Factory Media needed fast error free ad sales
Factory Media is a leading specialist in lifestyle sports, creating content across 19 websites, reaching 350 million people a month and servicing 600 clients.
Centralized cross-media view and faster product innovation for leading sports content company
Lifestyle sports today have a huge and growing following. In fact, according to Factory Media, more people across Europe watched the Tour de France or the Winter Olympics than they did the World Cup Final in 2014.
So Factory Media has a mission – to reach the 350 million fans across the globe that relish the visual spectacle and amazing stories of sports such as cycling, snowboarding and surfing. To do this it conceives, creates and delivers bespoke native and branded content through its in-house networks, owned and operated channels, social audiences and client platforms. Perhaps because of their lack of mainstream recognition, these sports typically have a high reliance on digital communities and Factory Media has recently invested £1.1 million to focus on digital content and on targeting the video and TV sector. It believes the market has significant potential and has set itself an ambitious strategy of growth.
Today, driven in part by this investment, Factory Media has established a justified reputation as a company at the cutting edge of digital media and content production, capitalising on emerging media platforms.
It realized that it needed to move fast to commercialize these innovations but in doing so it faced some key challenges. Its advertisement sales and booking processes were highly fragmented. Adoption of an existing sales management system was poor and spreadsheets were the only alternative which meant the only method of integration was, literally, to walk across the office holding a piece of paper to compare notes with a colleague.
This brought several challenges. Although Factory Media’s strategy was to focus on digital and TV, the volume of new products coming onto the market was complex to see and understand and selling was difficult.
As Nick Bradley, commercial director of Factory Media explains: “The sales team were spending too much time on administration rather than concentrating on the selling itself – and using manual methods naturally led to some order errors. “Managers were having problems assessing individual, team and company targets and there was no accurate pan-organization overview to show company performance and profitability. In short, this lack of agility just didn’t do justice to the innovative multi-platform content on offer.”
Factory Media was quick to recognize that it needed to retire its legacy system and bring its sales processes up to speed. Yet it had to strike while the market was hot and couldn’t afford to risk excessive downtime for implementation. After a thorough market search, it chose the CloudSense Media Platform.
This is a Salesforce-native platform which offers powerful Configure Price Quote (CPQ) capability and then goes on to support sales right through to billing and beyond. It enables the integration of otherwise siloed information to accelerate innovation, increase sales and improve the customer experience. Factory Media could see the advantages of being able to do this within its existing Salesforce software.
Because the CloudSense Media Platform is cloud-based and needs only minimal customization it was extremely fast to implement taking only a matter of weeks. “In fact, even though we were making key changes to the business, the platform was able to accommodate these in a very short timeframe,” says Bradley.
There are also now plans to integrate the CloudSense Media Platform with Factory Media’s ad server and billing system.
“We are now able to focus on rapid innovation without worrying whether our system is agile enough to keep up with the pace. Also, having all our expanding portfolio visible on one central system helps our sales team optimize the entire range and ensure we take up every new opportunity,” says Darryl Newton, Factory Media’s managing director. Bradley agrees: “I would say that ad bookings are going through around 40% faster than previously and we have 50% fewer invoice errors too.”
The CloudSense Media Platform is now used by Factory Media’s entire sales team, growing user adoption from less than 10% on the existing sales management system to 100%. It sits at the heart of their sales processes enabling the fast development of tailored propositions (with automated approvals) and complex cross media products which are attractive to customers but remain within their pre-set parameters of profitability.
The platform also simplifies its customer relationships as all information on each individual’s cross-channel sales history is stored in a central location. To Factory Media one of the most important benefits of the CloudSense Media Platform has been a major improvement in management information available. The platform makes sales team performance visible from the first point of contact with the customer to invoicing, this means the company always has a snapshot of current sales and can manage targets closely. Because sales and product data is all centralized and easily accessible, the platform enables far more comprehensive reporting, enabling the management team to plan deliverables for the next months and years. They can also track how customer relationships progress and improve over time.
“Time spent on spreadsheets was taking me away from my core work and I now have far more time to spend on what I should be doing; strategic planning,” says Bradley. “The technology is completely scalable so will support our aggressive growth plans. Following an agile project methodology, the initial implementation was live within a matter of weeks but the flexibility of the Salesforce and CloudSense platform means it will be easy to grow in complexity as time goes on. For example, in the future we will be able to communicate with customers using increasingly sophisticated automated process flows,” he concludes.
“With the CloudSense Media Platform Ad bookings are going through around 40% faster than previously and we have 50% fewer invoice errors too.”