I recently had the opportunity to work on a very interesting project. Vanbreed Studios is hosting their first Comic Con in June. Since I just so happen to be married to the owner of Vanbreed, I wanted to do whatever I could to help out. However, since I am still pretty new to the comic world I wasn't really sure what I could do that would be of value. After all, my specialty is Customer Relationship Management systems. At first glance it didn't seem that my expertise would be of much use. At least, that is until I had an “A-ha!” moment. Managing a comic con entails an awful lot of data.
There are vendors and artists that want to purchase space, so there needs to be a way to keep track of who has submitted orders and who has paid. Not to mention, it is critical to keep track of who has purchased which space so nothing gets overbooked.
There are celebrities and guests to keep track of. Not only do you need to keep track of who has been invited & who has accepted, you also need to keep track of the status and details of their contracts. In addition, travel details need to be managed to ensure that everyone is at the right place at the right time.
In addition to that, there are vendors. Which food trucks are scheduled? How much pipe & drape has been ordered? Who do you call if there are problems at the site?
Let’s not forget the marketing contacts. Did somebody send payment for the billboard? Who is our contact at the radio station? How can we set up a marketing campaign to send information to local comic shops?
Once we really started to take a look at the data, it became obvious that a CRM system was exactly what we needed. Straight out-of-the-box functionality wouldn't work for us, but with a little bit of customization I could create exactly what we needed. I decided that SalesForce would be a great fit for this project since we needed something that was customizable, cloud-based, and mobile-friendly. We only needed a couple of licenses since we are a small company, so that was also an important consideration.
I have customized our lead and contact forms so we can easily different between artists, exhibitors, vendors, guests, press, etc. I created a custom object to hang off the account record that allows us to keep track of travel arrangements. We are using web-to-lead to manage signups for our newsletter. There are quite a few other customizations, but those are the ones that have had the biggest impact.
So, what is the moral of this story? Basically, when it comes to CRM systems keep an open mind and don’t ever feel constrained by out-of-the-box functionality. Even if your business model doesn't follow the classic lead/account/opportunity sales flow, there is still an awful lot that a CRM system can do for you.
Quick plug for the Comic Con…
The Texas Comic Fest will be coming to Lewisville, TX on June 13, 2015. The Texas Comic Fest is a one-day celebration of pop culture. The best thing about the show is that it benefits the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Texas!
We will have creators from the comic and animation industry, celebrities from popular TV shows such as FX Sons of Anarchy and AMC's The Walking Dead and of course, awesome vendors.