The beginning of 2020 feels like another world. Back then, NTT DATA had already identified business-to-business (B2B) digital services as a key target for Telcos looking to expand their businesses and generate fresh profits. B2B has been a challenging environment in recent years, with agile over-the-top players encroaching on traditional revenues. But with 5G coming on stream and the Internet of Things maturing, pre-pandemic 2020 clearly presented an opportunity for Telcos to fight back.
Just a few weeks later, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has turned many aspects of life upside down, including the ways in which organisations do business. However, the need to adapt and work in new ways is accelerating the transition to digital. If anything, the pressure on Telcos to meet the changing demands of business customers with innovative services has only increased.
We have already come a long way since Telco efforts in B2B were focused on growing market share in a handful of key services, such as voice. Instead, sales organisations must now focus on developing and growing a wide range of profitable new services. Telcos recognise the challenge, and NTT DATA has identified four areas that many of them have yet to optimise as they are looking to turn new, digital B2B product ideas into a commercial reality.
First is the go-to-market (GTM) strategy. It is the starting point for any new product development, and successful Telcos will develop proposals guided by a thorough analysis of the potential market. NTT DATA recommends adopting an agile approach to minimise initial development costs and reduce the time to market. Adopting standard tools and templates will also help Telcos to build a GTM process that ensures that they consistently invest in the most promising propositions.
It’s vital to define the operating model for new services early to identify potential bottlenecks in the subsequent scaling up. What’s more it is also important to monitor how customers will experience the new service so that possible improvements can be incorporated during development.
The next focus area is product development, where Telcos often struggle to turn good ideas into commercial offers. Developing products based around a set of clearly defined components promotes efficient, well-controlled design, large chunks of which can then be re-used to build subsequent products without reinventing the wheel.
NTT DATA also recommends looking beyond developing individual products to consider how they fit into the wider portfolio. The overarching product family should work together to provide proper segmentation and cover all the business cases that B2B customers are looking for. Similarly, look to work with the right partners. A solid partner ecosystem will deliver maximum value for customers, as well as for Telcos and their partners.
Third up is sales, which is all about delivering results as the competitive pressure ramps up. Telcos look to match sector specialists within their sales team to targeted growth opportunities. Allocating sales resources effectively calls for active sales management that takes into account productivity, sales territories, geographic coverage, product coverage and customer location. It also encompasses all sales channels – retail, indirect, telesales and direct. NTT DATA believes that this complexity makes it important to actively profile the sales organisation to match changing demand.
Finally, business customers value service excellence, so Telcos should define the service offer, its operation and management early during the GTM process. Processes should analyse, segment and recommend actions to sales or service representatives that can maximise upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
NTT DATA recognises that the needs of businesses are wide-ranging. A sole trader working from home wants solutions from Telcos that are totally different from what a major enterprise needs, for example. This B2B market segmentation calls for focused propositions and sales approaches to be built on top of the common set of resources in the four areas already outlined.
NTT DATA is well placed to help Telcos accelerate the development of digital B2B processes and capabilities, complete with an established practice that focuses on optimising the approaches of tier 1 Telcos to developing, selling, and managing digital B2B products and services.
For more information about how NTT DATA can help, download the recent white paper, Accelerating digital: how Telcos can win the digital B2B race.