In light of The Publishing Show taking place at the London Excel Centre on March 8th and 9th, knk UK Managing Director, John Lawson, discusses current trends around BI and CRM, and why media sales tools will be indispensable for publishing and media companies in the future.

What do you expect from the Publishing Show this year?

The show was new in 2021 and I have to say it exceeded my expectations, especially given that we had just come out of lockdown in the UK. The turnout of attendees was good and there was a sense of excitement at the event to be meeting people face to face again. This year I expect the attendance will be even stronger with publishers sending more people based on last year’s positive feedback. I am looking forward to engaging with representatives of Publishers and Media companies whether from IT, sales, marketing, or circulation departments. There was particularly strong interest in our CRM solutions last year and I anticipate the same or more this year.

Why will knk365 for Media Sales be an indispensable tool that should be used in every publishing and media house?

It is essential for all publishing and media houses to have a central repository of customer, prospect, and stakeholder data, and this need is typically fulfilled by a CRM system. Interestingly from conversations last year, there are still many companies keeping such records on spreadsheets or access databases. Our ‘knk365 for Media Sales’ solution is not only modern Customer Relationship Management software to capture and search for key lead information needed for sales teams, but it has also been specifically designed for the media sales department to manage and track all interactions from first contact to successful conversion, curate personalized offers for adverts, generate cross-channel bundled quotes for both print and digital offerings, and ultimately close the deals. Not only does it manage evolving marketing strategies, but it helps companies organize every call, email, and spoken interaction with customers, and store information about internal teams, as well as competitors. Being a Microsoft solution, knk365 is naturally intuitive to use, however in my opinion the key features which make it an indispensable tool are the reporting capabilities for both the salespeople and management plus the general principle of proactive working with more automation, supported by real-time and personalized dashboard style user profiles.  A well-implemented CRM solution will provide valuable insights to accurately forecast and increase sales, as well as track deal closing successes and failures, and why deals were ultimately won or lost.

What is the current focus of the UK market in terms of CRM and BI?

Nowadays companies are recognizing that they are at a big disadvantage if they’re not using CRM software.  Not surprisingly cloud-based CRM products are at the forefront of people’s mind especially ones which provide full mobile support for using CRM and Business Intelligence apps on mobiles and tablets. With recent moves to remote working, a cloud-based CRM and reporting solution not only provides transparency to sales managers to monitor targets and results in real-time, but also allows for effective team collaboration with integration to other Office 365 tools such as Microsoft Teams.  Outside of the media sales team itself, there is a focus on increasing productivity through smoother communication between sales, marketing, and customer service teams. It is widely recognized that effective cloud-based CRM software contributes significantly to this objective, and certainly implementing CRM technology is the best way to ensure that marketing and sales efforts are synchronized.  A sales CRM platform also makes it easy to share data between departments and provide a unified customer experience.

And what kind of lessons have we learned in customer projects in this regard?

In recent projects, we have learnt that it is vital to understand the goals of each stakeholder in the business and hear precisely what they want from a new CRM – before the project starts. The system can then be configured to deliver these objectives as early as possible. The salespeople tend to love that their work is now organized, they are not overwhelmed by data that is irrelevant to them, the clutter is removed, and they can focus 100% on selling. For the Sales Manager, it is important to understand what performance metrics they want to see and how often. Delivering this quickly and getting his/her engagement is essential to ensure positive take-up by the rest of the sales team.

What advantages can knk365 offer concerning these topics (compared to other suppliers)?

Being a Microsoft product, the knk365 solution is characteristically intuitive which encourages take-up and is easy for onboarding new or temporary staff. The solution is highly configurable so can be easily personalized to suit individual users’ requirements. Microsoft Power BI comes embedded into the visual user dashboards, so reports are available both on demand and in real time. The overarching advantage of knk365 is that it has been specifically developed for Publishing and Media businesses accommodating structures such as publications, issues, sections etc. for advert placement. Seamless integration with the company’s existing Microsoft Office applications of course has significant advantages over a stand-alone CRM system.

How does knk participate in the Publishing Show?

Following a successful show in 2021, knk will be exhibiting at The Publishing Show again this year and will be on Stand DO5PS. John Lawson will be on hand to discuss your CRM requirements or any of the other knk’s solutions for Publishers. To arrange a specific time please email or just drop by at your convenience over the two days.

(Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash)