We live in an increasingly borderless world, where workers can access communications and apps via the cloud on their mobile devices, anywhere. Meanwhile, billions of new devices are coming online as the internet of things (IoT), and machine-to-machine (M2M) ecosystems continue to grow. And all of this is enabled by better-than-ever mobile broadband connections. Partners have a key opportunity amidst all of these changes, to become a single point of contact for both wireline needs and mobility.
There’s an initial opportunity in the sourcing and procurement of wireless plans, along with the handsets, tablets/iPads, M2M, IoT and accessories that make use of them. But while those may get your foot in the door, the real opportunity lies elsewhere, in add-on services.
Presenting suites of applications to support business-critical needs is crucial for the relationship with your customer. Some of these are straightforward, such as unified communications apps, while others can be extremely tailored and broken down by vertical.
For instance, police and security personnel with body camera solutions need connectivity and situational awareness analytics. In construction, automated time-management and GPS-enabled labor tracking, job costing and documentation apps using telemetry devices is popular. And in retail, mobile apps that replace legacy barcode scanners can be game changers.
Another immediate opportunity lies in mobility management. With the rise of IoT, smart devices and enterprise cloud apps, the need for a centralized, user-friendly way to manage the mobile footprint across devices and geography has become acute. Mobile device management (MDM), and the management of users and inventory, can take a major headache off your customer.
Companies with telematics for instance (i.e., fleet tracking) are often in a good deal of pain with mobility. They may not understand the bills, or how to offload traffic to Wi-Fi. Present with a message of cost savings and telecom expense management (TEM) can usually provide, at minimum, a 20 percent savings. And this is also a good opportunity to offer TEM for the wireline side as well.
In another scenario, companies often struggle with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, where employees use personal devices for work, and vice versa. MDM allows companies to impose security features, like the ability to have a separate business profile on a device that can be remotely wiped.
Of course, it’s one thing to talk about market trends and learn about wireless options. It’s another thing to make the pivot to becoming a truly effective mobility consultant.
To uncover the right opportunities, consultants need to know what questions to ask. It’s important for anyone wanting to build a mobility focus to familiarize themselves with main use cases for strategic sales in M2M and IoT, and to make an effort to understand exactly what their customers are looking for.
Are they just looking for a mobile plan or do they need hotspots too? Do they need back-up circuits? Will the wireless network be used mainly to collaborate internally? What kind of devices will connect? The goal is to be armed with enough knowledge about your customer’s specific needs to make smart recommendations.
Above all, go in and be strategic and really uncover what’s keeping customers up at night, and what their strategies are for not just this year but also next year. For now, it could be that they’re concerned that their employees are spending too much time reviewing invoicing. But next year, they could be looking to expand their wireless strategy to IoT.
It’s also important to remember that you’re not just going to be talking with an IT director—you’ll also have to satisfy marketing, compliance officers (including discussing HIPAA in healthcare and credit-card authentication factors for point of sale), and the CTO/CIO for strategic technology conversations. Your knowledge should be high and wide.
If all of this sounds daunting, don’t worry: At Telarus, we work side-by-side with our partners. We are an extra set of eyes and can be a partner’s support team when it comes to everything from helping customers set up voicemail or navigate their online customer portal, to first-invoice reviews and helpdesk questions. There is real value in taking the pain out of doing business with the wireless provider. We also have a host of mobility certification programs to help with the learning curve, and our team is highly skilled in providing hybrid solutions for wireline and wireless joint sales. Mobility is a wide-open opportunity—and we’re here to help you make the most of it.