Transforming the sales force at a national telecommunications leader
Our client and their needs
The client is the telecommunications provider with the biggest market share, owned by the industry global leader. It employs 700 people, with a sales department focused on two segments: B2C, realised through shops and online sales, and B2B, which consists of Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Key Account Management (KAM) sales teams.
The business landscape for telco providers is changing. Core connectivity business is decelerating, and ICT is the area where new development should concentrate. Trends like digitalisation, simplification, the need of access anywhere at any time, and the Internet of Things and Internet of Everything put telecom operators in a unique position given their proximity to the core connectivity business that enables these trends. Entering ICT battleground gives rise to new competition for traditional telcos – IT companies, which are much faster and more flexible in picking the right market approach.
As the performance of telco sales forces is commonly measured by the number of transactions, rather than revenues and churn, their approach to clients is often based on the acquisition of new customers or on overselling standard products to existing customers, rather than on the development of new or complex offerings. Therefore, sales force transformation becomes the most important part of the telcos’ ICT business development strategy: making the sales force capable of selling solutions instead of basic services would be one of the key success differentiators.
Our design and delivery
Switching from traditional sales to selling solutions requires adjusting the way in which sales staff approach customers and where they concentrate their focus. Existing telco services are simple and very often accepted by users as a commodity, with one or two decision makers. Selling is based on technical characteristics, and price and availability are two most crucial factors in making the final decision . In terms of ICT services, the landscape is changing: products and services are more complex, the sales process includes many meetings and presentations with more decision makers, sellers are perceived as business advisors and return on investment becomes a key factor in the final decision.
To support the sales force transformation process, gustavkaeser Serbia created a two-year development programme with a focus on
- individual sales and sales management competencies (first part), and
- solution sales approach (second part)
The first phase was implemented through two training sessions: a six-day sales effectiveness training for each group (SME and KAM) and another six-day management excellence training for group managers. The courses enabled participants to strengthen their basic communication skills applied to their areas of responsibilities. The second part started with the assessment of the current sales process and decisions on how it should be improved. The trainer participated in the process of developing a sales framework to address the changed market reality – selling new, complex services. After receiving final approval for the framework, two sales champs were chosen to ensure its successful implementation in both segments.
The second phase focused on how to apply the skills and learning from the first phase in the improved sales framework. A total of 12 training days over the period of 10 months were used to work on complex sales skills and the participants’ ability to influence several decision-makers within one company.
Our results and their impact
For the past two years, gustavkaeser Serbia and the client have collaborated on developing a sales force capable of confronting the new market reality. The client is now in the implementation phase of the sales framework, supported by a good foundation based on the skills developed through the multi-day training programmes. With individual sales staff empowered to drive more complex sales, the client is in a position to be able to address current challenges whilst maintaining its profit margin at the expected level.