Interview, LZ Volume 8 Issue 4

A Year in Review – Springer’s Account Development Support

Springer’s Account Development team provides support to libraries to ensure they receive the best return on investment from all of their Springer electronic resources. For example, providing support with marketing, usage analyses, product training, and assisting with implementation and other queries. The role is integral to growing customer relationships that in turn help Springer to improve or enhance services and develop products that continue to serve changing customer needs.

As part of our year in review, Library Zone spoke with Heloisa Tiberio, Account Development Manager Brazil, Ryan Rodriguez, Account Development Manager North America and Timon Oefelein, Account Development Manager North Western Europe to learn more about their work.

Can we start by asking you to explain about your role?

Heloisa:

I work as account development and marketing library specialist for the Brazilian Territory. The team in Springer’s Sao Paulo office is quite lean, and we all take on many roles! As an account development manager, I act as the bridge between the customer and licensing manager. I visit customers to understand their needs and support them with a number of matters including access setup, usage reports, newsletters, marketing campaigns to increase usage, as well as providing training. Wearing my library specialist hat, my tasks here include promoting the Springer brand throughout Brazilian Universities, and communicating with the market. I make sure we attend major and regional library events, as well as organizing and running prospecting events and road shows. I am currently working on the Brazilian page on springer.com to deliver our content in the local language, as well as updating our social media channels for Brazil: Facebook and Twitter.

Ryan:

Just like Heloisa, my role is to make sure customers get the best ROI and usage from their Springer purchases. They include colleges and universities in Canada, South Western USA and Hawaii. I get to meet my customers in person, and help them to achieve their goals through a number of activities including usage reporting, product training (both in-person and online), as well as providing marketing support to help libraries promote resources to students through events such as vendor days and providing giveaways to support promotions.

Timon:

I help large libraries maximize the return on investment on their electronic Springer holdings. I do this across all of Scandinavia, UK, Ireland, and the Benelux countries.
After a client has brought Springer ebooks I usually start with helping them set up and configure their discovery service and OPAC. This is usually followed by an onsite workshop where I demo our ebooks on SpringerLink (and portable devices too), explain our DRM policy, and answer any questions that librarians might have. Then we’ll monitor usage with a view to identify trends and behaviour. I also coordinate and deliver Author Publishing Workshops. All of these activities can be summed up in the word ‘partnership’, that is, I closely work together with the library to optimize product performance.

What services does the account development team offer libraries? How do they benefit librarians?

Heloisa:

We provide a number of services, including providing SpringerLink training which is adapted for each of our main users: librarians, faculty, and end users. The training is delivered on site or through Webex. I also help librarians develop campaigns to increase content usage (e.g. email campaigns, newsletters, and Facebook campaigns) as well as provide high quality usage reports and return on investment reports to help librarians to justify their investment in Springer content and secure budget for renewals.

Ryan:

We also help libraries implement their MARC records. For example, once these have been implemented we usually see usage increase considerably, in some cases by at least 50%. Reaching out to end users is one of our, and the library’s, biggest challenges, so I work with libraries to understand how we can better target students and researchers and to determine the best methods of communicating with them to tell them about Springer resources.

Timon:

As a first step, I help clients install electronic products. In the case of ebooks, this includes MARC record support and discovery service configuration. The resulting benefit is fast and smooth product set up and optimal discovery. In a second step I usually do an onsite knowledge building workshop where I talk about the structure and content of our collections as well as our range of library services and product training options. I also share tips on how to increase the discoverability of Springer content. For example, I might talk about the benefits of the Google Scholar Library Link program. Such a workshop is also a unique opportunity for librarians to ask questions about their Springer content. But at all times, my role is making sure that librarians have the right tools and knowledge to get the most out of their Springer holdings.

What activities are you working on in your market today?

Heloisa:

It’s the end of our fiscal year so now most of my account activities are over but I’m still doing visits in the north of my region and providing reports and carrying out training. There are two types of training I undertake with libraries: end user training to show librarians and library patrons how to get the most out of the SpringerLink platform and also Administrator training so libraries can implement features and services of SpringerLink. I also do a “discovery” check on a library’s website before I visit them just to check how easy it is to access their Springer content and ebooks. The key reason for doing this is to understand the steps involved in finding content via a library’s website or catalog so that I can, if necessary, work with them to try and reduce these steps and improve discoverability, and usage, of their content.
I am also working on the 2014 account development plan for the region. This includes setting up customer visits, organizing road shows, and planning conferences / attendance at events. For 2014, this is going to be quite a challenge as Brazil is also hosting two Major events next year: the World Cup and Presidential Elections which will inevitably have an impact on other events!

Ryan:

I’ve just completed a project with the University of Nevada to reach out to end users and different faculty members on campus. It was the first time that a vendor has participated in such an event. The librarian wanted to let first year students know about library resources, so Springer supplied goodie bags and information that was specific to what Springer provides (e.g. MyCopy, springerlink apps). This was supported by an online scavenger hunt which required students to use SpringerLink to find relevant articles and books. It was a great success; 350 new students took part and the week following the event, I was invited on campus to provide training for 20-25 librarians and faculty on how to use Springerlink.

Timon:

One of the hot topics right now in the library community is discovery services. There has been a lot of research lately which proves that services such as Summon or Primo Central can boost usage by up to 40%. Therefore a lot of librarians are now exchanging experiences with these services. I am glad to say that Springer works closely with all of these services to make sure that they provide full-text indexing of our products. Another hot topic in my region is how libraries can measure their return on investment. Many of my libraries are starting to look beyond usage to see if there are other ways to measure how their holdings impact on their university’s outputs (grants, highly cited research, etc). I’m also pleased to say that next year I’m doing a case study on the impact of large scale ebook adoption on student grades. I’m really excited about this study and I Iook forward to presenting the results at library conferences across North Western Europe.

What have been the successes and challenges that you faced in 2013?

Heloisa:

The major challenge for me remains the size of the country and the different cultures that exist in Brazil. Brazil is huge and separated into 5 regions, each of which has a very different way of conducting business. It’s a steep learning curve to understand how to deal most effectively with each region in order to get the best results but we are getting there! Another challenge is to make sure our customers understand the full benefit of the admin dashboard on SpringerLink. Librarians are incredibly busy and don’t always have the time to explore their platforms in depth, so my challenge is to make sure I introduce the admin dashboard to them, because once they learn how to use it, they just love it! Finally, after our initial focus of with librarians, we’re now trying to work with researchers to understand their needs too so we can provide the service they need.
Our key success has been to raise the profile of the Springer brand. Since 2011, our goal has been to increase visibility of Springer in the territory and after 2 years, I can now say that our market knows who we are and appreciates the quality of our content and the service we provide. Furthermore, they know we are here to work as partners to help them to get most out of their investment, through high usage and high user satisfaction.

Ryan:

I’m new to this role so my major challenge has been getting to know my markets. I am responsible for Canada and Southwest USA which is essentially looking after two different countries as they both have quite different needs. The Account Development Specialists are here to develop relationships that are useful to librarians. We try to identify problems that libraries may have usage-wise and one way we do this is through discovery reviews. Here, I’ll go to the library website and pretend I’m a student trying to find a specific book. I record my user journey of going through the library catalog etc, and if I can’t find the book, then I know something has gone wrong either at our end or at the library end, and I can work quickly to rectify the problem.

Timon:

This year I have done over 50 onsite workshops – on a very wide range of topics - across all of North Western Europe. Another major success was that we added several new tags, e.g. table of contents and back cover copy, to our MARC records to boost discoverability. The biggest challenge has been keeping up with the pace of technological change of library and discovery systems. So much is happening here. But there is still a lot of work to do with regards to establishing standards and transparency in discovery technology. So I was pleased to read the recently published new NISO recommendations on discovery technology, which is a great step in the right direction.