While the consumer market is becoming increasingly tough to compete in for communications service providers (CSPs), the B2B market not only contains enormous existing untapped potential, but also presents entirely new growth opportunities.
However, despite identifying the potential of these B2B opportunities, many CSPs are stuck. They’ve built organizations that sell to customer-facing enterprises and cannot deliver the faster pace and higher level of customer service that B2Bs need. Furthermore, many CSPs still don’t fully understand their B2B customers’ wider business needs and objectives. Finally, slow legacy systems and processes prevent business leaders and CFOs from gaining the insight and control into key sales and operational processes that would boost B2B business. More importantly, these processes create negative customer impacts that affect the ongoing relationship between CSPs and their enterprise customers.
While solving all these problems may seem daunting, there’s one process that CSPs can focus on to make a world of difference in their B2B performance in the short term: the configure, price and quote (CPQ) process.
This process is one of the first touchpoints that the CSP has with its business customers, thus acting as the gateway to increased competitiveness, greater revenues, and enhanced profitability. CPQ can help CSPs reduce costs, gain better control of their business, and boost their time-to-revenue and win rate, while also meeting customer expectations and enhancing customer satisfaction.
To optimize CPQ, service providers will need to deal with the following changes:
Changing buyers. Changes in the SME market (Small-Medium sized Enterprises, the faction of the B2B market that CSPs most focus on) mean that CSPs are now selling to numerous stakeholders and budget-holders, not just the IT department. They’re also selling these buyers more things, as the CSP’s market extends beyond devices to include applications and networks.
Changing market. When CSPs cover an SME, this now entails more than just a few large offices with centralized systems. People are working remotely from home or elsewhere, and their connectivity needs are more complex.
Changing business models. Increased remote working and self-employment are already prevalent, and may soon evolve to entirely virtual, even temporary teams (modeled on the crowdsourcing method). CSPs need to substitute their current subscription-based and lease-based business models with more flexible, scalable solutions. SMEs will also expect cloud-integration.
Changing expectations. Younger employees and the need for a competitive edge means that SMEs expect instant availability and complete control over the services that SP’s provide. This extends to more self-service, instant provisioning, visibility of usage and performance, and more control over how much they spend, and sometimes how much service they get.
Bottom line: With all of these things in flux, CSPs will need to adjust their strategies accordingly. The largest revenues will no longer come from the largest organization, and their traditional segmentation will no longer work. If CSPs can adjust their CPQ to accommodate for these changes, they will be able to meet these challenges head-on.
To learn more about the damage that poor CPQ causes, tune into our webinar on September 21.