With March’s abrupt shift to working from home, one of our customers had to quickly come up with ways to communicate business updates with advertisers and keep cash flowing. Closed offices meant they could not collect physical checks or make collections calls at a time when payment collection was critical.
This customer, a large, London-based multimedia publisher, needed a way to quickly inform global customers about their office closures and let them know that payment via check would no longer be workable in the short-term, with instructions for setting up a bank transfer.
The solution? Their Group Operations Director came up with a clever Adpoint hack to solve this problem and address a long-term pain point for the business. He recently shared with us how his team is using Adpoint’s custom stationery tool to tackle their collections challenges, along with his best advice for other Adpoint users to make similar quick changes.
How to use Adpoint custom stationery to close payment gaps
Adpoint’s finance module allows for teams to set up custom stationery within the system to automatically send communications like invoices and collection notices. For most of our customers, Adpoint custom stationery is used for operational correspondences, separate from marketing communications, and data relevant to each communication is automatically inserted into the templates prior to dispatch.
This customer repurposed their standard collection letter templates (of which there are four), making the first message a general announcement instead. They quickly set it to be sent to all outstanding accounts that did not have bank transfers currently enabled for payments. The Group Operations Director explained,
“I came up with an idea of getting in touch with our clients to tell them to pay us by bank transfer only, which we’ve always wanted to do anyway, but now was the only option really. So what we did [in Adpoint] was adapt our collection letter stationery to turn collection letter number one into an announcement to any client that had an outstanding invoice, regardless of whether overdue or not. We rewrote the stationery and removed the statement to turn it into just a communication tool, which was the fastest way to get the word out to the relevant clients.”
The convenience of this approach cannot be understated. Instead of manually sending individual notices or relying on the marketing department to send such announcements, finance and ops teams can use Adpoint stationery to quickly communicate with customers. The customer explained:
“Utilizing collection letters [in Adpoint], you can send a number of communications instantly, and you know it’s going directly to the clients who need to see it. In this case, that’s the people who had outstanding invoices. In the US we only have one credit controller – he would have had to email each account individually. But sending an official document from Adpoint meant we knew it would reach the intended recipient every time in a very professional, official manner. We can also re-send it as necessary, very quickly.”
But how did customers respond to this change? They reported that collections became easier immediately, and they hope clients will continue to pay via bank transfers in future as well. “Everyone started paying us by bank transfer almost immediately… ongoing from here, I would imagine that clients will continue to do it this way even after business returns to normal. So it’s been a massive positive, really, for how we get paid. It’s hard to say something good has come out of this situation, but by being able to encourage clients to pay us by bank transfer, that at least has been a massive plus.”
This customer’s advice to publishers trying to adapt quickly during uncertain times? Keep it simple: “[This solution is] practical and simple, and I think that’s the way to handle these things – to not overthink the situation, just look at what’s practical and how to tackle issues in the simplest possible way. In this case, the best communication tool for your client base is collection letters.”
Recruiting your sales reps to help
With ad sales stalled in the short term, there’s a concentration on collections right now, and some sales reps may have additional bandwidth to help with this effort. This team mapped invoices to sales reps so that each rep could follow up one-on-one with accounts to chase invoices and update clients.
“And we’re not saying, ‘here’s a bunch of invoices,’ we’re saying ‘here are your outstanding invoices,’” they explained, “which is giving our sales team insight into the full process that they haven’t had before, and should have an impact on how we work together in the future. If they made a mess, no PO details or something else, now they’re responsible for cleaning it up. I think, realistically, this process may end up being a part of the permanent process.”
“This is such a smart way of repurposing sales time,” said Lineup’s CRM Product Manager, Nita Watkins. “They can leverage their existing relationships with customers and see the process through from start to finish in way they may not normally participate.”
“It’s worked for the period we’ve just been through,” the customer agreed. “And now, things are starting to emerge a bit and sales are picking up, but I’m glad we were able to utilize that period really well.”
Need help implementing this idea?
All it takes is a bit of clever configuration, and we’re happy to help if you’re stuck. For more clever ideas and Adpoint productivity hacks, check out the Community Portal, our exclusive customer community. Not a customer yet? Request an Adpoint demo here to learn how we can help your media business.