The Group Sales Spotlight: Ryan Erdman, Carolina Hurricanes
Over the next few months, we'll be sitting down (or zooming!) with Group Sales leaders in sports to talk through a number of topics. We'll cover their current and past success stories, discuss theme nights, group sales tactics and they'll also share advice about how to succeed in "Groups" during COVID-19 times. We're excited to spotlight our first group sales leader... Ryan Erdman, who's the Senior Director of Client Retention and Group Sales at the Carolina Hurricanes.
Group Sales "Theme" success story!
Title: College Colors Series
· In three years it has grown from four college events to 13. Ryan believes there is still opportunity for this to continue growing as well
· The program started with piloting a couple schools and growing from there. (PRO TIP: Prove the concept first before you spend too much time on a big idea that may not work)
· Since the launch the program has driven over 5,781 tickets for the Hurricanes
· Before the series began, their college sales were segmented into small groups. Reps were assigned by types of groups such as Greek Life, Intramurals, etc. going after that category at each university. They had moderate success with that approach but it wasn't what they wanted
· The transition to the College Color Series, had them transition to a rep per school (all facets) which has helped grow the relationship within that school. They now have deeper relationships with each school as well as a greater reach
· The nights include the school bands, cheerleaders, alumni, students and other supporters of the College
· They worked together with marketing to build a cohesive program that included in game elements, a hat and a discounted ticket. (PRO TIP: If they feel as if the night was built for them, and there are value adds, it enhances the experience and creates greater demand)
· Marketing supports the nights by designing the hats, developing creative such as email and web graphics and targeted paid advertising based on the school and sales
"While we as salespeople are programmed to drive urgency it is especially important to value relationships over sales right now."
What can we learn from this?
The concept of test piloting with a couple small groups and then growing from there.
· They have replicated this model to their work with Youth Hockey programs and organizations. Starting small and having success with one, then expanding their model of success to other leagues and tournaments
· They credit some of the success to Spinzo for making it simple and easy for group leaders to buy and share the offer, their team members for being so proactive with it, and their group leaders for being the real stars of the show!
· They have preached that while we as salespeople are programmed to drive urgency it is especially important to value relationships over sales right now. Timing is everything and people will remember how you made them feel during this difficult time. That can positively impact sales moving forward and help you develop better (more genuine) relationships with your group leaders in the future. (PRO TIP: You can have the best theme nights and sales reps, but if you don't have genuine buy-in from your internal champion group leaders, it'll be hard to succeed in group ticket sales)
· Community relations has been doing feel good moments with mascot visits, pop ins on company Zooms, etc. These have really enhanced relationships as well
About the authors:
Denise Sicheneder is the Vice President of Sales and Service at Spinzo. Spinzo is used by all major sports leagues, colleges, venues, and one-time events. With its unique pricing and social technology, the platform allows clients to sell more tickets, faster, and more efficiently across a broad spectrum of sales including group tickets, single game tickets, season tickets, suites, plans, deposits, and merchandise sales. Spinzo is known for its total flexibility and top-notch client service. Denise runs all business development and client retention for Spinzo. Prior to that she worked as a consultant and also spent 12 years working in team sports with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Hawks. You can learn more about Denise on LinkedIN here.
Ryan Erdman is the Sr. Director of Client Retention and Group Sales with the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL. In that role he oversees all group sales initiatives and leads their customer service and season ticket retention efforts as well. He's been with the Hurricanes for 5+ years and prior to that he spent 4+ years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He's recognized as a leader throughout the sports business and is always available to share advice and help others. You can learn more about Ryan on LinkedIN here.