In this blog series, I’ve been exploring the challenges and opportunities in the telecommunications industry. So far, I’ve looked at how to nurture leads to maximise conversion rates and adopting more intelligent services to reduce turnover with B2C customers. In this blog, I’ll be investigating how telco providers can accelerate B2B sales.


Partnerships with lifetime value

I decided it was time to upgrade my mobile phone recently, and called my telco provider to see what the options were. I didn’t just choose a new phone — I also had to decide whether I wanted to stay on the same network, select a call and data bundle, and I added home internet at a discount.

This trend for bundling products doesn’t just apply in the consumer sector — it’s also the way forward for B2B sales. Businesses no longer want stand-alone products from different providers, they need complete solutions that deliver lifetime value.


Digitalisation and 5G increasing business opportunities for telco providers

As we embrace digital, every hospital, every government agency, and every store is reliant on their telco provider. From digital patient records and smart vehicles to supply chains and day-to-day communications, we need internet connectivity to provide even the most basic services. And 5G promises to improve the speed and reliability with which we’ll be able to deliver them.

In fact, more than 10 trillion USD of value from digitalisation in five key industries (mechanical and electrical, electricity, logistics, automotive, and ecommerce) over the next decade depends on the telecom industry. It’s no surprise that the telecom business sector is growing three times faster than the consumer sector. 

To take advantage of B2B opportunities, telcos need to simplify and optimise B2B sales processes — only then will they achieve that lifetime value proposition. Sales reps must no longer focus on pushing products but become trusted advisors to their customers.


Centralise, automate, analyse

To achieve advisor status and fulfil their sales targets, reps need holistic data and seamless, efficient processes. According to our State of Sales report, more than half of the sales reps surveyed expected to miss their quota. Why? Because 69% of their time is taken up on manual back office and admin tasks.

Centralised data, automation, and analytics/AI are key to lowering this figure. So, let’s start with centralising customer data. With a single, 360-degree view of the customer, sales reps can better understand their customers’ businesses and challenges, quickly identify which products they have, and easily suggest other solutions that could be of benefit to them in the future.

As well as fuelling better conversations that are more likely to lead to sales, connected data enables more consistent service. For example, if a customer’s usual contact is out of the office, any member of the team can view their full history and have a personable and productive conversation with them.

Next comes automation. By automating a few simple processes, such as creating new contacts and data entry, you can continue to cut admin time for reps, freeing them up to spend more time with customers. And then it’s not a massive leap to leverage AI and analytics to help prioritise tasks according to your sales strategy and suggest the next best action. Only 30% of teams are currently using AI to optimise sales, so if you’re one of them, good work. And if not, it’s time to play catch-up.


Breaking down silos with dynamic catalogues

But what about creating quotes? This can be a massively time-consuming activity, particularly with the added complexity of bundling products, including those provided by various external vendors.

When companies have more than one offer, it’s highly likely that each department will have its own product catalogue with thousands of possible bundle combinations. Suddenly, we can see how reps are spending two-thirds of their time on admin.

To make quoting faster and more accurate, sales teams need a centralised product catalogue with dynamic pricing and discount calculator. Then, they can offer customers the bundled solutions they need at the right price point without spending hours on complex calculations. 

Even just a few small improvements to fundamental sales processes can make a massive difference to the sales cycle and a team’s ability to achieve its targets. And with better data and processes, telco providers can also gain greater insights into the pipeline, performance, and profitability, enabling smarter forecasting and better business decisions.

In the fourth and final blog, I’ll be looking at how telcos, MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), and other companies launching greenfield digital brands can grow subscriber relationships with more personalised engagement.   

Discover how Salesforce could help your organisation simplify processes and accelerate B2B sales!