The telecom industry has reached saturation, especially when it comes to conventional telecom services. We are past the globalization stage that drove the exploration and creation of new markets. Now that the telecom operators have “reached” virtually everywhere, how do they create new revenue streams? Now, the focus has shifted from generating revenues from finding new consumers to retaining old consumers, by providing competitive and cutting edge services, before and better than those available in the market.
5G and IoT alone are two major game-changers that already have, and are continuously changing the telecom business. And the changes regarding these two technologies are much more rapid and diverse in nature than traditional telecom operators are used to handling. And though the bulk of it resides with implementing the right technologies in the right way, the evolution of sales and distribution techniques and channels is just as important to drive revenues for the operators.
Challenges Face By Sales and Distribution Teams
Disconnect with the point of sales operators is one of the major challenges faced by the telcos. Sales and distribution networks of telecom operators can be behemoths, and without adequate open lines of communication and fluency of information from different sections of these networks can really hurt the telco’s numbers in general.
If the decision-makers sitting in the headquarters don’t have the real-time statistics and performance reports accessible from the POS stations, the sales and distribution strategy cannot be streamlined. This was a problem even when the services and products provided by a telecom operator were relatively limited. Now in this consumer-centric market, where POS’s should be more efficient about the services and products they are offering on behalf of the telcos, it’s even more critical that data flow from one end (POS) to the other (headquarters) better, and in real-time.
Another major challenge is reading the market. The POS’s and other sales outlets and channels are also responsible for reading the market demands and understanding what their consumers are expecting from them. And this should be aligned with the sales team’s research on the competitors and mobility trends.
Also, the ROI has become much more complex as telcos have to invest a lot of money and resources to acquire and maintain the tools needed for effective 5G deployment, and its constantly changing technological needs. Whether those investments are paying off on the other end and are the sales and distributions strategies streamlined enough to take full advantage of the operators, have to offer.
The solution is relatively simple. Going to solution providers like 6d Technologies, who have developed full suites of flexible solutions, precisely for such challenges. In this world of outsourcing, large organizations cannot evolve fast enough if they only rely on cultivating resources from within. Now is the time to harness the best talent and solutions available in the market. And that means reaching out to specialists that are agile enough to keep up with market sudden market changes.
The solutions start with a smart point of sales. This means relevant apps that are constantly updated to meet the current market needs, relevant peripherals and gadgets (which in future will mean AR and VR devices and IoT related connectivity modules), and smart management. This is designed to ensure that data and information flow seamlessly through the whole telco chain so that effective decisions can be made based on real-time data.
Another great solution in this regard is field force automation. This ensures real-time capture and delivery of data from the field to the back-end systems. It allows operators superior control over field activity. And getting the field data in real-time also reduces errors and blurred results and ensures better transparency. And by making the supply chain smarter and faster, and fast tracks the decision making and implementation of ideas and plans.
On the other end of this chain, the sales and distribution headquarters, there is Geo Business Visibility. With real-time data coming in and the marvel of artificial intelligence and machine learning, an automated system can keep track and make sense of all the sales data and consumer feedback coming in. Based on the data, telco’s goals and plans, the system can issue recommendations and plans of actions to the field, which will optimize the sales and revenue generation from the field operations.
In the past, the core inventory item for a POS used to be SIM cards. But it’s going to change soon, since 5G dependant IoT devices, and M2M communication are expected to require different SIM cards and connectivity features. This means inventory keeping, and item delivery will get significantly more complicated than what it is now. And since customer value management is, in part, driven by the services they receive from a POS, a better and smart inventory management can do wonders for the sales and distribution numbers of a telecom operator.
But when all is said and done, even with such optimized and intelligent systems, you cannot eliminate the human element from the success of sales and distribution channels. Therefore, 6d Technologies have created a suite for dealer and commission management. Establishing a chain of command and providing point persons from end to end, is a necessity of the business. Automating the whole thing, and establishing better transparency creates a performance-based model and allow distributors to earn fair commissions. The suite is flexible enough to adapt to any sales and distribution structure and can help telcos regulate and motivate their in-field personnel in the right proportions.
Telcom operators have already been transformed into very complicated business entities. Popularity and growth of MVNOs and MVNEs is just one example of how the change is taking place. At this critical moment, when the world is sitting on the edge of the fourth industrial revolution, the telecom operators need to transform. Those who don’t evolve their BSS/OSS, mobile financial services, S&D and don’t embrace the digital transformation fast enough, might lose significant market share, despite their magnitude.