You may have noticed a few changes to Efficio. I’d like to talk a little bit about what’s new at Efficio.
You may not be aware but version 6 marks the first major release under our new management team. Many of you may know that Efficio was acquired by ShareBuilders at the beginning of 2016. You can read the press release here. To answer the question, “Why the merge?” In short, ShareBuilders provides world class yield management solutions and Efficio provides a world class CRM and sales platform. From the perspective of clients, each solution is even better together, like peanut butter and chocolate.
Before I get too into the details, let me answer a couple of the most basic questions.
Do I need to Pay for it?
Nope; it’s free!
Will I need training?
Short answer, we think you’ll be okay without additional training.
While there is some design changes, the one major layout change is that the primary navigation menu got flipped from horizontal across the top to vertical down the left side. Almost all of the functionality that you are used to is still present in Efficio, and via the same paths you are presently accustomed to.
Hi, I’m Justin Locke.
New President of Efficio Solutions
For those of you that don’t know me, let me introduce myself, my name is Justin Locke. I helped co-found ShareBuilders along with the rest of my family (Don, Linda, and Austin Locke). We started as just a fledgling company working out of our home basements 16 years ago, and have grown to be the largest provider of yield management tools in the media industry. At ShareBuilders I wore many hats, but chiefly in the domain of helping clients implement pricing systems. While at ShareBuilder I went to school in the evening and received an MBA from the University of Chicago. After business school, I spent several years as a Management Consultant at IBM where I executed business strategy and analytics project. As ShareBuilders began discussions of acquiring Efficio, I found myself excited about the prospect of returning to help write a new chapter. So I returned and took on a role helping to integrate Efficio into the ShareBuilder organization with the end goal of delivering more value for clients.
As I mentioned, Efficio 6.0 is a major milestone for us, because it represents the first chance we have to show you where our focus has been recently. In my first several months leading Efficio I spent a lot of time listening and gathering feedback from our customers. While there are always mixed opinions, some customers thought Efficio could stand to have an improved user interface (or the way the program lays out information and is displayed). So, we began piecing together some ideas and here’s where we landed.
An Updated User Interface
For starters, Efficio 6.0 provides an entirely new User Interface. This includes new look and feel that drastically improves the usage of the product. Good design is something that most people can spot when they see it, but it is rather difficult to describe. Of course, Apple is the best-case example of what good design looks like. But the overall intention is to make a product that usable. Here’s a short list of some of what we aimed for as we updated the user interface:
A short list of examples are:
- keep it simple,
- be consistent,
- think about page layout,
- best use technology available today,
- use color wisely,
- use typography to reinforce relationships,
As I said, one of the biggest changes in Efficio 6.0 is the vertical menu on the left. You might notice that lots of software companies are doing this. Why the vertical menus? The reason is that most monitors are wider than they are longer (take a look at your own monitor). Putting the menu on the left (vertical axis) places it on a part of your monitor that you have more space (the width), and frees up the space that is constrained (height). This simple layout change increases the amount of information you can see all at once.
In addition, in Efficio 6.0 we have made the display much more adaptive to the size of the window you use as well as the size of your monitor. It is no longer a “fixed width” but rather adaptive to fit the size you need for your situation.
Paving the way for more Mobile Functionality
We have heard a lot of requests from AEs to be mobile friendly. In truth many AEs do not know that Efficio has had a mobile solution for quite some time, and we are already continuing to enhance it. For instructions on how to use the latest mobile version click here. Please note that we anticipate some updates to our current Mobile in the very near future (6.1 or 6.2). However, the changes we’ve made so far allow us to make future changes in mobile much quicker. So, although you haven’t seen the benefits to the mobile site yet, they are coming. Be on the lookout for an updated Mobile Experience.
Design that helps you absorb faster
I could go on and on about how the new colors, fonts, and designs were chosen to optimize quick absorption of information and to draw the reader’s eye towards the most pertinent information. However, the best way to demonstrate this is for users to view it for themselves.
Every design element was scrutinized to determine whether it promoted or hindered the ability of users to easily absorb what they need. However, we also tried to insert a bit of energy into the design by using bright colors and giving a softer feel with rounded buttons and filters options, for example. We are sure that we can do more along the way, but we think we took a giant step forward in this regard. The combination of these improvement, along with a few other things has made what we feel are significant improvements to the User Interface.
Another place we’ve heard customers requesting updates is to benefit from the merger of Efficio and ShareBuilder and make the two systems work even better. Customers who use both Efficio and ShareBuilders are already seeing the benefits and there are many more integrations to come.
SB-Efficio Integration #1: Timing of Booked Business
Many of our ShareBuilders customers spend considerable time with their ShareBuilder Pricing consultant to determine what changes to demand have occurred in the last week. This involves looking at a variety of metrics that predict demand. We monitor demand every week and help our customers navigate the complex and ever-changing pricing landscape with expert consultants and analysts that support stations ever changing pricing equation. Of note is that some of our recent integrations with Efficio give customers and ShareaBuilders consultants even more information to predict demand. The details provided by Efficio’s CRM and integration with traffic systems allows us to deep dive into the details of each piece of business booked last year, and what changes we can anticipate this year based on timing. Many managers use a forecast method called “Percent Pacing relative to last year” (aka “Pacing” or “Percent Pacing” or “Percent to Final” – there are many names for similar forecast models). A weakness in these forecast models is that they can be heavily distorted whether the timing of the business is significantly different in one year relative to the next. While knowing your overall pacing number can be helpful, what really matters is in the details of each piece of business. Did account XYZ place last year at this time? What amount was it? What is the anticipated amount this year? Has all of the business been booked or only part? Answering these question helps to make a forecast that can be easily distorted, much more relevant, giving ShareBuilder consultants and managers yet another tool in their toolbox of demand forecasting.
SB-Efficio Integration #2: Integrated Pending Forecasts
Another key ShareBuilder integration that we implemented is to pull in all of the pending dollar estimates from Account Executives. Historically, this has been something our customers have had to bring into their weekly meeting with ShareBuilders Pricing Consultants. However, we have automated this process.
This tool is especially useful as we approach the close of a month or quarter when the pending numbers from AEs are actually more accurate than other demand forecast models Again, closing the loop between Efficio CRM and pricing allows media organizations to spot surges in demand or excess inventory before competitors and respond accordingly. Having the tools to respond to demand fluctuations is critical and business information systems that seamlessly talk increases the speed to identifying new patterns.
Future SB-Efficio Integrations
Down the road there are many more ShareBuilder integrations we hope to explore. We would love to partner with a customer that will help us experiment with such integrations.
Here’s just a handful of ideas:
- Integrating ShareBuilders Forecast into Efficio,
- Incorporate details of Efficio’s product billing to identify hot product categories
- Track customer’s pricing trends to identify customer groups willing to pay better prices (to go after them), or customer groups that consume to much inventory (to avoid them)
- We’d love to hear YOUR ideas!
Auto Close Pending: Version 1
Lastly, we know that time precious for our customers so we have started to build functionality around what we are calling “Auto Close Pending”. Auto Close Pending gives you and your team some precious time back in your day. The first version of this new tool will clean out pending from months that are 30 days in past. So, for example, if today is Sept 1, we will automatically clean out anything that has a pending dates for August 1 or early. The benefit here is that customers have less upkeep with Efficio.
Coming Soon Sneak Peak
There are many other feature things we have on the way. We wish we could talk in more detail about all them, but we still have a bit of work left. However, here’s a sneak peak at what’s coming:
- Proposal Integration
- For AEs, it makes the process of proposal creation faster by importing customer data from the Pre-Buy System
- For AEs, enter pending in Efficio is will be easier and more accurate (achieved by importing the proposal values from the Pre-Buy System into Efficio)
- For Managers, gain visibility to how pending proposals might affect your inventory
- For Managers, easily grade proposals, allowing more tools to drive up the yield on your inventory
- Auto-Close of Pending: Phase 2 – Won pending is identified and updated
- Spend less time maintaining Efficio data
- Inventory Reports for Corporate Users
What would you like to see next?
Finally, if you’ve read this far, perhaps you’d like to give some feedback. We would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post. We’d especially like to to know what we should work on next. Here’s a few ideas of what we have on our radar to work on
- Improve the existing User Experience:
- Return better searches in Efficio Tool
- Make it easier for “Team Based” Selling – by being able to group AEs together.
- Make it easier to update both Pending and Activities
- Provide me new features:
- Track AE accuracy of pending forecasts (both at individual level and aggregate)
- Give AEs more tools for proposals and email templates
- Give Mngrs tools for making decision about how much of my inventory to dedicate to programmatic.
- Give me new methods of accessing Efficio
- Mobile access –
- You can already access Efficio Mobile
- However we’d like to expand, which features would you like to see in mobile?
- Desktop Application for users
- An application that is installed locally on desktops
- Allows for easier smoother experience, like single signon, reminders, notifications,
- Mobile access –
- Integrations with other software systems (here’s a few examples);
- A lead Generation Tool (like Hub Spot) to find leads and integrate prospects
- Tableau – to understand and visualize my data better
- TV proposal systems – to provide time saving and gets different systems talking
- Emarketing – Like Mailchimp, giving integrations with specialized tools
- Something, not listed – pitch us an idea. We want to make sure we are working on what our customer want.
- Allows Executives at Corporate level to instantly see inventory of all their properties
Please replay in the comments section below
Let’s chat at the tradeshows
Or even better, talk to use in person. Someone from Efficio or ShareBuilder will be attending the following shows:
- RAB show in Austin, Sept 5th -8th
- NAB SMTE in Denver Sept 12 – 13
- TVB in New York Sept 27 – 29th
Please feel free to reach out and thanks again for reading!