How to build the next generation of telecoms sales leaders
As the consumer communications service provider (CSP) market reaches saturation point, industry executives are seeking new strategies to drive business growth, writes Russell Palmer, the director of Communications & Media Industry Solutions at Pegasystems. Millions of homes are equipped with fast broadband and streaming devices, with customers using their mobiles to access content on the go, 24/7. So, in a bid to keep driving business growth and hit their sales targets, communication service provider executives are turning their attention to business accounts – and it seems to be paying off.
Emerging B2B opportunities are driving sales, so the industry is taking notice. Enterprise accounts present substantial business opportunities, much more so than simply passing customers back and forth between the top telco providers. However, salespeople need to adjust their strategies if they are to succeed in the world of B2B selling. Their priority should be to get connected with intelligent sales technology that enhances sales practices and customer experience. They should also consider the following lessons from consumer selling.
The first thing they need to learn from B2C is to make use of intelligent data. Sales professionals today have a wealth of customer data at their disposal – this is an indispensable tool that they need to employ to pinpoint the optimum time to interact with a customer. CRM and marketing automation present huge value to B2B salespeople. Artificial intelligence (AI), with its roots in database marketing and real-time marketing offers, can optimise timing sales content and communications to make them effective, timely and relevant. Via next-best-action technology, it can provide sales operatives with valuable insights and actions to identify leads, drive revenue, and ensure opportunities progress and close.
B2B sales often have to go through very complex pathways from starting point to delivery. Just one order can go through 20 different contributors before the solution is delivered, meaning that typically, lead time can be as long as three or six months. By using smart customer engagement technology, salespeople can get a holistic view of the organisation, working across siloes to create a completely connected customer journey. AI has a key role to play in driving this holistic approach, by reviewing sales results, activities, forecasts and other data across all the different channels, generating top line insights for managers. AI technology can also automate repetitive processes, in order to drive down delivery costs – this can help to increase satisfaction.
Finally, B2B sellers should consider collaborating with a partner. Over-the-top players, like Netflix, are simply too big to ignore. This has already been recognised in the B2C space, with communications service providers no longer attempting to compete with these huge over-the-top (OTT) players. Instead, they are selling them as part of TV bundles. These partnerships have a valuable role to play in the B2B sphere, too, with IoT services and cloud software creating a fantastic opportunity to upsell clients beyond the standard voice and connectivity service packages. Technology is making it easier to onboard, sell and deliver partner services in B2B, too. AI can guide sellers to selecting the right partner products that a customer is most likely to purchase – advanced next-best-action software has a key role to play here. Additionally, cloud technology can facilitate delivery via easy-to-use interfaces.
Across the communications service industry, the B2B sales process is becoming ever-more complicated, with the emergence of new services, partners and virtual networks, as well as consolidation. In today’s increasingly connected world, technology has a critical role to play and is enabling B2B sales professionals to manage and close deals much more efficiently and effectively. By employing tech like artificial intelligence and customer engagement technology to provide tailored guidance to customers, B2B sellers will achieve sales success and be rewarded with customer loyalty.