Nov. 1, 2016 – The red blinking “hold” button pulsed impatiently as Kate frantically clicked through emails and scrolled through spreadsheets searching for an answer. In desperation, she finally called over her cubicle wall to coworkers, “Does anyone remember the New Orleans hotel we used for Contoso last year?” Someone at the corporate event management company, Bishop-McCann had to know—but Kate needed the detailed information now.
Conduct a symphony of details
Bishop-McCann (BMC) is in the details business. The Kansas City, Missouri–based corporate event management company produces large-scale meetings, conventions, sales incentive programs, product launch special events and other big, flashy affairs for clients all over the world. It handles all event logistics from coming up with creative themes to creating and producing content, booking air and hotel reservations, engaging speakers and entertainers and designing incentive programs.
“Putting on big corporate events is like conducting a symphony,” explains Rob Adams, Chief Executive Officer at Bishop-McCann. “Every detail matters. One ‘off’ note sours the whole impression. We organize more than 300 large-scale meetings, sales incentive programs and live special events a year and make 78,000 hotel reservations annually. We manage an intense level of complexity in our business and our clients expect us to be on top of it all.”
Until recently, BMC associates managed this complexity through sheer effort and skill. Although in business for nearly 20 years, the company had never implemented automated efficiencies around sales, marketing, service and engagement management. Instead, associates used spreadsheets, Microsoft Outlook and a mix of other tools to manage contacts, qualify leads and run client engagements.
In its back office, BMC used a number of commercial and homegrown computer systems for human resources, finance, expense and reporting and other operational areas. “None of our systems talked to one another, which bred inefficiencies,” Adams says. “We might generate the same report 15 times, because associates didn’t know that a template already existed. We had lots of spreadsheets flying around.”
However, spreadsheets created security vulnerabilities. BMC does a lot of business with pharmaceutical companies that are announcing new drug launches and product details at BMC-managed events and has to comply with complex regulatory requirements around information protection. “Clients are trusting us with incredibly confidential information,” Adams says. “If it leaked, it could be extremely damaging.”
Automate workflows in the cloud
BMC hired Adams in 2014 and tasked him with growing the business. He looked around and realized that the company would have a tough time expanding without technology automation.
Adams first got the corporate event management company set up on Microsoft Office 365, which replaced reliance on hard drives with cloud file storage (OneDrive for Business) and shared collaboration spaces (SharePoint Online). With Office 365, the company’s 100 associates also gained access to a rich portfolio of communications tools such as presence, instant messaging, video calling (Skype for Business Online) and social networking (Yammer).
Adams then hired trusted technology advisor ASK Consulting to help select a client-experience platform that would include a sales, service and marketing automation system. After narrowing the list to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.com, BMC chose Dynamics 365. “We’re making a big bet on the cloud and we felt that Microsoft ‘got’ the cloud better than Salesforce,” Adams says. “Plus, Dynamics 365 had better integration with Office 365 and was more familiar to associates because of our use of Outlook.”
BMC deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing, Service and Social and used the Dynamics 365 add-on Mailchimp, from PowerObjects, to customize the software to its needs. For example, it built a “contact us” form in Dynamics 365 and used PowerObjects to deploy it to its website. When a prospect fills out the web form, Dynamics 365 automatically routes it to the right salesperson. If the lead is not touched within 24 hours, it’s automatically routed to another salesperson.
Streamline and standardize operations
With Dynamics 365, all documents are stored in one place, all client contacts are recorded in one place and all workflows are standardized and automated. When BMC salespeople contact those web leads, they use a standardized script to qualify them. If the salesperson elects to move the lead to the next step, he or she kicks off another automated workflow in Dynamics 365 that pulls in expertise from other areas of the business.
Instead of emails and spreadsheets flying around the office, BMC associates use Skype for Business Online to share screens and review documents together in real time, which reduces errors and increases efficiency.
With all client and project data in the cloud, associates can get to it anytime, anywhere, from any Windows, Apple or Android device—from laptops to smartphones.
“Since implementing Dynamics 365, we’ve increased our qualified pipeline by 33 percent and seen net incremental growth of 11 percent,” Adams says. “We’ve also decreased our marketing spend by 20 percent, because we now know which marketing campaigns are most effective, and we’re pursuing better-qualified opportunities. With the savings it’s generated, Dynamics 365 paid for itself within seven months.”
A safe place to remember everything
Instead of client requirements and preferences being squirreled away in multiple spreadsheets and emails, they’re stored safely and centrally in Dynamics 365, where every authorized associate can access them. “Before, we had to ask our clients the same questions over and over, which resulted in inefficiencies,” says Tracy Kinsey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Bishop-McCann. “Now, with Dynamics 365, a client tells us something once, and we collectively remember it. This level of attention to detail is absolutely critical in our business.”
“Authorized” is a key word: only team members have access to document stores and client records, which keeps confidential data safe. If requested, BMC can provide clients with audit logs of which associates accessed which information when.
Demonstrate measurable impact
BMC management now has the data it needs to direct and grow the business and demonstrate measurable impact to customers. “Before Dynamics 365, if you asked me for our total spend on a particular hotel in a particular year, or which clients booked with that hotel, I could get it, but it took days,” says Kendra Murray, Vice President of Meetings and Incentives at Bishop-McCann. ”Today, I can get that information with the click of a button. Being able to lay our hands on that kind of information has increased our ability to collaborate with our partners, which has resulted in more value to our clients.”
BMC is implementing Microsoft Power BI, which is being used by BMC leadership to view historical insights to build a five-year strategic business plan. And in 2017 it will deploy Dynamics 365 for Operations—and use that to replace all its siloed operations systems.
“With the entire Dynamics 365 platform deployed, we’ll have complete visibility into every aspect of our business and instantaneous data sharing between functional areas,” Adams says. “This will speed up the whole business; we’ll be able to close deals faster, close our books faster, resolve customer issues faster. I can see the impact of Dynamics 365 in associates’ eyes and hear it in their conversations with clients. When you bet your company on a technology and start seeing the results, it’s huge!”
Credits for case study content published on this site: Original story posted by Microsoft Corporation on November 30, 2016 to their Customer Stories site located http://customers.microsoft.com/en-US/story/events-company-orchestrates-a-symphony-of-details-in-the-cloud
By Tracy Kinsey