By Brian Murphy, director of cloud services, MJ Flood Technology
As part of my role within MJ Flood Technology, I spend a significant amount of my time talking to telcos and cloud platform providers around Western Europe and beyond. Time and time again, I see a similar pattern of challenges emerging across all these telecommunications companies. Their issues or challenges stem from declining mobile and fixed revenues and a recognition that they need to diversify into new products and services. And many of these services are based on the cloud.
As these organisations have a regular billing cycle with millions of customers, the utility model of cloud services fits very well into their modus operandi. Yet this is a monumental shift from their traditional business and is critical to their survival.
It’s also a monumental shift in sales behaviour as the sales force within these organisations are more used to transactional selling of mobile tariffs and fixed line minutes rather than solution selling and understanding how this new ICT world operates. And this shift to a world based on the cloud throws up many questions for telcos to address including:
- How do we enter this market?
- What services do we sell and how are we going to sell them?
- How are we going to support our customers?
- Why would a mobile or fixed line customer buy cloud services from a telco rather than their incumbent IT provider?
However, by setting a sound business strategy, cloud services can complement and boost mobile revenues as the most popular cloud apps are consumed on mobile and portable devices. And these devices require data bundles in order to access them, thus delivering the possibility to reverse declining ARPUs, Average Revenue Per User for the telco, which in recent times has become a feature of their operating landscape.
Having seen what works well and not so well, here are my top three tips to help organisations in their transition from traditional telco to full ICT provider.
- Secure executive sponsorship
This is a must. Where the senior management and key stakeholders have sponsored and supported the launch of cloud services, the success rate is a lot higher. However, the support must be consistent and sustained. While the core business will always be focused on mobile there must be a sales target of cloud application licences sold monthly or annually and this has to be driven from the top down.
- Incentivise and encourage good sales behaviour
All too frequently I hear words like “hard bundles”, “free”, “vouchers” and for sure these tactics will help drive sales volumes but may not lead necessarily to an activated licence or application usage. Something that has been given for free or “thrown in” as part of a deal may never be used and ultimately lead to customer “churn”, that most feared word in the telco world.It’s also very fair to say that once customers have been successfully on boarded and are using these services, they become more loyal and are less likely to churn. Therefore these services need to be sold and sold correctly. Sell the value and benefits of these services, what it will do for the customer, how it could potentially save them money, how flexible it is and that it’s a predictable recurring cost based on consumption. Once the value proposition is sold and the licences are activated and assigned, then and only then, should the sales person be rewarded. It sounds simple but in many cases, this sales model represents a significant cultural shift within the organisation and involves encouraging sales staff to change their mindset and sales behaviour. However, successfully managing this change is one way to ensure that those all-important ICT sales targets are met and telcos can recoup their investment in cloud platforms.
- Create an overlay of experienced ICT solution specialists with no fixed/mobile sales targets
If telcos are serious about entering this market, then investment needs to be made in hiring a highly skilled and experienced sales force to conquer this new world of cloud services. The team of specialists works in tandem with the sales force and helps to identify opportunities, recommend ICT solutions for the customer’s business (it’s never a one size fits all approach) and close out the business, maximising revenues for both licensing and professional services.The alternative initially, of course, could be to partner with an experienced ICT organisation to bring the levels of sales, activation and support capabilities to bear on the project. We, as it happens, provide many of these services from blueprint for cloud services workshops, sales and technical support training and fully outsourced services to telcos globally. Our approach is based on knowledge transfer, so by hiring our team, we can train and mentor your staff leading to self-sufficiency after a period of time.
For further information or assistance on how to successfully transition to an ICT provider, please use the button below to request contact with Brian Murphy.