In years past, the external perception of Gamestec has sometimes been less than complimentary. Thankfully, self-analysis has been brought to the fore and the past 12-15 months has seen the company acknowledge a need for change and understand where improvements were required in order to take real steps to reposition itself in the eyes of customers, peers and suppliers.
As pivotal members of the senior team, managing director Peter Davies and sales and marketing director Lee Jefferson, have been instrumental in instigating and executing this year of change. And now, in a position to reflect, they explain both the rationale and the results.
“When we sat down at the back end of 2017 and looked at the number of supply contracts we had expiring during 2018, we were amazed that in all our years in the industry, we had never seen so many fall due at the same time,” begins Davies. “We knew that the density of machines across the pub sector was declining but that the new generation of players was demanding digital over analogue and that retailers were seeking more sophisticated management of their estates. This dramatically and rapidly changing landscape meant that we had to look closely at our role within it, and the conclusion we came to was that we needed to change the ways in which we did business.” “In terms of digital AWP product, our industry has suffered a few false starts over the years,” continues Jefferson. “But what has become very clear is that with a digitally literate population reaching adulthood, there will be no red flags this time round. In these last 12-15 months, player demand for digital product has accelerated extremely rapidly and so, as a result, has retailer demand. After a few years of driving the digital change and being at the forefront of investment and product definition, we found ourselves needing to satisfy a ravenously hungry market that has fully embraced change.
“Having reviewed these opportunities and the changing way in which we needed to drive our business, our conclusion was that we needed to take a long look at ourselves, how we structured our customer- facing teams and how we could best integrate our products and services within the portfolios of our customers. We have an overall objective to maintain our position as industry leaders and bold innovators and our strategies and tactics are driven by this,” adds Davies. But our customers have objectives and strategies of their own, and the challenge was to establish structures and processes that would work well for us all. And so, we set out on what we called our Year of Transition.”
“We began by laying down three non-negotiable internal sales objectives,” begins Jefferson. Firstly, we must deliver a profitable return for our own business. Secondly, we must renew or establish agreements with those retail partners who share our vision. And thirdly, we must explore every opportunity to drive cash-box growth through quality product selection, an exciting and effective product mix and meticulous relationship management.”
“We then examined the impact of the existing Gamestec structure on those with whom we interact, and we quickly acknowledged a need for change. What was previously a generic Account Manager role was divided into two more specifically targeted functions. Today, business development managers are charged with building local relationships and pursuing opportunities across all channels. Alongside them the revenue development managers are laser-focused on driving customer revenues and ensuring that budget objectives are achieved. This re-alignment was introduced last Spring and has been unanimously embraced by customers, who have absolutely seen the value it adds to their own businesses.”
“We underwent a sustainable partnership approach to the tenders and new agreements that we faced through 2018 and are extremely pleased that not only did we renegotiate positions with all of our key trading partners, we also welcomed new partners and customers across the corporate, regional and free trade sectors. The foundation of this success has been the open and honest review of the legacy ways of working and a redefining of what ‘good business’ now looks like. This approach has resulted in open and honest dialogue and new strategies that are delivering like-for- like growth to customers across the board. With the backing of market leading digital product and content, we now believe we have the best package in the market”, reflects Jefferson.
But has this ‘Year of Transition’ actually delivered real results? “The strong and continually growing like-for- like performance provides the best possible answer that question,” concludes Peter Davies.