Today more and more communications service providers (CSPs) are looking to the B2B business for growth, given its higher profit margins, a client base willing to pay more for differentiated service, and a reasonable defense against over-the-top (OTT) substitution.
A key challenge for most B2B CSPs remain in the Sales and Solutioning process, where clients’ demand for customized service often results in large variances in pricing and scope-of-work.
Meanwhile recommending the wrong solution or underestimating costs by the sales agent could result in lost opportunities or irreparable damages on profit margins for the whole business.
The good news is with digital transformation and well-designed processes, CSPs can gain significant savings and profit margins by automating pricing and solutioning among their large sales forces.
This was the background under which we worked with our client, a major Indonesian telco with a strong B2B offering, and embarked on a journey to fully digitize their existing Sales & solutioning process. The company offers the full range of connectivity options to its B2B customers including Fixed Line Internet, Ethernet Connectivity, Cloud Services and Data Center Services.
The B2B Sales Process
B2B Sales & Solutioning of connectivity products is a unique process, one which requires the sales agent to cater to the customer’s diverse set of requirements and design a solution which is unique to that customer. The agents need to have an in-depth understanding of their customer’s requirements and be able to mobilize internal resources such as pre-sales and service delivery teams to design a solution for the customer.
The Gap in the Process
While the B2B sales process is simple in theory, in practice this process often means long lead times (to deliver the first quote to the potential client), lost opportunities (due to incorrect solutions implementated, long lead times, noncompetitive prices) or simply sunk costs chasing requirements that could never be catered for. As this process is central to finding and retaining customers, which has the biggest impact on their top line, this was the first process we tackled in our digitization journey.
The process flow below shows the before and after (digitization) of the B2B Sales solutioning process.
Lynx Analytics’ solution to this digitization question was: The Mobile Price Kalkulator – a single mobile app that gives sales agents convenient access to all the information they might need, right in the palm of their hands!
With the Mobile Price Kalkulator, the entire B2B sales process is more streamlined and sales opportunities can be closed much more efficiently.
The Mobile Application
Initial versions developed within the company to support the sales process consisted of MS Excel-based macros, which are useful for prototypes but were not scale-able and definitely not suited for mobile. Lynx Analytics helped to redesign the solution as a mobile app, focusing on mobility as a key requirement.
The key reason behind this was simple – the B2B sales agents are always on the move, meeting customers and learning about their unique business requirements; and a mobile app offers both mobility and ease-of-use. Lynx Analytics worked in close partnership with the client and the users of the application to ensure that we nailed down key user requirements and gained valuable user feedback. The application development was managed in a completely agile manner, with business stakeholders engaged throughout the process, and development kept on track with daily stand-ups. We had an excellent partnership to execute this project, with a top-end European digital agency.
With the proliferation of shopping apps throughout Indonesia, we expected our users to be most familiar with the shopping cart experience, and aimed to mimic the same functionality within our app. The interface was designed by our own in-house UX expert, and continual updates were carried out based on user feedback.
The final product breaks down the sales process to three simple steps:
Add the product details and add-on services
Set the contract terms (years) and add any discretionary discount, if deemed applicable
Add the customer’s details
The MRC and OTC prices shown at the top red bar refer to Monthly recurring charge (MRC) and One time charge (OTC), which are industry-specific pricing terms.
Once these three steps are completed, the quote is ready to be generated. And with a one-click confirmation, the sales agent can directly send the official quote to the customer from the app directly (customer email is also captured)! The agent can be in front of the customer, gather their requirements, input it into the app, and generate an official quotation on-the-spot to send it to the customer.
This brings down the time to provide a solution by about 99.9% from approximately 5 days on average, to just 5 minutes.
Within the app, rests the capability to get the latest price, check for coverage in the area (Google Maps API), capacity verification (feature in progress), and controlled access to discounts provided.
The coverage map function using Google Maps was one of the trickiest features to implement but turned out to be the most popular feature! Lynx Analytics managed the coordination and data sharing between three different teams within the firm to gain a complete picture of their own network coverage. Now, users can simply search for their customer’s office address and choose from among the available last mile connectivity options in that area.
Initial Adoption Strategy
The response to this app has been phenomenal. We have more than 250+ users since the launch mid-august (Aug-2018).
We understood that adoption of new technology and processes always come with a certain amount of organizational inertia. To combat this, Lynx Analytics partnered with key performers/influencers among the sales team and pushed the adoption by individually targeting each team.
To show their commitment towards the product and the road-map, the management placed monetary incentives for its agents to start using the app through a sales race challenge specifically on the new app. Adoption also relies on listening and reacting quickly to user feedback, and by ensuring that we run an agile project.
Due to these measurements put into place, Lynx Analytics was able to release updates within 1 month of release.
Tertiary Benefits of Digitization – New Data Sources
As mentioned before, every digitization project offers new data collection opportunities. In the case of this mobile app, here are some of the new data sources we identified and started collecting very insightful data:
Most liked products
Most surveyed locations
Most common Add-ons
Number of quotes which were started, which got completed and sent out
Amount of discounts offered
Average contract length requested, aggregated on a monthly level, to see trends
Data, such as this, can help the business understand their customer base in ways they never did before! The trajectory is in the right direction and the hope is to continue the digitization journey using this successful example.
Discover ways we can help in digitizing and driving success to your company – contact us today for a demonstration.