local media insider

Buzzboard a "game changer" at Chicago Tribune

A better go-to-market tool analysizes web presence, compares competitors and generates custom proposals from an iPad

Alisa Cromer

BuzzBoard,  created by vSplash is getting rave reviews as a "game changer." The sales dashboard that allows reps to instantly  show client versus competitor web presence  analytics and make  customized recommendations on the spot (see also  Five best practices using Buzzboard in the field, from Richard Cowan, Sales Manager, 435Digital, Chicago Tribune).

After just 3.5 months of use, Cowan says the tool increases average sales,  engages customers quickly, strengthening the relationship and increased one call closes at 435Digital.  Some sales increased by 200%. It also saves time  on research and proposal writing.

Another group of newspapers reported $585,000 in new identifiable revenue increased after a first year test. 

Cowen said Buzzboard is so effective because it gets provides real time information on the merchants' digital presence and their competitors'  engaging merchants who started out as standoffish and skeptical and changing the conversation.

"It's a game changer. Suddenly they want to come across the table and sit in your lap" to see more information."  

The tool also flags customers in to three categories based on their need for digital services, and delivers recommended spends on the spot which can be customized. 

How it works

While reports can be printed and sent via PDF from a desktop, the  key use of Buzzboard is in the field on an iPad. Instead of reps showing up with a stack of folders - or no research at all - they can pull up extensive reports on the merchant in a few minutes. 

To start off, the  sales person inputs the merchant name, location, phone number and URL.

Once the information is entered, the dashboard pulls up web presence information, including SEO, reputation management, website review and Google AdWords.

Buzzboard returns the merchant information with a color coded scoring system: Red indicates a low score for businesses who still need a basic digital presence;  yellow indicates those who have a presence, but are not performing well, and green indicates a customer with a good presence that is performing well, and may not need basic digital services, though still may be a propsect for more sophisticated services such as content marketing or contesting.

Clicking "Audit" tab lets merchants see how a merchant's presence looks, as listed on key local directories:

By clicking on Performance, reps can see  Social Media analysis, SEO,fans, Twitter followers, brand mentions and reviews, key word analysis and a checklist of important items for the merchants website, such as the address, map and form on the home page. 

Just as important to merchants is the  "Competitors" tab, which pulls up the four or five top local competitors and tracks their presence on the web, so the merchant can view how they compare. This is a feature that Cowan says gets the merchants  instantly involved in the conversation, wanting to know more: 

Finally, the proposal tab makes recommendations to merchants presence based on these suggestions, or allows the rep to click to customize.

Buzzboard's product and pricing suites can be changed, and set to include set up fees, reocurring billing and product tiers that the media offers. It does not yet allow for veritcalization.  Here is a "sample" from the dashboard, please note that these pricing recommendations are not real: 

Brian Talty, business development at VSplash, says the value proposition starts with the time savings in preparing an organized account analysis - from 2 hours back in the office to the two minutes it takes to type in the merchant's information - as well as the ability to propose while the rep is still on the call. 

"The tool is aimed to  increase the value of each call; a 10% improvement in three calls a day equates to plus $900 a day; or put another way, an extra sale a day equates to a return of $3000 in revenue," Talty said. 

While the service is not cheap, media who use it say  ROI is even higher. Talty claims 30 to 50x the cost of the system - or about $2400 more per month per rep selling SMB's  using the tool. 

While 435 Digital did not release exact numbers, they have deployed Buzzboard for their entire separate digital team of 19 reps and plant to continue to use this for the next ten they are planning to hire. 

"For a sales person it is a game changer.There is no size account and no individual that cannot benefit from using it. This is a piece of technology I wish I had years ago," said Cowan.  "Let's put it this way, without this tool, we would not make our targets." 

Buzzboard is also an editor's pick on MediaExecsTech, based on field-tested research. 

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

Advance, vSpash, Buzzboard, Patriot-News