November 5, 2019

How Cable MSOs Can Grow Their B2B Revenue

An automated lead-to-cash strategy will eliminate the complexity of the sales assurance process.

The lead-to-order process is an element of the business support lifecycle that seldom makes headlines, but with the increasing focus on B2B markets, it is a hotspot of interest for cable MSOs that still manage their lead-to-order process manually. The partner system to Configure Price Quote (CPQ) is a centralized product and service catalog, which has undergone a conceptual update in recent years under the pressure of digital transformation. The combination of the CPQ and catalog is now transforming the sales process and empowering the omnichannel concepts at work in digital storefronts and customer care.

Digital product and targeted service bundles bring the next level of complexity

Dynamic pricing, contextual pricing, omnichannel sales, dynamic bundling, multifaceted SLAs and regional regulatory context make up the evolving business service portfolio. The lead-to-order process is a complex business for cable MSOs looking to offer bundled services, and while there are many CPQ type software products on the market, cable-specific ones are few and far between. In the past, automating the B2B sales process was a ‘nice to have’ function, but that has changed due to competitive pressures.

In 2019, order fallout is still an issue for many, stemming from weak interoperability between BSS systems, poor data quality and legacy processes falling apart under the complexity of digital service bundles. Some providers are still losing around 5% of orders from their automated processes, which then have to be manually chased, adding to OpEx costs. Let’s take a look at five aspects of automating the lead-to-cash process and how cable providers can benefit from reducing this potential fallout.

Centralize critical data and access – A centralized product and service catalog can provide a ‘single source of truth’ for all ordering functions, from campaign management and lead management, right through to completing orders and triggering the service fulfilment process. This source of truth should be consistent across all lines of business and territories and should incorporate cable sourced and partner sourced services.

Automate document production – Producing proposals, quotes and contracts in a manual process is error prone and time consuming and tends to happen in silos. CPQ can automatically generate these documents and add them to the workflows, which send them to where they need to be for authorization.

Guided selling native to the system – Enabling a B2B sales team to be able to offer the most compelling service bundles with the highest margin benefits for the cable MSO should be endemic to the CPQ UI. It should be able to dynamically guide the sales staff through the optimum bundle type based on customer profile and do so in the minimum amount of stages. Net Promoter Score ratings often suffer terribly when the sales process seems unnecessarily lengthy.

A feedback loop optimizes the system – Data for both successful and unsuccessful sales instances is essential to fine tune the nature of the service bundles and offers. It is also critical to optimizing the sales process itself. Increasingly vendors have big data analytics or even AI-powered analytics built into the CPQ software to better inform the sales activities of the CSP going forward.

Automated quotes and price negotiation – Quoting from an automated CPQ system allows salespeople to create a baseline set of figures, to see exactly how much margin can be sacrificed to close a deal. Essentially, the CPQ can provide much needed background flavor to a certain price on a complex B2B product and service bundle and advise on the negotiation strategy. Closing B2B deals of this sort may depend on what discounts or value-adds can be offered at this point, so having a full description of the various options is critical sales support.

 

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