In the telecom industry, online portals are becoming a valuable marketing tactic and revenue driver.
Telecommunications agents and resellers rely on carriers to provide the information necessary to win business. It’s a simple relationship in a competitive industry. By creating online agent portals, carriers can simultaneously better serve agents/resellers AND streamline their processes. The progression to online channel portals is differentiating carriers in the eyes of resellers for several reasons. For one, they’re a faster and more efficient way of communicating with resellers. They also simplify the process of doing business with carriers – quick quotes, up-to-date marketing material, and results tracking, to name a few.
Business Agility, always a must
Business agility is necessary to compete with the current changes in the telecom industry. Implementing portals can seem like a big undertaking, but as more carriers provide this service, the naysayers will be left in the dust. In fact, one Sales Manager I spoke with is adamant about carriers implementing these portals. It sounds like carriers and agents/resellers alike can benefit from a pinch of cloud computing magic; we’ve put together five easy steps for taking on these projects…
1. Streamline marketing communications
The first step towards realizing the power of online portals is using them to disseminate information efficiently. The fastest and most global of communicative systems makes this process as easy as clicking a mouse. Sales in the telecommunications industry are driven by intensive campaigns for which supporting marketing materials and product/services catalogs need to be readily available. There is no better way to provide this information to agents and resellers than via an online portal.
2. Provide online availability checks
Manually checking service availability for clients is inefficient and costly for resellers. Automating these processes frees up sales and marketing teams, in telecom organizations, so they can focus on more important activities like acquiring new business. Both agents/resellers and carrier’s account managers can do their jobs better when this information is provided over the internet. Notice how steps one and two focus on channeling information efficiently.
3. Empower agents with accurate quoting and submission
What’s more important than providing a potential client with an accurate quote? Enabling agents and resellers with 24/7 online quoting and order submission is a huge time saver for both parties involved in a telecom transaction. Rather than having to call a channel manager, telecommunications agents and resellers can compute their quotes. Can your channel managers update their service and product price list?
4. Increase partner and client satisfaction with self service
We know that resellers, business development managers, and channel managers want to focus on driving revenue by acquiring more telecommunications customers. The trick is that acquisition of new business needs to be balanced with existing client satisfaction. The service method is the best way of going about providing support to these stakeholders. Think: dinner buffet.
5. Give real incentives to resellers
Commission and bill processing is an enormously difficult task for telecommunication organizations – it also provides an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the telecommunications market. Telecom portals can be automated and customized for recurring commission structures based on the type of partner and product/services being sold. Commission management and execution is a key business driver in the industry. Optimizing the partner sales channel should be a high priority for the organization, right?
Hopefully these five steps make the seemingly overwhelming task of implementing an online portal a bit more feasible. Here at Mendix, these portals are a common request and the average application usually takes around two months to finalize. In the end, the sooner a carrier adopts these strategies the more business they will win – application development is not the headache it used to be.