Process Management Saves Time, Increases Sales
Nick-at-Night, a programming block of classic TV shows that began 20 years ago and shows each evening on the Nickelodeon network, and TVLand, a channel devoted to classic TV and owned by Nickelodeon, are both served by one sponsor promotions team that sells special programming packages to the network’s advertisers.
The On-Air Sponsor Promotions department is responsible for recruiting sponsors for special programming on the networks. While some special programming is determined at the start of the year and information on the sales packages disseminated to the sales team in January via a book of sales sheets, some special programming is brought into the mix at the last minute. The On-Air Sponsor Promotions team must collect the pertinent information from five separate departments—programming, creative, production, marketing and sales—and get each department’s approval on the sales sheet before it is sent to the salespeople.
Because they required each department’s representative to physically sign off on each sales sheet, the approval process was often held up while the sales sheets sat in in-boxes and languished on the desks of employees out on vacation. Often, special programming sponsorships were undersold or unsold because the sales team didn’t get the package information in time to contact potential sponsors.
- Nick-at-Nite/TVLand’s On-Air Sponsor Promotions department needed an automated way to gather and process approvals in a fast, organized manner that created a complete record of the process and approvals.
- Because the solution needed would serve only a small group within the network, the team needed a program that would require a cost-efficient up-front cost that would provide a significant return on that investment.
- Nick-at-Nite/TVLand activated Integrify OnDemand in late January and employees have been using the solution’s full capabilities since the beginning of February.
- When Nick-at-Nite/TVLand activated Integrify OnDemand, Integrify provided a branded site, training and user data import.
- Integrify provided Nick-at-Nite/TVLand secure hosting of Integrify OnDemand through its partnership with Rackspace.
Nick-at-Nite’s creative department was already using Integrify for its own internal routing and approval processes, so when creative team members heard the sponsor promotions division members’ concerns about their own internal approval issues, they recommended Integrify as the perfect solution.
Integrify is a flexible request management tool that allows companies to automate requests and streamline approval processes. The software provides form creation, routing definition and tracking tools to those responsible for processing requests, minimizing data entry and simplifying requests for approval and fulfillment. Integrify is web-based, allowing for easy user accessibility and management of approval processes. The solution eliminates problems typically related to labor-intensive processes such as manual paper handling and email requests, and can reduce costs per transaction 60 to 90 percent as opposed to paper-based processes.
By allowing a company’s employees the most efficient means to access, submit and obtain fulfillment for requests, an organization can offer the best possible level of service to its customers. With Integrify, efficiency gains are immediate and most companies can expect a return on investment (ROI) in three months or less.
The Integrify OnDemand solution provides the full functionality of Integrify via the Internet without the need to install and maintain software. It reduces the risk, cost and time when implementing a solution for process management. Instead of installing the software on its own site, a company can directly access the software, updates, and infrastructure, which are all maintained by Integrify, freeing up time and resources to focus on business.
“Integrify OnDemand was the most straightforward solution out there that offered all the features we needed to get the job done,” said Denise Jaworski, senior director of sponsor promotions. “And because it was offered as a service over the web, it didn’t take very long to learn or to get it up and running. The sooner we could get started, the better.”
Prior to implementing Integrify, the Sponsor Promotions team would physically hunt down those who had to approve sales sheets in the offices and hallways at the network. If someone was out of the office on business or on vacation, the whole process would be held up until they returned.
“Our time is incredibly valuable,” said Jaworski. “TV/media deadlines are drop-dead. We need to sell packages before we go on-air!”
According to Jaworski, the greatest benefit the team has experienced is being able to send timed emails to all approvers who have not yet signed off on the sales sheet.
“We can set up the system so that it sends a reminder email every hour, on the hour, until they approve it,” she said.
The other value has been providing a record of everyone’s comments and approvals. Before, approvers wouldn’t take the time to write out feedback on the sales sheets, but might offer verbal comments which may not be relayed. If comments were written, they, along with approval signatures, would all be on different pieces of paper that would be filed in different places. Later, when questions came back about whether or not someone approved the sales sheet or gave particular feedback, there was no paper trail. Now, Jaworski’s team has a single record for each sponsorship package that is easily accessible to everyone involved.
The greatest return the Sponsor Promotions team has seen in the last year is recovery of potentially lost sponsorship dollars.
For example, Nick-at-Nite planned a last-minute special program for Thanksgiving 2004. The Sponsor Promotions department quickly pulled together the detailed sponsorship package information from the programming, creative, production, marketing and sales departments about two months before the special was scheduled to run. But when the approval process began, it got bogged down and the first approval signature was not procured until five days into the process. It wasn’t until three weeks after the special was announced that the sales team finally received the sales sheet and could begin selling sponsorship packages. With less than a month before airing, the sales team ran short on selling time and not one sponsorship was sold.
“The beauty of Integrify OnDemand,” said Jaworski, “is that they would have gotten an email every hour until they signed, and we would have gotten that sales sheet out within days.”
Because of this incident, which cost the network a significant amount in sponsorship money, the Sponsor Promotions team decided to automate the approval process and eventually chose Integrify. Although a small implementation (by the end of 2005, eight employees will be able to set up forms and post items for approval, while 20 employees will have clearance to make approvals), the financial gains to the network are on a much higher level, especially considering they will process 80 to 100 sales sheets via Integrify each year.
For now, the Sponsor Promotions team will continue to use Integrify OnDemand in the same manner, facilitating approval and dissemination of sponsorship programs to the sales team to increase the number of sponsorships secured each year.
“But if we find another process that can be made easier through Integrify, I know we’ll be adding that function to the system,” said Jaworski.