Personal + proactive; the not-so-secret formula to our clients’ CRM success.
VP of Marketing
Inntopia Marketing Cloud has one of the highest success rates of any CRM in any industry. It’s easy to think technology is the reason why, but the true hero in this story is a deeply experienced team of account managers who take a personal, proactive approach with every client. We caught up with one of the best, Patrick Sande, for his perspective.
Gregg: Patrick, let’s set the scene. You were part of the Ryan Solutions team that joined Inntopia last year. Where were you before that?
Patrick: Well, I’m no stranger to the ski industry. Since I’ve been old enough to work, I’ve held some sort of job on the resort side. After graduating college, I started working on the marketing side where I spent several years at Schweitzer Mountain. We decided to leave Idaho and move back to Minnesota during the peak of the recession. I had a short stint working as a liftie at my local hill (Buck Hill) before signing on with Ryan Solutions.
Gregg: So when did you end up joining and what’s your title these days?
Patrick: I joined the Ryan Solutions team back in 2010 and am now working as the Director of Strategy and Client Services.
Gregg: Talk a little bit about your early years with the company. You’ve had the chance to work with some pretty incredible resort brands. Any of those stand out?
Patrick: I feel really lucky to have all these experiences at Ryan Solutions and, now, inntopia. Working closely with both a great team and great clients, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I really enjoy working with resorts both small and large. Every brand has their own set of challenges and goals, which is what makes my job so fun.
One organization I’ve always loved working with is Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. They have an amazing team. They can respond very quickly to changes and challenges and they are always willing to try new things. They keep me on my toes and are great to work with.
Gregg; Any others?
Patrick: Camelback is another one that stands out. They’ve also progressed so much since we first signed them. They have so many great things going on with lodging, skiing, the waterpark, and the adventure park, it’s amazing to see them grow. They have a very demanding market that requires quick, data-driven decisions. They’re also always willing to try something new and bring some great ideas to the table.
Gregg: I know you can’t talk about everything, but have there been any specific campaigns recently that caught your eye?
Patrick: For sure. One of the things I love about my job is that the technology, concepts, ideas, and best practices are constantly evolving. There’s always something new to try. One campaign I just helped a client launch is a post booking survey that allows us to leverage a response in their pre-arrival. If the guest isn’t interested in skiing, why bog them down with information they don’t need?
We’ve also been doing some really cool stuff on the email engagement front.
Gregg: When you say “we” in that situation, how does that dynamic between you and the client work? What’s your role in going from idea to reality?
Patrick: When helping transform an idea to a live campaign, it really depends on the client and the idea. Some clients come to us with a very specific goal and a very specific idea in mind. In those situations, it’s my job to guide the client through project requirements so that they can avoid pitfalls and launch a successful campaign.
In other scenarios, the client may have a general challenge or goal they want tackle, but not sure how best to approach it. Here, it’s all about helping the client find the right solution for the task at hand and helping them get the project live.
Patrick speaking about Welcome Series best practices at our 2017 Insight conference.
Gregg: In those situations, since you’ve been in their shoes, I’m guessing you’re relying on that experience to bring strategy and ideas and best practices to the table too?
Patrick: For sure. This is another area where the entire account management team really shines. Every one of us has direct experience on the resort marketing side. Our experience helps us anticipate what’s around the next bend and stay in front of clients so that they can keep their marketing momentum moving forward.
Internally, we also put energy into sharing knowledge. It’s through the constant sharing and discussing of ideas, challenges, and best practices that we’re able to play a strong consultant role during our regular status calls with clients.
Gregg: Speaking of which, how often are you typically in touch with each client?
Patrick: It partly depends on the client’s needs, but we’ve found that a bi-weekly status call seems to be the sweet spot. It allows us to keep projects and conversations moving forward while also giving the client the time they need to gather up deliverables on their end.
Gregg: How big of a difference does this approach make?
Patrick: I think it makes a huge difference. I can tell you that every strategic account manager genuinely feels like an extension of their client’s marketing team. We want the resort to be successful and are willing to go the extra mile to help make that happen. We know that our clients have a ton on their plates, and by being not only proactive, but also extremely responsive, we can help make a difference.
Gregg: I know you’re busy, so thanks a ton for the time, Patrick.
Patrick: Always a pleasure, Gregg!