This is the time of year when service providers start their planning exercises. Executives toil around conference tables and telephones debating budgets, technology, operations and revenue. Every part of the business is scrutinized – from the fellow that brings coffee and snacks to the CEO. Every expense is condemned and every revenue opportunity is dissected like a frog in Biology lab. And like that frog in the hands of a 13 year old with a scalpel, there isn’t going to be much left that is recognizable.
This is not the time for bold statements like “We need more revenue” or “We need to cut costs” – everybody knows that. Now is the time to figure out what exactly needs to be done, how to get it done and who will take responsibility. That brings us to sales. Increased sales are at the top of every priority list in every board room around the world. But how? And how will we know if it’s working?
Orders, like every other business pursuit requires management. For many operators, Selling, General and Administrative expenses devour one-third or more of their operating expenses. That’s the cost to sell a product and paying for the people and facilities you need to make and support the sale. For that kind of investment, you would think Orders would be closely managed, but it’s not. More precisely, the process is managed inconsistently using isolated processes, systems and data. Not only are the order or sales functions for business and consumer customers segregated but sale of wireless products is separate from wired or video; regional separations exist (especially in cable) and retail store sales are not managed the same way as in the call center and call center sales are managed separately from on-line sales. It’s not unusual for a service provider to be managing sales in a dozen separate silos across the business.
The result is that there is no consistency for the customer or the employee, no data captured that leads to a better understanding of customer behavior and preferences, no consolidated view of product quality or performance across the operator and generally no good way to see what works and what doesn’t. There is a better way. Consolidated, intentional sales management delivers a single view of the products and offers sent to market so that both the salesperson and the customer understand it. From that single view then, the business can glean valuable data about its customers, improve their experience, reduce churn and increase sales while reducing costs. Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? Maybe 2012 will be the year.
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