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Single view of customers across sales and bookings

Financial Times

The Financial Times is an international daily newspaper with an emphasis on business and economic news. The daily readership is an average of 2.2 million people worldwide, 4.5 million registered users on FT.com and over 285,000 digital subscribers.

CloudSense platform selected to provide real-time single view of the FT's print ad-sales pipeline and bookings within Salesforce

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    Background

    The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community. The FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 677,000.

    In 2010 the Financial Times began their move to the cloud with a global Salesforce rollout to their sales and finance teams that was completed in the summer of 2011. The Financial Times is a global business with complex requirements. A variety of teams that manage clients and agency relationships are spread out across various regions including US, Asia and Europe. As such, a significant amount of customization was required to have one common system that worked across the global team.

    The Financial Times initially engaged with CloudSense Services for Salesforce consultancy to develop various force.com applications and to undertake custom development for their editorial team. After the Salesforce CRM rollout the Financial Times engaged CloudSense to transform their print ad booking system in order to better adapt to the ever-changing advertising landscape.

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    Challenge

    The Financial Times needed a real-time single view of their print ad-sales pipeline and bookings. The Commercial team, a 200 strong ad-sales team and 350 Salesforce users, were using a legacy print ad-booking system that was not integrated into their strategic Salesforce based cloud architecture. Not being linked to the sales pipeline, accounts and contacts meant that the Financial Times lacked a single view of their customers across both the sales process and the booked print ads. The Financial Times also wanted to reduce the administration burden of the ad-sales team. Multiple data entry points for pipeline, contacts, print booking and digital bookings took time away from selling and introduced errors.

    The siloed print ad-booking system was on premise, requiring a citrix application for access, had limited reporting capabilities and was difficult to configure or change. Resources that could develop on the legacy platform were also becoming more and more of a scarcity. This lead to development cycles for new features taking over a year which heavily constricted innovation and agility. The Financial Times had a difficult and manually intensive process exporting information into spread sheets to produce consolidated client spend information to then match with the ad-sales pipeline.

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    Solution

    The Financial Times chose the CloudSense Platform to replace their legacy print ad booking system with a modern integrated ad booking system that tied into the existing sales pipeline reporting. Salesforce Sales Cloud was chosen for sales pipeline reporting and as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool for the management of contacts and accounts. By linking ad booking to the sales pipeline, accounts and contacts meant that the Financial Times now had a single view of the customer covering the span of the pitch process through to print ad bookings. The Financial Times could understand both whom the sales team were speaking to versus whom was actually buying print advertising in a single system.

    As the CloudSense Platform is native to Salesforce the data entry points have been reduced for the ad sales reps; the updating of pipeline and contacts can now been achieved in the same place as print ad bookings. This simplified the process of reporting on client spend, avoiding the previous significant data crunching to get the detail out of all the systems. The CloudSense Platform and Salesforce are the centre of the new systems architecture, integrating into the financial system that handles billing and revenue reporting, the production planning system and the print site management.

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    Results

    The Financial Times have seen a number of benefits of implementing the CloudSense Platform. Sean Caesar, Director of Advertising CRM, the Financial Times comments: “Changes are much faster, taking days hours or minutes rather than up to a year or more. There is less reliance on the IT department with administrators now able to keep the system up to date and make quick changes, such as adding new positions to a publication or dates to a publication calendar. Previously these changes went through the more heavyweight change process that was taking months or over a year to do. The CloudSense Platform has provided the agility to make those changes in days and sometimes minutes. That greater level of control in the hands of administrators rather than requiring coders was immensely powerful.”

    “We picked up the CloudSense Platform up really quickly and easily.” Sean Caesar continued, “Being able to control the user experience dynamically was a big win. Basic configuration changes now take minutes rather than weeks or months”.

    “Pricing flexibility has also dramatically increased, helping the business adapt more quickly to our advertisers needs. Changes to the published standard rate card are now made very easily. Sales reps can provide discounts but are restricted to the rules set out by management.” Caesar explained, “This has given us insight on the true market value of the booked ads as compared to our rate card. In addition, since permissions are controlled through the system with greater depth, we were able to ensure the ad booking system is and remains Sarbanes Oxley compliant.”

    “Ad booking errors have been dramatically reduced. The validation the CloudSense Platform provides has helped guide the sales reps ensuring that ads booked are able to be fulfilled. Ads being booked on occasion with a height of zero are now a thing of the past, avoiding costly time being spent on reworking bookings and issuing credit notes.”

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“Changes are much faster, taking days, hours or minutes rather than up to a year or more. Pricing flexibility has dramatically increased, helping the business adapt more quickly to our advertisers’ needs.”

Sean Caeser, Director of Advertising CRM