For Motivations Inc., Cvent was the catalyst that saved this family's business and their livelihood.
Cost savings in one year.
Family-run business saved by technology.
The year was 1999. As a nation, we were about to close out a century and a millennium with a strong economy, one that enjoyed explosive growth and the best employment numbers to this day. It was the perfect time for aspiring entrepreneurs to seize their moment. 1999 also marked the year that Jane Boston, along with her husband and son founded Motivations, Inc., a business that provided continuing education classes and credits to healthcare professionals across the nation.
While risk-taking is synonymous with entrepreneurship, the Boston's took a calculated one—and at first, one that proved successful. By 2005, Motivations grew to 14 employees. Motivations was steadily thriving, raking in $1 million a year and processing between 5,000 and 7,000 registrations a year for its onsite classes. In 2008, they brought on Cvent to help them manage their registrations. Motivations' balance sheets showed no ominous numbers and the economy showed no sinister signs of slowing quite yet. When Jane looks back, she refers to that time as "happy growth." The Bostons were entertaining visions of expanding their classes to more hospitals in farther flung regions across the U.S.
But in 2011, things changed. The economy was still limping along, hamstrung by the aftermath of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. And the health care industry was especially embroiled in uncertainty, still making sense of the most comprehensive legislation to pass in decades. Healthcare professionals began slashing their continuing education budgets. Jane quickly realized that Motivations couldn't sustain its current business model. Overhead costs threatened to shutter the business for good. If they were going to weather this storm, they were going to have to adapt—and quickly.
Jane and her husband took inventory of the business, weary of dismantling all they had worked tirelessly to build. Motivations had a phenomenal reputation and strong brand awareness. Its courses and content—its core competencies—were strong. But there were too many staff members running around trying to manage the marketing, registrations, and continuing education courses manually.
It simply wasn't sustainable, and for the first time, it occurred to the Bostons that they could lose everything.
In order to survive, Jane had to lay off 10 employees – leaving just her husband, son Scott, and one other administrator. It was upsetting morale-wise and an emotional blow. Jane describes what was going through her mind. "Your employees are the face of the company. Their excitement about what we do and their talents helped me to grow and got us to where we were…. It was a difficult time for everyone."
Things looked grim. Bills sat on Jane's desk, untouched. There was, however, one aspect of their business that they hadn't considered until this point: Cvent, their software. Before they had fallen on tighter financial times, Jane had renewed their Cvent license without a second thought, year after year. Now she examined the cost-benefit of keeping it with greater scrutiny. As she began to dig deeper into Cvent's full functionality she unearthed its true potential. Jane described her epiphany. She thought, ‘Oh my goodness. We haven't even come close to maximizing what this can do. This is our ticket."
A New Strategy for Hope
The Bostons, finally utilizing Cvent's flexibility, swiftly moved their Continuing Education classes online. This subsequently allowed them to give up their high-rent office space.
Jane was thrilled that she could run the business completely through Cvent. But most of all she was relieved that she had a business to run. The Bostons left the office space where they had formed 12 years of memories, and began working out of a room in their family home.
In the days following, Jane began to see hints of hope. Yes, they were a smaller team, and yes, there were days when they barely left the house, but hey, that's what being an entrepreneur is all about. The Bostons relished their new chance at rebuilding what they had, and quickly realized that Cvent picked up much of the slack of a reduced work force – and then some. Jane said, "With Cvent, the shift to fewer personnel was not a downsize; it was an opportunity to grow the company in a sustainable, smart way. We got down to almost no overhead. It was a loss, but more importantly, it was a change. I saw it as an opportunity to use Cvent more."
The four employees each took on their own areas of expertise in Cvent. Scott took on the role of developing events in Cvent. "We weren't discouraged. We felt like we had a tool that would keep us going and move us ahead." He said there were these moments that actually got very exciting. "We were sitting in a room in the house, just pouring through Cvent, like wow, it does this! Wow, it does that!"
The Key to Survival
The "this and that" were a few key features that helped them take advantage of the opportunities they had previously overlooked:
Session custom fields allowed them to easily pull information for each course into an email template with a single data tag. It made the management of 200 trainings offerings exponentially less time consuming.
In order to market their upcoming trainings, Motivations leveraged the Event Calendar and ran campaigns through eMarketing tool. They began asking therapists what was interesting to them and used path history from Event Management to tailor what emails doctors received. According to the Bostons, "This has finally allowed us to do targeted, more effective marketing."
In 2014, Motivations, Inc. purchased the Web Survey solution to automate all their manual work— from start to finish. Jane gets excited talking about how everything works together. The integration between the event and survey tool means no more importing and exporting or hiring employees to do busywork.
"Pre-scheduled eMarketing campaigns with targeted messaging are sent to healthcare professionals. Doctors sign up for classes in the Event side, and then immediately following, they take their competency test in Survey. If they pass, a certificate is automatically sent to their inbox, which they can then email to their HR department or print out for their office," Jane explains. She even gets automatic reports sent to her each week, so she can keep track of everything!
For Motivations, Cvent wasn't just an amenity. It didn't simply reinforce the status quo or ignite gradual improvements—it was the catalyst that saved the Boston's family business, their livelihood.
The Bostons saved money, to the tune of $200,000 in just one year, and every year since, their bottom line has improved. Motivations was reborn a thriving business that's automated from start to finish. "When people think of Cvent, they think of registration software—but for us, it's a tool that allowed us to strategize and completely rethink what we offered to our learners and how we operated."
Now when the Bostons think about their low point in 2011, they think of it as a blessing in disguise for Motivations. "We look back now and say wow, isn't it amazing that we went from that much cost, that much overhead, to where we are now…"
And Jane still isn't convinced that they maximized the full potential of the Cvent platform yet…