Case Study

Georgia Tech Athletics Scores with SalesLoft

Using SalesLoft, Georgia Tech Athletics tapped into fans’ enthusiasm and willingness to contribute to the university’s commitment to excellence.

Georgia Tech Athletics grows revenue, increases employee engagement through the ability to organize and target communications to fans using the SalesLoft platform.

Georgia Tech Athletics encompasses the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent The Georgia Institute of Technology (“Tech”). With 400-plus student-athletes across 17 varsity sports, Georgia Tech competes at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics as a member of NCAA Division I and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Their mission is to “develop young people who will change the world.” The Yellow Jackets’ commitment to excellence is evident in everything they do, from world-class education to top-notch athletics to the faculty and staff that support the mission.

Georgia Tech Athletics’ sales team is part of this group. They are responsible for season ticket, package, and group ticket sales. Additionally, they are involved in single-game ticket sales. This group of employees plays a big role in building and maintaining supporters’ strong connection with Tech. As Sales Manager, Charles O’Donnell leads the team.

The commitment to excellence permeates everything Georgia Tech Athletics does. The sales team is constantly looking for ways to streamline its operations to provide a better experience for Tech’s supporters.

“We have a unique ability to interact with Georgia Tech supporters about ticket sales and their fan experience when they’re here at Bobby Dodd or McCamish Pavilion, to talk about why they have such a strong connection with Tech, and to hopefully tap into that and have them give back even more.”

– Charles O’Donnell, Georgia Tech Athletics’ Sales Manager

The Challenge

Georgia Tech Athletics had been using a manual process to execute their sales process. The sales team was challenged by bandwidth and efficiency. There are approximately 8,000 football season ticket account holders alone!

Previously, the team operated as an outbound call center. Sales reps were expected to make as many as one hundred outbound phone calls a day with no real targeting or guidelines. Being able to expand and target communications would enable the team to reach people more frequently and in real-time.

“I want our book of business to be our entire database, whether it’s somebody who’s buying a single ticket online… a season ticket holder, or if it’s someone who gives $20 annually, every one of those people has value. When a fan is looking at a Georgia Tech T-shirt on our website, that person is telling us that they’re engaged, and they deserve our attention.”

– Charles O’Donnell, Georgia Tech Athletics’ Sales Manager

Enter SalesLoft

Georgia Tech Athletics was one of the first sports entertainment property in the world to use SalesLoft. The platform expanded the sales team’s bandwidth and provided the ability to connect with people on a more targeted level.

“I fully anticipate that the SalesLoft platform will absolutely take off in [the sports entertainment] space. It’s just too easy of a solution to optimize a database.”

Every account captured in a database has value; the team needed to find ways to optimize that value. SalesLoft has been a catalyst for allowing salespeople to do that. They found success using dynamic fields when importing a list. These fields can be filtered to make sure prospects are receiving the most relevant information.

Now, when Georgia Tech Athletics needs to communicate with their 8,000 football season ticket holder accounts, they have the ability to quickly identify their list in SalesLoft. From there, they can add it to a cadence, set up an automated email, and send the communication. The right messages are reaching fans’ inboxes, and they’re able to react in real-time.

The sales team has evolved from an outbound call sales center to more of an inbound call center. Reps can automate their processes to deliver a better customer experience, at scale. Cadences have provided structure to ensure critical steps are executed; follow-up and follow-through are imperative for success.

The Results

In 2018, sales reps were able to connect with 500 accounts who either donated for the first time or increased their level of commitment. Relationships with season ticket holders and supporters have improved through more sophisticated account development.

Pre-determined steps in the sales process have enabled the team to be more successful. Thus, sales engagement and overall revenue are up. In fact, the first day 2019 Georgia Tech football season tickets went on sale, total season tickets sold were up 81 percent over the first day of sales in 2018!

Georgia Tech Athletics’ sales team now makes connections more meaningful with impactful, productive conversations. The ability to digitally pre-qualify people with an email message and learn a little bit more about them focuses the team on who they’re talking to and about which products. Moreover, they are able to have conversations with people who want to be reached.

“We had a gentleman that was on a SalesLoft cadence who had last donated in 2015. He emailed us to say that, over the past five years, he had never been reached out to. That’s why he stopped giving. His reply to the new email communication stated, ‘You guys have been staying connected with me. You’re letting me know what’s happening at Georgia Tech. That’s really important to me, and I’m thinking about supporting the program again.’”

– Charles O’Donnell, Georgia Tech Athletics’ Sales Manager

Employee engagement is also improved. Now, every time they have a conversation, they’re talking to somebody that wants to talk to them. The pre-qualification and insight into contacts mean that sales reps get to somebody that’s interested in Georgia Tech. The mood in the sales room is lighter; connecting with fans makes the reps happier and more energized.

“In addition to SalesLoft making us more efficient and effective at managing our database it has also helped change our daily standard operating procedure which has had a noticeable effect on our culture and subsequently on staff turnover and customer service.”

The staff size has typically consisted of 10 sales reps. Over the last 6 years, the Georgia Tech Aspire property has employed over 70. In the year since Georgia Tech Athletics implemented SalesLoft, the sales department had had zero turnover. Sales Manager Charles O’Donnell reports that “reps are consistent and happy which has a profound effect on our Customer Service.”

“[Customers] want to support Tech athletics and purchase tickets. That’s just a better overall experience for everybody.”

“I sleep better at night knowing that key steps in the sales process are pre-determined versus having to rely on somebody else… Revenue is up. Engagement is up. The staff is much happier. Every time they’re having a conversation, they’re talking to somebody that wants to talk to them, that’s somebody that’s interested in Georgia Tech… it’s a better experience for both sides.”

– Charles O’Donnell, Georgia Tech Athletics’ Sales Manager

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