5 industry trends affecting telcos and their sales outcomes

When the telco industry is constantly evolving, so too is the way that telco sales teams approach launching campaigns, engaging new customers and maximising their resources.

Whether it’s finding new ways to strengthen a sales team or thinking tactically about how to enter new territories, the telcos that find the most success will be the ones that are agile enough to roll with the changing landscape.


There’s a talent shortage causing brain drain

One of the biggest factors in how telco sales teams are changing is the problem of talent shortage.

Recruitment has taken a big hit as a result of the pandemic and the following economic uncertainty, with fewer people willing to risk their job security by seeking new opportunities. Fewer candidates on the job market makes the talent you do have that much more valuable – and when someone does leave, telcos are having to find new ways to soften the blow of brain drain.

If bolstering your sales resources has become harder recently, you’ll have to focus on capitalising on the channels that are available to you. Sometimes that means being more open to building remote or hybrid sales teams, so that you can access the best talent wherever you’re located.

But it can also mean rethinking what you look for in new hires. Some telcos are taking in younger candidates, who might not have the usual level of experience or proven knowledge but have the right attitude to build competency for the long term. With the right training and systems in place, the right team can be in place too.


Sustainability issues are at the frontier of connectivity

The last few years have seen some major leaps forward in what ISPs can offer customers, such as 5G and gigabit broadband. And with those advances comes a push to extend connectivity into the hardest to reach rural areas.

A lot of the fibre in rural areas is still being run on poles rather than in the ground. That leaves networks highly susceptible to storms and damage, an issue that might only become more pressing as the climate crisis and more unpredictable weather takes effect. As a result operators and legislators are putting significant investment into digging and laying new, more resilient cables in the ground.

As those networks expand into more and more territories, they won’t just bring more reliable connectivity for consumers – they will also create more opportunities for ISPs to sell and expand. But taking advantage of that will require more than sending out reps to talk about download speeds.

Building trust in your brand will be crucial in winning those customers. If their area has been underserved by slow or patchy broadband in the past, they might not take to a new provider as quickly as expected. Before they consider signing a contract, they first need to believe the promises being made to them.


There’s a gap between FTTP rollout and uptake in UK and Germany

Germany is aiming to bring FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) to half their population by 2025. And on first glance, the nation seems to be doing well. After all, Germany has the highest growth rate in Europe. However, they’re also starting from the smallest initial base.

70% of the FTTP rollout is being championed by alt-net providers, but their efforts are limited due to a lack of open access. They’re also facing a consumer base that is confused as to what benefits Fibre can offer over Germany’s robust and historically successful copper infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 42% of the population have access to full fibre but only 25% have taken it up. Here the gap has some stark causes, such as lack of education around Fibre. In 2022, when internet service provider Zen surveyed the same population, they found that 32% of UK adults couldn’t define what full fibre broadband is.

In order to meet gigabit targets, telcos need to meet the education gap, and customers will only believe what telcos say if they can prove they are trustworthy.


The customer journey now starts earlier 

 When trust plays such a major role in telco sales, it changes the way providers think about presales. The customer journey starts long before you approach them about signing a contract. That’s true for any telco, but especially for challenger ISPs who need to build up brand and product awareness in an area before they send their sales reps in.  

For the results to be meaningful, this needs to be treated as part of a sales campaign. It’s often not, because it’s not directly linked to completing deals with new customers. Agents could go out and thoroughly canvas an area, but they’re only given a clipboard to record basic details – and at the end of the day, none of that information is fed into a sales system database. 

If that information is lost between campaigns, your sales team will be going in blind when they set out to sign people up in that area. They won’t know who’s interested in a new service or provider and who isn’t. With that comes a risk of overlooking potential customers who would have been easier to win, or overworking people who aren’t looking to change their current deal. 


One touch switch and other incoming regulation

The Telecommunications (Security) Act and the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) dominate the regulatory landscape for telcos and their sales teams, but the Gigabit Infrastructure Act is in debate in Europe and Ofcom’s incoming One Touch Switch is on the horizon in the UK. The latter will make it easier for consumers to change their broadband supplier, but it will also require telecom sales teams to match their broadband service to other providers’ deals – their speed, pricing and contract length

Telcos that embrace this and go further, building on the ethos behind One Touch Switch and other customer choice-centred regulation will become the telcos that customers trust. And since that’s a key ingredient in overcoming many of the telecom industry’s current challenges, from FTTP rollout to funding new rural infrastructure, it’s going to be a determinant of which brands come out on top.

To learn more, check out our thoughts on how telcos can launch tactical, effective field sales campaigns.