Using sports technology in the sales process
by Mike rudner - vice president, business operations at sports business solutions | December 14, 2018
When I first started pitching digital products to sports teams (During my time at IOMEDIA), my message was “This technology can replace your sales reps and in turn reduce costs”. I truly believed that old school sports sales tactics were out of date and that making 100 cold calls a day wasn’t the right way to go. It was time for new school sports sales.
The two stories we would tell to show ROI were something like this. “The power is now in the fans’ hands when it comes to seeing the best available seats. You should blast the Virtual Venue (3D seating map) with updated seating availability to as many people as possible and they will buy when they’re ready.” Also, “Don’t spend $50,000 on select-a-seat sales events in the offseason. Close down the actual venue and use our Virtual Venue to relocate your customers online.”
While some of that remained true, and teams would see success in those two facets, I started noticing a trend. The teams that were happiest with us at IOMEDIA (my prior sports tech company) weren’t the ones that wanted the technology to do the selling itself, but they were the teams that had their reps incorporate the tech into their sales process. Let me provide a few examples:
-The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would send their sales reps to local malls and have the Virtual Venue loaded onto iPads to show any interested fan what’s available. If they sold a handful of premium ticket packages, it would be pay for the annual cost of the product.
-Instead of closing down the venue entirely for select-a-seat, the Boston Celtics reduced the days they opened their venue by half and had laptops set up in the concourse during the select-a-seat event. That way season ticket holders could see up-to-date availability as their selection time was coming up. They found it helped with conversions.
-The Miami Dolphins and Sacramento Kings used Virtual Reality as a carrot to get people down to the sales center to meet in-person with a rep to virtually tour their new facilities. The Kings even had reps using Google Cardboard at games during the last season at Sleep Train Arena to get them excited about what's to come.
There are so many sports technology vendors out there: IOMEDIA, Fevo, Groupmatics, Teckst, Channel 1, OneMob, etc. that have amazing products to help increase your sales numbers. But many teams and reps rely solely on those products to do all the work for them; send an e-brochure link or post on LinkedIn and hope for the best. That’s almost always a losing situation, and in turn it’s going to make teams and reps sour on using technology in the sales process.
Sales, especially in sports, is so relationship based. It’s something we continuously stress during our Sports Business Solutions sales training sessions with our partners. Use technology to help you get your foot in the door, keep you organized, gain more quality sales leads and enhance what’s already making you successful, but don’t let it replace the phone and face-to-face meetings. Instead of arguing new school vs. old school, marry the two and the results will speak for themselves.
Mike Rudner is the VP of Business Operations at SBS. Before that, he spent 7.5 years at IOMEDIA, leading the sales and account management department. For theClubhouse, Mike will be writing a series of blogs about the sports tech world. If you have ideas for stories, please e-mail Mike at email@example.com.