Telecom has seen a lot changes in the last decade. Of all these, it’s new technologies that have taken the industry by storm and pushed it to make continual adjustments. While these advances have made it easier for consumers to research and buy telecom products and services, they’ve brought, in their wake, new challenges – particularly to sales and sales operations. The omni-channel trend is no exception.
Omni-channel consumers initiate their shopping experience in one channel and finalize their purchase in another. For example, a customer may use a website to conduct research, say to buy a new internet plan and then —or even simultaneously—make the payment transaction in a brick and mortar store. Every major telecom has invested in achieving a presence across these channels, which include phone, internet, mobile, and physical stores. But they’ve struggled to deliver a coherent experience to their consumers. And for a highly consumer-driven industry, a positive, seamless customer journey across channels and devices is, well, everything.
See the infographic: Omni-Channel Trends in Wireless Telecom and the Impact on Sales Operations
The Challenges of the Omni-Channel Trend
To be sure, omni-channel opens new avenues for consumers to purchase telecom products and services. That’s good for the consumer, and can spell great news for providers: when a provider offers a smooth and consistent experience over the entirety of the omni-channel journey, the likelihood that it will retain current customers, and gain new ones, increases.
To make that journey all it can be and allow the consumer to complete it without a glitch, the provider must manage the process well from its side. The most significant impacts of omni-channel are seen in the areas of data management, sales and marketing, and sales operations.
- Data: Every moment, a huge amount of data flows through wireless networks. With omni-channel, not only the volume but also the complexity of data increases. And since it’s impossible to glean accurate insights by analyzing data collected from fragmented sources, the challenge lies in data integration. Some telecom companies, in an effort to find a truly integrated solution, have tried to overcome this challenge by investing in multiple technological solutions. Unfortunately, these often create more complexity than there was to begin with.
- Sales and Marketing: Understanding customers is the lifeblood of sales and marketing, but insights into customer needs and market trends don’t come without careful analysis of consumer data. The advent and growing popularity of omni-channel demands that sales and marketing professionals map the customer journey not only from inquiry to final sale but also across channels and devices. The entire shopping experience, including pricing, promotions, and voice of the brand, needs to be standardized and coherent. For instance, if a provider’s website is offering a Black Friday promotion for discounted services, the exact same terms need to be offered via its phone, app, and store channels.
- Sales Operations: Industry sales and sales operations departments are faced with a unique challenge with omni-channel. Telecom’s sales compensation calculations and distribution systems are already complex. With omni-channel, this complexity takes on even more dimensions: in order to successfully track which salesperson contributed most meaningfully to closing a sale, organizations must have sophisticated means in place to trace the customer journey. Tracking the revenue generated from each channel is equally critical. The initial point of sale (for instance, a rep’s presentation over the phone) is as essential to factor into commission calculations as the final one (e.g., the store transaction). Thus, the hierarchies upon which commission structures are usually based will become flatter, further affecting compensation calculations. Add on some tricky referral attribution, and the plot thickens.
As more consumers adopt omni-channel, wireless telecom will need to expand its focus on data management and integration, standardizing the consumer experience across channels and ensuring accurate commission payouts for its salespeople. The solution may lie with a unified sales performance management platform that allows sales and sales operations to track, report, calculate and dispense commissions with attention to all activities across channels.
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