B2B Sales – The journey to a successful order capture
IN ASSOCIATION WITH AMDOCS
For a CSP (Communications Service Provider), closing a sale for a B2B solution is only the beginning of a process which, if not handled correctly from start to finish, could fail for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the weakest point in the process however is the order capture stage. The order capture process mainly deals with the period after the solution has been sold and requires the consolidation of information from the large number of sources vital to ensuring the initial offer can be delivered. It is because the order capture process encompasses every aspect of the solution that it is vital that every piece of information is not only accurate, but also transparent to both the CSP’s agent as well as the customer.
Indeed, the order capture process has become so important for CSPs looking to enable the digital economy that traditionally manual methods of collating and consolidating the necessary information will no longer suffice. The potential for order drop out, even at this stage of the sales process, is far too great to risk the long resolution timelines and error prone processes which characterise a manual approach. If there are too many errors at this stage for instance, the order could go back and forth between different departments and entities and the sales process could ultimately be too prolonged, resulting in the customer being too exhausted and dissatisfied to continue. Manually, it could take a very long time to assemble all the required information, however, despite these difficulties, many CSPs are continuing to use this approach for their B2B sales order processes mainly because suitable tools have not, until now, been available.
Amdocs, which has been providing the telecoms industry with IT solutions for over 35 years, has addressed these challenges with its order capture solution, which is a part of its end to end Sales Quote Order (SQO) solution. In the information gathering phase, as many information pieces as possible are consolidated so that the order process won’t fail because some vital piece is missing. It is crucial at this phase that the CSP has as much information as possible to be able to process the order and to ensure all parts of it are deliverable. It is also vital that the customer can access the fine detail of the order so they can see exactly what they’ve sighed up for.
The Amdocs order capture solution consolidates information from all the necessary systems including the BSS end and the connection to Salesforce, from which it takes the various customer details and information. This is then enriched with information taken from the OSS layer in the network. So, if for example there is something missing in the order, such as the number of lines, services or devices the customer has ordered, some of which cannot be provisioned for one reason or another, the solution provides the key players in the process with as much information as possible about the order and any attendant difficulties, so that fully informed decisions can be made by the sales person and/or the customer.
Of prime importance is the accuracy of the information and while some of it may be static over the length of the sales process, much of it could change between the time the order is taken and the order capture phase. This could include things like geographical network coverage or bandwidth availability in a particular area, the supply of devices or the CSP’s ability to deliver specific services. All of these could vary over relatively short time periods. In addition, the customer may want to make changes to the order which could impact on a wide range of parameters, meaning the process has to be revisited all over again, thus creating further delays. The time taken to collect accurate and timely information on such variables using a manual system would almost certainly lead in the worst case to order drop-out or at least customer dissatisfaction with incorrect delivery and/or the failure to meet agreed SLA’s.
A highly integrated system such as the one Amdocs has developed is far less likely to be error-prone and will deliver variable information in near real time. In addition, if the customer makes any changes to the original order during the capture process, the ripple-through effects across the whole sales process can be viewed by both the sales person and the customer immediately, meaning there is very little chance either will be making decisions based on out of date or incorrect information.
Of course, consolidating all the information relevant to the SQO process is of little use if it is not easily accessible and transparent. To this end, Amdocs has created an exclusive order capture dashboard application which is available to download on most platforms and devices, including smartphones, and is open to both the CSP’s agent and the customer to view and amend as necessary.
Eyal Amit, Senior Technical and Marketing Product Manager at Amdocs says, “With our order capture solution, we try to gather all the information and to present it in a single dashboard in which we show all of the customer journey and the key path interactions.”
In point of fact, the transparency which the dashboard application provides is the key to a successful and accurate order capture process because not only does the customer know what to expect from the vendor, but also the CSP can confidently deliver, safe in the knowledge that it is able to meet the customer’s exact requirements in a timely and, most importantly, a profitable manner.
Using such a solution is the only way for CSPs looking to enter the digital marketplace to cope with the amount of information required to ensure that orders are not lost during the capture phase of the sales process. Solutions such as Amdocs’ SQO are rapidly making systems which use manual processes for order capture obsolete and any CSP that clings to the traditional approach will very quickly find itself falling far behind its competitors in the B2B market.