How Spotify boosted ad sales and streamlined operations

“We're using Slack to help us close deals faster by setting up dedicated campaign channels where our account teams can collaborate and discuss deal economics and deal work. So that way we can close deals and get them done faster.”

Steven SatzbergDirector of Business Strategy and Operations, Spotify Advertising

Spotify playlists are as personal as fingerprints. One woman’s Foo Fighters is another man’s Cardi B. Stephen Satzberg’s playlist, however, is different from any other because, as the director of business strategy and operations at Spotify, he listens for the magic between the songs.

“We sell the ads running on Spotify in between our music and our podcasts,” Satzberg says. “So it’s great when I’m listening to Spotify, and I hear an ad and know that’s the product of the work that we’re doing here together.”

To make the most of the moments between the music, Spotify Advertising integrated Slack and Salesforce Sales Cloud, allowing advertising sales teams to solve communication challenges, close deals faster and streamline every stage of the ad sales process. The Spotify Advertising team’s use of Slack transformed how work gets done while increasing productivity, earning them Slack’s Excellence in Sales Award.

Let’s look at how Spotify Advertising accomplished this as we press play on some suitable tunes.

Simplifying operations to improve team productivity and efficiency

Streamlining communication for a streaming service

Play: “Communication Breakdown” by Roy Orbison

Spotify, the go-to service for exploring tunes, playlists and podcasts, has been on the cutting edge of streaming since its inception in 2006. Until recently, however, its internal sales processes were manual and inefficient. The effort required to complete administrative tasks left teams more reporting-centric than customer-centric, which led to frustrations. Alexis Lopez, who runs the business automation team at Spotify Advertising, says communication was one of the biggest challenges. 

“It’s a big team, and we’re global,” she says. “We were also using a bunch of different tools.”

The Spotify business unit, composed of sales, campaign management and account management teams, needed to stay aligned to optimize success. However, discussions and strategies around campaigns and opportunities were often siloed and disjointed across email, Gchat and Salesforce. Email threads sometimes accidentally excluded essential contributors, and side email conversations muddied up the digital “paper” trail.

Introducing Salesforce-to-Slack automation workflows to the ad sales team

Play: “Work” by Rihanna

One of the ways Spotify Advertising solved these communication hurdles was by leveraging Slack and the Salesforce Sales Cloud integration to build workflows. For example, a valuable time saver for the ad sales team is a workflow that sets up a unique channel for every campaign they execute. Now, when an opportunity in Sales Cloud moves to a 25% stage of closing, a Slack channel is automatically created, and everyone from that team is instantly added for collaboration and transparency. 

Lopez admits that some teams were initially nervous about managing so many different channels. But, she says, within a couple of weeks, they were raving about the new process. They loved how easily they could find the information they needed or raise a question in the channel without figuring out who should be asked—everyone was already there.

Today Spotify Advertising deploys more than 20 workflows to streamline each process stage, from the first pitch to campaign completion. As a result, the team has cut down on meetings and email traffic, boosted ad-sales revenue and increased its campaign delivery rate from 97% to 99% to have its best year yet. What’s more, thanks to centralized communications and improved knowledge sharing, the team is more connected and empowered than ever.

“Automation has really improved our team’s performance and productivity, people save countless hours by no longer doing manual tasks that weren’t adding value to their work. Now they can focus on innovation and on our customers.”

Alexis LopezManager, Business Operations Tech & Automation, Spotify Advertising

Reducing tools companywide with Slack Connect and Enterprise Grid

Play: “Connection” by OneRepublic

Automated workflows, cross-team visibility and channel-based communication have empowered ad sales and reduced the tools and steps needed to work through deals and campaigns.

Tools like Slack Connect, designed to replace email, take efficiency to the next level. Slack Connect makes the work that happens outside of organizations faster, more productive and more secure by moving conversations out of unwieldy, siloed email threads and into a single, digital space that’s easy for all the right teammates and partners to access.

Adopting Slack Connect saves administrators serious overhead time and costs. It employs all of Slack’s enterprise-grade security features and compliance standards, keeping communication and data secure across external partnerships.

Slack’s Enterprise Grid bundles company priorities like data privacy and security. It offers just the right amount of administrative controls so teams can work autonomously—with guidelines, but as few hard rules as possible. 

With one global safety net around larger corporate policies, Enterprise Grid gives teams tailored experiences that maintain their identity and culture within multiple workspaces.

Accelerating ad sales and campaign management with automation

Improved ad delivery rates are a win-win 

Play: “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled

Streamlined automation for Spotify Advertising’s campaigns has increased  campaign delivery rates and improved the punctuality of launches. Here’s how the team did it.

Before Slack, it took a lot of work for campaign managers to track every line item once campaigns were underway. To increase efficiency, Spotify leveraged Slack’s API to build a Pacing Bot that sends alerts from ad servers (GAM and Megaphone) directly to the relevant Slack channels. This increases visibility but removes the need for managers to monitor everything manually, enabling teams to exceed client expectations. Campaign monitoring alerts also help Spotify’s campaign management team stay on top of upcoming launches and lines at risk, significantly reducing the number of late campaign launches while maximizing delivery.

“For the campaigns that were underperforming or underpacing, we’re able to optimize and ensure that those campaigns deliver in full,” Satzberg says. “So less under deliveries for our business, less under deliveries for our partners and more revenue for Spotify and better results for our customers.” 

Since integrating Slack for its advertising business, Satzberg says Spotify has seen a 40% increase in efficiency and productivity from its teams. And customers are much happier because they see the best possible results for their campaign, knowing that they didn’t leave any budget on the table.

With flexibility comes progress   

Play: “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

By automating campaign lifecycles in Slack, Spotify Advertising has increased campaign delivery rates, improved the punctuality of launches, enabled cross-team visibility and championed channel-based communication. Advertisers can reach the most relevant audiences and build authentic and long-lasting connections with millions of Spotify listeners.

“The future for Spotify’s advertising business is incredibly bright, over the last year and a half, we had our first year crossing over a billion euros. We drove a 40% increase in productivity with integrations like Salesforce and Slack.”

Daniel WalshGlobal Head of Business Strategy and Operations, Spotify Advertising

Internally, Slack has helped Spotify Advertising achieve its goal of bringing together teams working on different parts of the campaign lifecycle. The platform’s flexibility and tight integrations with Salesforce and third-party plug-ins have allowed the company to optimize its existing processes seamlessly. Teams can do their jobs efficiently with the help of real-time workflows and dashboards, and communication is always maintained because teams can complete tasks in one place with full transparency.