The main challenge with projects designed to support the licensing of content is that there are fewer black and white answers than other subject matter areas, for example, finance and broadcast. Understanding the sensibilities of the sales stakeholders and appetite for risk in the business is therefore of paramount importance before commencing the project.
Opinions and approaches vary significantly within the same role and the same company, for example after the sale of a title to a broadcaster in France some heads of sales we know would say ‘focus on big ticket items, move on, sell another title, sell another territory’ and others that would say ‘there’s money left on the table in that territory for that title, what about Flemish speakers, what about TVOD’. Understanding the profile of the sales team and how solutions and processes should be designed accordingly will ensure multiple perspectives can be accommodated.
When we embark on a sales project we focus heavily on the expectations of the sales users and respect the fact that different people need different tools to achieve their objectives even within the same division. Some users may be focused on first cycle sales of new releases and therefore place far more weight on smaller reports with heavy design elements and others may be incentivised to find value in the library and rely on more data driven reports. There is no common requirement that will work for all and consequently there will be different workflows which a consultant who has not been part of a sales team will be unlikely to recognise.
Whilst all user requirements need to be considered challenging stakeholders whenever requirements can create impractical processes or outputs is still important. During one project we were told by a sales user that they would only use a sales and availability reporting solution if it could produce a single printed report of every territory, right and language combination for every title in the library. We then calculated that each title when printed would create a stack of paper taller than the user and so asked how they managed this today and were told ‘I don’t but you never know if I’ll need to’.
Within that seemingly unreasonable request though there was a valid point, the way content is licensed changes regularly and sales users may not know what they’ll need to report on next week. Rather than focus on replicating as-is processes and current hard-coded reports the objective of new projects should be to develop a framework that is flexible with how information can be queried and presented. An understanding of the underlying architecture of solutions is key to the decision-making process when selecting or implementing solutions if you want to guarantee the reports your users will need can be delivered in a timely fashion.
Sales projects can definitely add value to organisations when approached correctly and in our upcoming case studies we will analyse those successes and also some of the failures we have seen and identify the points where the key decisions were made that had the greatest influence on the outcome of the projects.