Enabling a global telco to successfully transition from selling transactionally to consultatively
GROWTH CHALLENGES SOLVED WITH BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
How Business Development enabled a Global Telco to successfully transition from selling transactionally to consultatively.
Strategic Business Development was employed at this global Telco provider to accelerate the transition from selling transactionally to consultatively for international multi-million pound deals in new vertical markets and territories.
A Driver for Change
For many years, this international Telco had operated on a country-by-country basis, selling to both national customers and the local subsidiaries of international organisations. However, as the business expanded globally through acquisition, its largest customers wanted to procure and manage their mobile contracts at an international level rather than in isolation. As a result, the creation of a Global Accounts division with a mandate to support multi-national accounts, was a driver for implementing a strategic Business Development function.
The focus for the Enterprise Sales Team was centred on selling voice and data contracts, which had become highly commoditised and although this core business model remained key, it was price driven, increasingly competitive and yielded ever-decreasing margins.
Initially the new Global Accounts division focused on consolidating multiple individual contracts for international customers into larger regional or a single global contract – and around this core, began introducing additional products and services. To differentiate from competitors who were still providing just voice and data, the business expanded its product portfolio through acquisition and partnerships. New offerings around workforce management, CRM, security and machine-to-machine (m2m) created value for clients, provided capabilities that competitors could not match and also generated additional revenue opportunities.
It was recognised early on that this division needed to operate in a different way to the core business and in turn, it required a different style of selling – one that was more consultative and that added value.
Strategic Business Development
The business case for investing in strategic Business Development was strong; the new Global Accounts division was akin to a start-up company with a brief to grow rapidly. However, many of the Global Account Managers were ‘relationship managers’ and did not have the capacity or the required business skills to grow the global accounts at the rate that the business needed. The focus on taking disruptive new offerings into large complex accounts meant that the existing Demand Generation teams were unable to deliver pipeline at this level.
The role of Clarify’s Business Development Team was to allow the Global Account Manager’s to maximise the revenue opportunity from each key account. For some accounts the most immediate opportunities were fairly straightforward – consolidation of more mobile contracts into an existing framework. However, as international customers matured and shifted into a more centralised approach to managing contracts, it limited the options for the Global Account division to create additional revenue purely through consolidation alone.
To counter this, additional offerings such as m2m allowed them to increase mobile traffic (and therefore revenues) by looking at opportunities to connect things (rather than people) to the mobile network. However, as each business operates ‘things’ which are very specific to them, in order to establish what the value would of doing so, the conversation had to shift away from the IT staff who run the mobile contracts towards the owners of the ‘things’ and the business processes that they are connected to and support.
Business Development’s Role
Clarify’s Business Development team supported the growth of the Global Accounts division from over 500 to 1500 accounts. Many of these accounts brought the Business Development team into contact with different buying groups in non-traditional vertical markets.
Conversationally this meant a lot of variety in the discussions and it was important that Business Development team made the product portfolio relevant to each account and each buyer. Often the conversations involve challenging the mindset of the buyer, articulating the message across large and multiple buying centres and engaging at C suite level or with owners of the business issue.
Many of these new accounts were use case driven and because of the variety of potential accounts that mobile data was applicable, the messaging for each account had to be bespoke with an overriding focus on how mobile communications could reduce cost and provides an improved service to customers. To be successful this approach involved developing a far deeper understanding of each account – the business model, key processes, key challenges, ambitions and goals – to ensure that there was a clear value proposition for each key account. Clarify invested a significant amount of time refining these messages for the market.
One of the key reasons why the inside sales team were unable to identify new opportunities was due to capacity. Time analysis demonstrated that Sales had just 10% of their time available for prospecting into net new and whitespace accounts, which was not enough to generate the results that the Clarify Business Development team achieved.
Also by focusing solely on the m2m aspects of the client’s business, Clarify was able to provide a level of market detail and influence to significantly input into the company’s go-to-market strategy.
Clarify’s multinational Business Development team covered the global salesforce from EMEA to APAC and the US and the team generated multiple sales opportunities in the 600 identified accounts, to quote one Sales Director:
“Each Business Development Manager delivered on average €2million of pipeline per month”
The results for this global Telco were significant; Clarify’s strategic Business Development delivered 90% of the Marketing Team’s ROI for just 10% of the budget. Over a seven year period, more than €120million of closed business was generated through the Business Development programme and in excess of $1 billion in pipeline.
Less than a third of sales transformations succeed and McKinsey states that 70 per cent of the failures are because “companies fail to adopt new behaviours quickly and completely”.
The risk of failure becomes even more acute in large enterprises when a company is looking to take a new proposition to market or when they are moving away from selling individual, easily commoditised products to offering complex solutions. The sales capabilities and sales culture that is required for these kinds of initiatives to succeed is fundamentally different to those required for general and transactional business – and it is this exact situation in which this global Telco provider found itself.
During a period of transition a business is still reliant on its core products to generate revenue and protect and maintain existing market share, however Business Development is needed to focus on building volume and coverage for the new products – in this instance the machine-to-machine business acquisitions. The shortterm sales mindset is inherent and unlikely to change, however building pipeline outside this environment with an external Business Development capability has been proven to make a significant difference. Yet analysts CSO Insights report generating enough quality pipeline has been the number one challenge for sales leaders for the last consecutive five years.
Since its inception over a decade ago, Clarify has developed a set of strategic Business Development frameworks and methodologies, which are used in partnership with its global clients to build and balance their pipelines. Clarify increases predictability within the sales process and improves win rates. Each year its team of Business Development professionals builds over half a billion dollars of pipeline for it clients, with average order values over $750k but with the biggest deals in the tens of millions.