Sundial is a Californian university newspaper. Replacing outmoded software with ADvendio allowed them to boost advertising revenue through increased efficiency.
California State University Northridge publishes the Sundial, a free weekly newspaper delivered on campus. Its media footprint includes web, apps and sponsored social media content as well. Functioning as a training ground for media students, it primes them for their future careers. Supervised by three experienced staff, 20-30 students work on the paper, replicating real job roles. The advertising sales team comprises three students.
The University Needed to Replace Dated Software
Their old advertising sales software was clunky, outmoded, and unresponsive to Sundial’s particular needs. The University’s requirements are unusual in that the entire newspaper team completes its module and moves on after 16 weeks. A new group of students takes over, starting from the beginning. Jody Holcomb, General Manager, says, “The old software was from the late 90s and never grew into what we needed.”
Each intake of sales students had to wrestle with the legacy software. Invoicing is done centrally by the University accounts department, and the old software could not integrate this into the workflow, leaving the newspaper unable to track whether invoices had been paid or not. It also lacked significant functionality, such as being able to total up advertising sales for a particular campaign. Students were forced to use calculators, then input the data manually – a recipe for errors.
ADvendio Provides The Solution
After looking at various products on the marketplace, ADvendio was selected. Particularly important was its information architecture, which is built on Salesforce. The University already used it, and graduates looking for jobs will have an advantage if they already have Salesforce skills.
ADvendio installed the application in June 2016. It is much more user-friendly than the previous system. Students are able to master it quickly and concentrate on their core task of advertising sales. The end-to-end automation means order numbers, account totals, and workflow are easy to manage.
The built-in comms system is versatile, and allows managers to supervise progress on accounts, and users to write notes to each other. Jody says, “It increases students’ professionalism – they can add reminders and prompts to themselves to keep on track with their clients.”
Clients can be sent “tearsheets” – proof of publication – from within the system. Now they are digitalfiles, but in the old days they were pages torn from the publication – hence the name.
They are using reports for a number of things, including:
The Results: Boosted Efficiency
Overall, the effect is of significant improvements in efficiency. ADvendio is well-liked by the student sales reps, particularly by those who had to use the old software. It is flexible enough to move with the expansion of Sundial into sponsored social media content and apps. It will be able to cope with convergence with other student media such as the campus TV and radio stations.
“Overall we are more efficient. We know how much people owe us, whether they have paid. We are able to communicate better, it improves our professionalism.”
ADvendio works for Sundial because of its user-friendliness. Students with minimal sales experience can learn to use it easily. It enables them to become effective advertising salespeople quickly. Holcomb is exploring additional revenue-streams facilitated by ADvendio, such as sponsored content. She is also planning to sell T-shirts based on student illustrations for the newspaper, which wouldn’t have been possible to manage with the legacy software.
Holcomb says, “I love that we have all these options. We can use the software that ADvendio provided, and we can use Salesforce, so I think we have the best of both worlds.”