When SES Networks demonstrated to customers its new dashboards and analytics for tracking network utilisation, they got an unexpected response, as Trailblazer Ewald Schrap, Director of Network Services at SES Networks, explains, “The test customers nearly fell off their chairs when they saw how easy it was. Showing customers how their networks are being used will help them make better business decisions.”
The new dashboards, which are powered by Salesforce, are not aimed just at IT personnel; they can also be used by marketing, finance, and engineering teams to extract important business information. “Connectivity is fundamental in today’s digital world. We want to help our customers to make the most of their network resources so they can maximise agility and efficiency,” said Elly Domene, Director of Global Customer Experience Management at SES Networks.
SES Networks believes in a world where affordable, high speed connectivity is always within reach. As a connectivity and experience leader, it has opened a host of opportunities to the digital world for millions of people from the Amazon basin and sub-Saharan Africa to the middle of the Pacific. But SES Networks believes that creating access to connectivity in just the beginning. Everyone deserves access to not just connectivity, but affordable, high-performance services that will allow them to fully capitalise on the opportunities of the app-driven world.
The company owns and operates ground-breaking satellite systems which have the capability to offer fibre-like connectivity to communities in remote locations. For example, it provides high-performance satellite-based connectivity to the city of Juba, in South Sudan, which would otherwise have extremely limited broadband connectivity.
Making its customers successful is key to the company’s business strategy. “Healthy customers means healthy business,” said Domene. “We want to build long-term partnerships that maximise loyalty, and that means we need to go beyond purely transactional customer relationships: we need to listen, react, and empower.”
SES Networks recognises that the first step to successfully acquiring and retaining customers is making key business processes as simple as possible. “With Salesforce, we can deliver a consistent experience from when a prospect first contacts us, through to onboarding, using our services, billing, and renewing,” said Domene.
The company first started using the CRM solution in 2012, and refreshed its implementation in 2016 to include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Pardot, Salesforce CPQ, Community Cloud, and Analytics Cloud. “We realised that Salesforce had more than kept up with us over the last five years, and was one of the few solutions that could cope with our 100-mile-per-hour market,” said Mary Hooft, Director of Salesforce Lifecycle at SES Networks.
SES Networks doesn't just operate in a fast market; it operates in a complex market. With multiple and varied offerings, SES Networks needs to make it as easy as possible for its sales teams to compile proposals for its customers, which include telcos, governments, cruise operators, and energy providers.
“Our products are like building blocks, which means our sales teams and expert engineers can work together to craft tailor-made solutions based on a customer’s exact requirements,” said Schrap. “With Salesforce CPQ, we can create custom quotes on the fly that reflect the personalised solutions that we deliver to our customers around the globe.”
SES Networks’ trailblazing leaders haven’t just made quoting easier for their sales reps; they’ve simplified the entire sales cycle with better qualified leads and automated workflows. “We want our sales teams to spend their time talking to customers, not inputting data,” explained Domene. “With Salesforce, we’ve created an entirely integrated platform, which means you never have to enter data more than once.”
This integrated approach starts as soon as a lead is captured on SES Networks’ website and ends with a SAP-based revenue recognition engine, which will eventually support on-demand billing. Leads are qualified and nurtured using Pardot, and assigned to either the marketing or sales team depending on how hot they are. “With Pardot, we can send automated emails to prospects and grow our sales pipeline,” said Hooft.
SES Networks also uses Salesforce to keep track of its satellite hardware as well as customer deployment schedules. “Getting equipment on the ground once a contract has been signed can take up to six months, so moving things along as fast as possible is key to delivering value quickly,” said Schrap. “With Salesforce, we can achieve key milestones in parallel rather than as sequential steps.”
Once a customer’s satellite installation has gone live, SES Networks co-ordinates technical support via its Network Operations Centre. SES Networks’ team of engineers uses Service Cloud to provide 24x7 support to customers around the world. “We’ve customised Service Cloud to fit with our best practice IT service management processes,” explained Brian Stalker, Vice President of Global Network Operations at SES Network. “Using Service Cloud helps us prioritise issues and assign them to the right engineer. We’ve even built an online community using Community Cloud that enables our customers to check status, read engineers’ notes, and self-serve. Providing real-time updates improves the customer experiece and increases their trust in us.”