel worksheets and results in a lot of duplication and wasted time and effort.
With weekly changes in TRPs, the media business is extremely dynamic with annual and mid year rate changes which are manually intimated to the sales force. Since there is no centralized system for updating rate changes it is quite probable for proposals to be sent with the old rates. In the case of General Entertainment channels and News Channels the ad sales is extremely commoditized with a large number of proposals being generated on a daily basis by the numerous sales executives in each location. The proposals are primarily related with concerned time band, rate and total amount and have very little uniqueness thereby requiring minimum customization. However having to manually create the proposals expends a huge amount of time and also leaves room for error which can be eliminated by automating the proposal generation process. There is also no automated method of tracking the status of these proposals, generating reminders for approvals and authorizations and moving the proposal on to logical conclusion. Each sales hierarchy is authorized to dispense of only a certain percentage of discount. Beyond this he needs the approval of higher authority. An automated work flow would ensure that when the proposal is in the negotiation stage a mail is automatically sent to the manager for his authorization of required discount. This would ensure that all proposals are being worked upon in tandem to ensure that no opportunity slips through the fingers. Once the proposal is accepted and the advertisement is aired, the bill is generated which needs to go to the correct person within the account and followed up for payment. In the manual method payment follow-up is not done aggressively and there is also no system for monitoring the client’s credit status.
There is normally an excessive demand for primetime slots and a corresponding trough in demand for non-prime time slots. As a result it is common for prime time slots to be oversold while non-prime time slots go without ads. Having an updated view of inventory helps the sales strategy person to react in real time to such situations.
The business of ad sales is extremely personalized and depends on relationships that have been cultivated carefully. Small gestures like remembering important days can go a long way in cementing relationships. However it is near impossible to manually remember the dates of all prospects in a sales executive’s list or to keep track of their hobbies and other interests. Hence there is a need for an automated reminder of birthdays, anniversaries. and an updated record of likes and dislikes of senior account representatives to ensure that gestures made are relevant.
Sage CRM for Media is the industry specific Customer Relationship Management Suite from Sage which has been developed on the award winning Sage CRM platform and customized to address the specific requirements of the media industry. The solution has been developed by UAE based Sage business partner Providian Global FZE.The solution comes with default features for automated proposal generation, central rate card management, account management, offline integration with market reports and deal and opportunity management. Sage CRM can also be integrated to the world’s leading ERP suites like SAP and Oracle as well as the leading broadcasting systems in the world such as Wide Orbit, RCS. Due to its scalability, the CRM implementation can initially begin small and then expand to meet the growing requirements of the media company.
Sage CRM allows users to create detailed fields to maintain data regarding type of account – client or agency, the concerned contact at the client or agency, client brands handled, media managers involved which ensures that the sales person uses his time and efforts effectively to receive the Release Order most quickly and profitably. Since the meetings and interactions history repose centrally it helps in productivity management as the top level managers get a complete view of the amount of time that has been devoted by the sales executive to an account. They are also empowered to assign realistic monthly, quarterly and annual targets for their team members and monitor the same on a region, division and team basis. The powerful activity and calendar management tool within Sage CRM helps in optimum usage of sales time by enabling sales personnel to manage their daily sales activities and ensure that they stay abreast of their daily schedule.
Sage CRM also enables the creation of a central rate card called the rate master that gets updated either annually or half-yearly by the administrator. Owing to the flexibility of the proposal module, proposal templates can be easily created and maintained. While generating proposals, the relevant rate, eligible discount from the discount master and the relevant terms and conditions are pulled into the pre-existing templates so that proposals are created at the touch of a button, thereby eliminating errors at the user level. Once the proposal has been sent to the client, there is a tracking system whereby the status of the proposal can be monitored and an inbuilt approval mechanism sends out mails for rate related authorization to the senior managers concerned. Furthermore as each opportunity progresses, the user can track details such as products involved, duration of the campaign, other media involved, agency involved ensuring that he stays abreast of all campaigns that he is handling at present.
Offline integration with leading market reports like Airchek, TAM, RAM and Adex ensures that the data regarding media wise and month wise advertisement expenditure of current and prospective clients is automatically posted against respective accounts. This data is further analyzed by the system to automatically generate the Missed Client Analysis which gives a ready reckoner of missed opportunities and provides essential information on client budgets and spends so that he can make more accurate pitches. This report is distributed from the server to all sales staff across locations, which gives the management control over whether the sales staff have seen the report and used it effectively.
Sage CRM also enables effective inventory management as it empowers the sales strategy team to take real time rate decisions to generate maximum returns from air time demand and prevent over sell or under sell of time slots. Once the bill is generated it travels from accounts to the CRM electronic system from where reminders are sent to the sales person to follow up with the client for payment and take the follow up to conclusion. In the event of a credit hold the system blocks proposal generation for the client unless the dues are settled. Once payment is made the system is automatically updated and the sales person is informed.
Sage CRM helps create static sales forecast and sales reports as well as dynamic MIS and Business intelligence reports using visual analyzer, an add-on feature, which offers top management real time view of market trends, ad spends, top deals. The system also maintains detailed information about the client such as hobbies, important dates, interests. which enables the company and its management to connect personally with the client. The communication can even be automated by using Sage CRM Workflow engine, which sends out personalized automatic communications to the concerned client contact from any designated person in the company.
Sage CRM offers the following key business benefits to media & broadcasting companies:
Sage CRM caters to both time band based selling as well as program based selling. Its multi-station & multi-channel capability also enables it to cater to large media houses with multiple stations or channels operating under the same banner, wherein sales for all the individual entities can be managed using a single product. The high level of customization of Sage CRM for the media industry also facilitates rapid deployment