Polarity

Accelerating the Growth of a Media Company

The project in a nutshell

When a media company needed to upgrade its infrastructure to support its growth, Xceede Solutions planned and implemented a comprehensive and innovative solution.

The Challenge
Like many smaller businesses, Polarity was growing so quickly that its technology infrastructure was having a hard time keeping up. Opportunities to better track and report activities existed throughout the organization, including finance and accounting, IT/infrastructure, business development, and legal.
The Solution
For this Saint Louis-based comics and animation company, the opportunities for improvement could impact both processes and key business goals such as revenue and profitability growth, and reducing operating costs. Polarity partnered with Xceede Solutions, who leveraged the power of Salesforce® to achieve these goals.
The Outcome
Improvement in these areas impacted processes that led to revenue and profitability growth, as well as the reduction of operating costs.

What the company needed

With the growing popularity of comics and animation in pop culture, organizations of all sizes are adopting story telling techniques as part of their branding and marketing initiatives. Polarity has been at the forefront on this movement and is one of the few media publishers that also offer creative services to organizations. Given the nature of the business, building and maintaining great client relationships are critical to its continued growth.

Polarity needed a CRM that provides end-to-end management of its Sales, Editorial, Legal and Finance functions.

Our solution

Xceede Solutions worked with Polarity to establish an overall roadmap in its journey to build out an entire solution that would address all aspects of the Sales lifecycle, starting with shaping an overall Go-To-Market strategy along with the various tactical components including:

1

Proposal management

2

Relationship management

3

Contract management

4

Sales reporting

5

Royalty management

6

Integrations

Project scope

Departments

Users

Salesforce® Solutions

Data Integration

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Project Delivery

20 across departments

Core solutions

  • Sales Cloud

AppExchange apps

  • Conga Composer
  • Conga Contracts

Custom solutions

  • Proposal management
  • Royalty management

Integration platform

  • TIBCO Scribe

Enterprise systems

  • Oracle Netsuite
  • Sales distributor data

Solution alignment

Using our Outcome-Driver-Technology framework, we mapped the project so our solutions would move the company’s key drivers.

Desired outcome(s)

Key driver(s)

Solution objectives

Revenue growth

  • Acquire “right” licenses​
  • Monetize LF properties​
  • Increase comic store purchases / participation in LF promotions​
  • Robust pipeline
  • Competitive pricing strategies
  • Streamline license acquisition / monetization process​
  • Strong relationship management
  • Strong lead generation
  • Product / pricing management

Profitability growth

  • Reduce printing costs​
  • Reduce promotional material costs
  • Efficient project management (“Do more projects”)​​​
  • Vendor management​
  • Quote management​
  • Streamline sales & delivery handoff using automation​
  • Increase productivity

Reduce operating costs

  • Reduce cycle time / transactional operations​
  • Automate reporting and analytics​
  • Eliminate double-entry of data​
  • Eliminate manual tasks​
  • Streamline high-volume contract types​
  • Streamline data integration among various systems
  • ​Robust reporting and analytics​
  • Process automation​
  • Systems integration​
  • End to end contract lifecycle management​
  • Robust data management platform and processes​
  • Case Management​
  • Productivity tools (RingCentral, SharePoint, Outlook)
  • Automate creation of royalty statements to licensors and various creative vendors

Reduce penalty costs

  • Reduce risk of contract terms default​
  • Track key contract terms
  • Proactive management of key contract terms using Analytics and Reporting

Key project highlights

Proposal management

Proposals play a crucial role in the sales process for Polarity. They conduct discovery meetings with their prospective clients in order to better understand the needs and carefully craft set of solutions along with pricing in the form of a proposal. Xceede Solutions implemented a light-weight Proposal Management tool native to Salesforce along with Conga Composer in order to automate proposal generation. Once the client accepts the proposal, the contracts team can then generate the corresponding agreements using Conga Contracts and manage the entire lifecycle from within Salesforce.

Xceede Solutions was able to reduce the amount of time spent in manual tasks to get the right information into document tables for both proposals and contracts.

Relationship management

There are around 400 significant comic book stores in the United States. Among these are trend-setting stores and market leaders. Publishers generally sell their products through distributors. However, the growth and success of a product line has a direct correlation with having a strong relationship with these differentiated stores. It is important for the publisher to enhance its relationship with these stores.

We configured Salesforce not only to track the level of Polarity’s engagement with these key customers, but also to deepen its relationship. We set up a cadence around engagement with these key customers and put in place systems to track and report activities to ensure a minimum level of touch points happened on a weekly basis.

It was important to maintain continuity in the overall client relationship post-sale. We wanted Account Managers to have quick visibility into project project and client billing.

Chip SchaferPresident, Lion Forge Labs

Contract management

Polarity had a large number of contractors and licensors that participated in the comic book publishing process. As a result, the company had over 4,000 contracts and needed a solution to manage and streamline the workflow in order to scale without having to increase head count.

Xceede Solutions implemented Conga Contracts for Salesforce to streamline the entire Contract Lifecycle Management for 10 different contract types. The entire Contracts process is managed in Salesforce along with the key business information around Account relationships, Intellectual Properties and related Products, Licensors, and Creators.

We configured all royalty structures and payment schedules within the system in order to automate their royalty management.

Some publication deadline are time-sensitive, so they needed to make sure that they could set up freelancers in their system in a timely manner. If the legal processes took too long, the company would have a hard time meeting deadlines. By making sure contracts are written using pre-approved language, taking advantage of a clause library, Polarity could speed up contract creation while significantly reducing its risk.

We also set up their system for larger companies who license intellectual property from Polarity. The solution allowed their team to align the terms of payments that would be due.

Through a contract management solution implemented within the CRM, Polarity’s team would be able to track financial performance against the contracts.

We also set up cases in Salesforce so editors could request new contracts to be drawn up. The legal team now receives request tickets with the requirements to draw up a contract any time one is needed.

Sales reporting

Polarity received sales information from 20 different distributors ever month. We fully automated sales reporting for the Sales team, directing all the sales data into Salesforce. This enabled them to  analyze their results from every angle.

We then combined the Sales reporting data we had brought into Salesforce with the Contract Management solution to create a Royalty Management solution.

Royalty Management

As revenue comes in from publication sales, Polarity owes royalty payments to different creators and licensors. Royalty agreements can be complex, based on different factors and vary from creator to creator. Xceede Solutions set up the different factors into the Contract Management solution.

Royalties are paid based on sales that were made. The sales reporting engine already brought in all the sales data needed to calculate royalties.

By leveraging the royalty information contained in the contract management solution and the sales data, we were able to automate royalty management for Polarity. The royalty management engine automatically determines what royalties were due and automatically sends out royalty reporting to hundreds of freelancers every month.

Also, all the information is readily available to answer audits. If a large company audits Polarity, they have everything available and the royalty reporting is all automated.

Integrations

Xceede Solutions implemented an integration between Salesforce and Oracle Netsuite in order to pull in expense data to be used in royalty management and reporting.

We also set up an integration with all the distributors to be able to get the sales numbers at a SKU level. This enabled:

  1. the sales team to analyze the business at a granular detail level
  2. the automation of royalty reporting, as royalty payments are tied to sales of individual SKUs.

Results

As a direct result of the work we carried out, Polarity was able to:

  • save 20 hours of labor per month thanks to royalty management automation.
  • accelerate the sales cycle by reducing the time spent on proposal generation.
  • increase revenues by fostering relationships with key customers.
  • reduce the company’s risk by leveraging pre-formatted legal language in the contract management solution.

Xceede Solutions has been instrumental in helping our sales team implement Salesforce®. We continue to experience success with Salesforce® and highly recommend Xceede Solutions to anyone wanting to improve their sales organization and build stronger relationships with their customers.

David Steward IIChief Executive Officer, Polarity

Polarity at a glance

Polarity is an American media company based in Saint Louis, MO, founded in 2018, following the merger/acquisition of comic book publishers The Lion Forge LLC and Oni Press, magazine The Beat and music label Neon Metropolis. Its name conveys opposing forces and a global perspective to build a captivating range of assets. As a media company, Polarity is focused on investing in, and distributing new content to the global marketplace.