Our sales software continues to evolve: PSI’s 2023 product wrap up

PSI's 2023 Product Wrap Up

The needs of sales teams are never static, and the sales software they use has to keep up. Throughout 2023 we’ve been investing heavily in developing the PSI system to deliver more of what regulated industries like telco and energy need.

From launching new products and ensuring field rep safety, to enhancing the PSI system’s connectivity, customer journeys and UX, here’s a wrap up of our biggest product updates from the past twelve months.


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Frank Egan

CTO

“In 2023 we were thrilled to unveil our latest User Interface/User Experience for our Fusion Core and Fusion Pulse applications. This cutting-edge design introduces a sleek and intuitive interface, ensuring a seamless experience for multichannel customer journeys across the platform. We complimented this with improved analytics and dashboards, numerous new features in our Campaigns and Routes module, and much more.

We also introduced the Outcomes API. With it our customers can leverage actionable sales outcome data by integrating PSI into their systems for business intelligence and sales processing. With a user-friendly interface and robust functionality, the Outcomes API transforms the way our customers utilise information, empowering teams to make informed decisions.

In 2024 we’ll be adding to our Campaigns and Routes module and working on a range of dynamic business APIs to complement the existing Outcomes API, opening up the possibilities for data integration, business intelligence, and sales processing.

But that’s not all! Our commitment to seamless user experiences extends to more out-of-the-box integrations that effortlessly connect your workflows. Analytics takes centre stage with enhanced features, providing you with deeper insights into your operations. And we’ll be introducing a brand-new feature: Appointments! No more scheduling headaches as we streamline the appointment and callback processes, ensuring a hassle-free and organised workflow.
This is just the beginning – stay tuned for much more innovation, enhancements, and surprises throughout the year!”


Our sales software continues to evolve...

Pre-designed customer journeys for telcos

One of our most important updates this year has been the launch of PSI’s pre-designed customer journeys – giving our clients a quicker way to get our software ready to launch and into the hands of their sales teams.

We’ve essentially taken all of our learnings from the ISP integrations and customer journeys we have delivered over the last 10 years and identified what comes up time and again in the industry. We then built a market-ready sales solution with those lessons as a backbone.

It means that telcos can now get up and running with PSI quicker than ever, and deploy a telco-specific sales system without investing time and resources in a fully custom build. After implementation, we can continue to evolve the platform with custom integrations, but having a pre-designed solution allows you to get a head start on selling rather than configuring everything from scratch.

A stronger toolkit for rep safety

For telcos and energy companies putting sales reps out into the field, safety has to be one of their highest priorities. This year we launched our new Fusion Guardian product to give sales teams more tools to observe their field reps on their routes and manage their safety.

From real-time GPS alerts for every rep in the field to features like a discreet panic button and tailored response frameworks, Fusion Guardian puts more power in the hands of your field sales reps should they find themselves in trouble, and it also helps your sales teams stay in control from a distance.

Easier and more intuitive UX

At PSI we’re typically focused on the backend of our system, since that’s where its unique capabilities lie. This year though, as well as the backend, we spent time refining PSI’s frontend to ensure your sales reps and back office teams can continue accessing those key features as effortlessly as possible.

All of that means that the PSI system now has a refreshed and modern UX. Our focus has been on making the system easier to use and the user journeys more intuitive – as a result, our clients are spending less time speaking with our training and support teams and more time using those features to sell.

APIs for seamless integrations

Whether you need to hook up your CRM or Power BI, we know how important it is for your sales software to speak with the rest of your tech stack. Because of that, we developed a new outcomes API this year to make integrating with PSI quicker and more seamless than ever before.

With our new outcomes API, telcos and energy companies can extract data from the PSI system and feed it directly into their reporting suites and CRM software. Whatever tools you use, you can access our API and its documentation, so that you can build the unique network of integrations you need.

In the past that kind of connectivity would have needed custom integrations for every implementation. But our API now puts the power back into your hands to integrate data at speed. We can still work with you on a custom integration if that’s what you need, but it’s no longer the default option.

More tools for working outbound sales leads

When so much of telco and utility sales is about nurturing trust and customer relationships, your sales team needs to be able to do more than just capture leads. They also need to be able to effortlessly work those leads as they arrive – which is why we developed a new outbound sales feature this year.

The idea behind this is to give you a shortcut to multichannel sales, and more power to nurture leads. Leads from any channel can get funnelled through new workflows – and from there they can be fed into a Kanban board for someone in your outbound telesales team to arrange a call-back appointment or convert them to a sale or a no-sale.

In a nutshell, it allows you to maximise your chance of success, capture and manage leads, and win more business. All of this with a multichannel customer journey that’s pre-designed for your industry and quick to roll out to your sales teams.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about how PSI can help, or read our guide to PSI’s sales solutions.


Door-to-door sales: why Ireland’s utility companies have the edge in the field

If you look at door-to-door selling in the utilities market, you’ll see a wide variation in success around the world. In the UK, for example, utilities companies are hesitant to put too much into field sales for fear of damaging their brand reputation. In Denmark, doorstep selling is seen as a privacy intrusion and prohibited by law.

But in Ireland, door-to-door is a thriving sales channel for telco and utilities companies. Major players like Vodafone and SSE Airtricity invest considerably in their field sales, and see such a clear return on that investment that door-to-door campaigns are a core pillar of their operations.

The reason why things are different in Ireland isn’t the Irish people are simply more receptive to door-to-door sales reps. It’s that the utilities companies here have seen the issues that have made doorstep selling so contentious in other countries and committed to doing it right – including using sales software designed for regulated industries to ensure their customers and their brand are always protected.

 

Ireland has protection against mistakes and mis-selling

When you’re embarking on a door-to-door campaign, it’s essential to have controls in place for effective territory management. Without those controls, it’s too easy for bad actors in the field to mislead customers or report sales that never happened – not only will your brand reputation take a hit if that happens, but you could also risk fines in the millions, and legislators might even step in to ban door-to-door selling altogether.

While sales rep behaviour plays a huge role in that – and we’ll talk about rep management shortly – there are features your sales software should have to ensure door-to-door selling doesn’t get your brand into trouble.

For example, Ireland’s energy companies are using PSI’s journeys to prevent the wrong products being sold to customers. The products in the journeys are drawn from a set product list and filtered by answers to previous questions, meaning fewer broken sales as customers can’t agree to a product they later find out they’re not eligible for. It’s a guard against both intentional and accidental mis-selling.

We always work with our clients’ assurance teams to make sure the scripting in their journeys is exactly what reps need to be saying to customers, which reduces the risk of reps misrepresenting a product because they don’t have the answers they need. The logic and journey of the system is designed to always take reps on the correct path with a customer, so that they never see questions that shouldn’t come up.

 

Ireland’s energy companies use sales software to manage rep behaviour

As we’ve said, sales rep behaviour is critical to making door-to-door field sales work. When you send reps out to knock on doors, you’re faced with the challenge of managing them while having no direct control over what they’re doing on their routes.

In Ireland that used to be a real problem in the days of commission-only sales reps, when reps were notorious for either misleading customers or filling out forms themselves in order to record sales. When those sales reps are only armed with a clipboard and paper, effective territory management is almost impossible – but with the right sales software, it’s a different story.

At PSI, we learned to make sure everything a rep does while they’re out on their route is geocoded and time-stamped. That means you can immediately see if a rep is logging a new sale at 10:30pm or far from a customer’s address, and the data keeps them honest.

That GPS location data also gives Ireland’s energy companies more assurance in case they do find themselves facing a customer complaint. The PSI system gives companies a clear trail of evidence so that they can know exactly what happened with any given sale, and the information can be retrieved in minutes rather than weeks should a brand need to protect itself.

At PSI, we also made it easier to ensure that reps have received the right field sales training. Ireland’s energy companies can upload training materials directly to a rep’s device so that they always have access to what they need, while the ability to capture and report on rep performance data gives a clear indication of where each member of the team needs to focus their training.

 

Ireland’s energy companies know that perfect onboarding builds customer trust

While ensuring customers are protected from mis-selling is a key part of making your door-to-door sales a success, it’s not the only aspect. Protecting your brand in the field is also a case of building trust with consumers, which includes delivering an efficient, reliable customer experience as much as it does managing rep behaviour.

When the process relies on paper, for example, it’s easy for mistakes to harm your brand reputation even if your sales rep did everything right on the doorstep. Ireland learned early how paper forms could get lost or damaged in the time between completing a sale and returning it to the back office team. And when it did reach the back office, it might have been sitting there for a week waiting for manual processing.

If customers are left waiting too long to hear back about the status of their order – or worse, if their details are lost altogether – it’s easy for them to form the perception that your company isn’t looking out for them.

Ireland’s energy companies eliminated that risk by doing away with the core problem. Once a sale is captured in PSI, it immediately comes off a rep’s device and is sent to be processed. Everything is automated, removing the delay that always comes with manually handling data. It’s also simple for sales teams to upload additional documentation like landlord’s consent, reducing the chance of broken sales.

We’re also continually evolving the PSI platform to give Ireland’s energy companies more tools for building trust with customers. During Covid we integrated remote signatures, allowing reps to send contracts and documentation to a customer’s own device, where they can review and sign at a safe distance. This functionality also gives customers another way to enter their bank details if they don’t want to hand them over at the door.

And in an age where the security of customer data is paramount, PSI makes it easy to comply with regulations like GDPR. Customer bank details are purged as soon as a sale is approved and the system automatically clears all sensitive customer data after three years as standard, and can be configured to purge more regularly if needed. PSI is also designed to take field sales agency partnerships into account, by making sure that agencies can’t see any company and customer data beyond what they need to fulfil their role.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about how PSI can help, or read our guide to PSI’s sales solutions.


How PSI’s sales software raises the game for customer experience

When it comes to improving your customer experience, it’s all too easy for software platforms to promise the world. If marketing were gospel, almost every field sales solution on the market would be a silver bullet, with its one unique feature ready to transform your customer journeys overnight.

But the reality is that customer experience doesn’t work like that. There’s no single box you can tick that will flip your CX to first class. In truth, what makes the biggest difference is multiple marginal gains – which you can only achieve by drilling down to every facet of your customer journey and making improvements across all areas of your organisation.

In the years we’ve been supporting telco and energy provider sales teams, seamless customer experience has regularly been highlighted as part of what sets PSI’s sales solution apart. And how we do that isn’t by promising one golden feature, but by giving sales teams the tools to sharpen up every aspect of their customer journey.

Removing friction from customer sign-ups

When you want to understand what your customer experience really looks like, there are few people better placed to ask than your sales reps. After all, they’re the ones speaking to your current and potential customers every single day, seeing both their frustrations and their delights as they move through the stages of signing a contract.

That’s why it’s always important to us when our clients’ sales reps return positive feedback on both their own experience of using the PSI system, and on the ease it delivers for their customers. The PSI system is designed to remove as much friction as possible from the customer journey, and that in turn creates a slicker sales process from the rep’s perspective as well.

With PSI, customers can get their contract documents and summary emailed directly to them by a field sales rep on their doorstep, and can review and sign their contract on their own device. That gives customers more control and ownership over their contract, but it also means that they aren’t left waiting for someone in the back office team to log their details and chase them up at a later date.

Providing a more efficient sign up process also means there’s less risk of customers falling through the cracks while their details are passed from one team to another.

Rep management that builds brand trust

Customer experience isn’t all about how quick and simple it is to sign a contract. In the telco and energy sectors, trust is a huge component behind customers choosing one provider over another, and the more they trust a company and its sales reps, the better their experience.

And while products, service and pricing all play into building consumer trust, your field sales team also has a significant role to play – and one that PSI’s Territory Management solution can go a long way towards helping them fulfil.

It’s no secret that poor territory management can lead directly to poor brand reputation. Picture this scenario. You send out your field reps on a Monday, and one of them knocks on every door along their route. But when it comes time to record the results of those visits, they don’t bother because the form is too long-winded to fill out.

The following week, another rep knocks on those same doors again because they aren’t aware that the previous visit took place. If those leads said they weren’t interested before, they’re now going to be frustrated at being ignored, and they’re less likely to trust your brand as a result of that customer experience.

Recording customer dispositions is straightforward with PSI, meaning you can get all the information you need about each customer interaction while ensuring potential leads don’t get overworked because of incomplete records. And with rep management tools like GPS location tracking, in-system training and real-time performance metrics, you can be certain that your field reps are giving customers the best first impression of your brand.

A system that keeps selling – even when offline

Sometimes a customer’s experience when speaking with your reps can feel outside of your control. That’s often the case in rural areas or connectivity blind spots. You can put the best rep team possible out in the field, but if nothing will load when they’re trying to showcase deals or complete a sale, their professionalism and ability to deliver a pitch are going to be completely overshadowed.

Offline functionality is a core feature of PSI’s sales software, and contributes to customer experience in a number of ways. For one, it ensures that reps always have all the address and route data they need to execute a campaign.

But when the rep is at the customer’s door, it also means they’re able to show the full range of products and packages available as easily as if they were online. Reps can focus on delivering their pitch without dreading a spinning wheel or a blank loading screen, and customers can see the same deals as others in better connected areas.

And if the customer does choose to sign up, they’re still able to do so even if the rep’s device is offline, meaning they won’t need to wait for a slow mobile connection to catch up – or have to wait to complete the sale at a later date with another rep. The sale will process quickly, and the system will update and complete validations as soon as the rep achieves connectivity again.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about how PSI can help, or read our guide to PSI’s sales solutions.


How our pre-configured sales solutions give customers a head start

When people hear the term “pre-configured”, they might think that’s code for constraints and limitations. They picture an off-the-shelf solution that might meet a need right now but offers little room for customisation – the software equivalent of a microwave ready meal.

Now to be fair, there’s some software out there that fits this bill. It’s stretched thin to serve a too-broad audience, and in an attempt to meet the needs of a thousand dissimilar businesses, it fails to satisfy most of them.

But to think of pre-configured software in these terms does it a huge disservice. At PSI, our goal with a pre-configured solution isn’t to sell to as many companies as possible. Instead we’re only looking to serve the select sectors we work in – telco and energy. And we’re essentially packaging up the systems that are best practice in those industries.

It’s not a limitation, it’s a head start. We can continue to build upon the solution, evolving and further customising the platform to your needs after you’re up and running – and crucially, making sales.

 

So what exactly do you get with a pre-configured sales solution?

The first thing is speed. We’re using a tried-and-tested recipe that’s based on our learning from all the custom implementations we’ve built up until this point – and by using this recipe, we save you a lot of headaches, and you win back a lot of valuable selling time.

While every telco is unique and will have their own requirements that others don’t, there are some things that every telco sales solution needs to have – a set of products, address data, a sales form, customer communications, and so on. It doesn’t make sense to use valuable time and resources building each of those elements from scratch for every project when they already exist.

Rather than starting from a blank slate, a pre-configured solution means you’re able to begin with all the essential elements you need to complete a sale or speed up a delivery. And because it’s already fully wrapped up, it’s a solution that you can go live within a matter of weeks, compared to the many months you’d need to wait for a fully bespoke solution.

And even though it’s pre-configured, that doesn’t mean you get what you’re given. There is still room to add your own branded communications and logos, to tailor things to your product list, and to incorporate any additional questions or adaptations to the customer journey once the core foundation has been laid.

But as well as speed, you’re also getting expertise. PSI’s pre-configured sales solution is built off the back of every one of our previous integrations, strengthened by every learning we’ve gained when things have gone right, and when we’ve had the chance to learn or refine our platform.

It’s also designed specifically for the telco and energy sectors, meaning it’s sophisticated enough to incorporate ever-changing industry-specific regulations and security factors into the sales process, and update quickly to meet new requirements.

 

Don’t let sales platform perfectionism hold you back

With any software product launch, there’s an important balance to strike between achieving a comprehensive solution and a solution that doesn’t take an age to build. There’s no use rushing out a platform that’s lacking the features your sales team needs to do their job – but at the same time, too much perfectionism can stop a product from ever going live.

The advantage of a pre-configured platform is that “complete” and “quick” don’t have to be mutually exclusive – and just because a solution comes configured a certain way on day one, that doesn’t mean it’s the only shape it’s ever going to have.

With PSI’s pre-configured platform, you launch with everything that’s already designed and built, then add on additional features as and when you need them after launch. When you have a day one solution that’s already deployed and working, it’s not a huge project to scale it up and add in multiple channels later.

Even if you had the luxury of resources and time to launch with everything on your features list, sometimes that’s still not the best way forward. You often have to try things out in the field before you know for sure what needs to be added or what isn’t working. Otherwise, you can delay the launch for the sake of custom features that are based on untested assumptions.

For instance, we previously worked on an extensive custom build for a client that wanted to focus on sales rep engagement right from the jump. So they asked for features like a step counter and an integration with Spotify to make routes more interesting, as well as leaderboards and gamification to incentivise sales performance.

But when they launched the platform, those features went largely unused – it turned out the reps cared more about completing sales and getting paid than having fun on their routes.

 

A faster launch is a safer launch

When you’re building a fully bespoke solution from a blank slate, delays have the potential to derail the entire project. The longer it goes on, the greater the risk that you’ll just never go live – the business will move on in the background and targets will change, and the goalposts for your solution keep getting moved as the specification tries to keep up.

Then there’s the human element. If your sales team aren’t fully invested in the project, they’ll start losing confidence in it as delivery drags on. Even if they are invested at the beginning, there’s the possibility that they will also disengage if the solution takes too long, or even move on from their role before seeing it through to completion. Whatever the case, that kind of engagement is difficult to win back once it’s been lost.

One of the easily overlooked benefits of launching with a pre-configured sales solution is that it keeps the momentum of the project high. Rather than everyone getting excited during the planning phase but tiring through the months it takes to piece that vision together, they can have access to the staging system within weeks and start getting to grips with a real, working product.

That can also help with change management. There’s nothing worse than spending months building a complicated system, only to reach UAT and find that someone has new suggestions they haven’t voiced before, or an emotional reaction to the change that derails the launch.

On the other hand, when they can get their hands on a pre-configured solution within weeks, your team can get comfortable with the way the system works – and they can bring up any changes that need to be made well before it reaches user testing.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about how PSI can help.


Choosing sales software: 4 reasons that set PSI apart for telcos and energy providers

For telcos and energy companies, choosing a field sales platform is a big decision. The right solution can optimise a team’s operational efficiency, elevate customer satisfaction and open the way forward for penetrating new territories.

Not all sales software solutions are made equal. While many offer a generic, one-size-fits-all solution, we built the PSI system specifically for ambitious telco and energy companies – to help them meet industry and customer demands, move fast in the face of new opportunities and empower the field agents who represent their brand.

 

1. PSI keeps reps selling – even offline

Any sales solution worth its salt should aim to empower field reps to be their most productive, wherever their routes take them. But most sales software is missing a crucial element that every field rep needs – the ability to keep selling even when they’re offline.

That’s especially the case for telcos. Rural areas are a crucial market for expanding telcos, but the same lack of connectivity that makes those regions an opportunity also keeps field reps from closing sales. If a sales solution can’t operate offline, it brings your reps – and potentially your entire campaign in that area – to a halt.

Offline functionality is a core part of the PSI system. When a rep loses connection, our system immediately switches to an offline mode that keeps the server updated. That means sales reps can keep on logging data and signing up customers without waiting on the doorstep for the system to reconnect.

 

2. PSI supports enhanced customer satisfaction and field rep security

Ensuring reps can always close their deals is vital, but it’s not the limit of what sales software can do. With the right features, it can also elevate the experience of both your sales reps and your customers.

For example, our Document Reader add-on allows reps to take a picture of a customer’s current bill and automatically input their data from that image. Not only does that make reps more productive it also gives customers a smoother experience than they’d have with a competitor using another sales solution.

We’ve also recently launched Fusion Guardian, a tool for ensuring the safety of lone workers while they’re out in the field. With key features like real-time GPS location alerts, a discreet panic button and customisable response frameworks, the PSI system helps sales teams go further in their duty of care.

 

3. PSI is a specialised solution for telcos and energy companies

The success of your sales team is rooted in how well you understand your industry and your customers. That understanding should extend to your sales platform too, to ensure your team is following the industry’s best practices and exceeding expectations for customer experience.

A general sales platform will still do the basics you need it to – input leads and keep an eye on customer journeys. But if you’re trying to penetrate new markets, cultivate long-term customer relationships and reap the competitive benefits of effective territory management, the basics aren’t going to cut it.

The PSI system has been designed specifically with telcos and the energy industry in mind. We know how vital it is for energy companies to monitor customer engagement as part of the sales process, or for telcos to fulfil complex requirements around customer switching, and have built our platform to handle that out of the box.

For example, our Touchstone software lets you easily give customers a grace period to review their documentation and new contract before they sign up. As well as helping telcos and energy companies satisfy the regulations around consumer care, it also ensures customers feel confident about making the right decision – and boosts customer loyalty by building trusting relationships.

 

4. PSI provides effortless scalability

Choosing the right sales solution isn’t a short-term question. While you might be looking to maximise your field sales productivity today, that might not be what you need tomorrow.

Other sales platforms focus on automating tasks and optimising processes – in other words, making your team more efficient at what they already do. But if a solution is limited to a single sales channel, it’s going to hold your team back in the long run – either when you hit the glass ceiling, or when you have to spend time and resources migrating your customer data and sales pipelines to a new, bigger system.

With PSI, we built our system in tiers that are designed to scale. If all you need is territory management, you can get that without paying for more features than you’ll use. But if you want to expand to end-to-end or multichannel sales, it’s a simple case of upgrading to a higher tier. Your data and processes remain in the same place, and your sales team doesn’t have to learn a new system each time you scale.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about how PSI can help.


Fusion Guardian: elevating safety for reps in the field

Being a field sales rep might not sound like a potentially dangerous job at first. But when sales agents are heading out alone into uncertain environments, they need to be sure that their employers are keeping them safe – including by giving them the right tools in case of an emergency.

Our Fusion Guardian software is designed to give exactly that protection. From real-time location alerts to discreet ways to call for assistance, it helps you set up the right measures and procedures to give peace of mind to your reps and sales managers.

 

Protected reps perform better

Whenever a company sends sales agents out into the field, they have a legal obligation to ensure their safety. This includes everything from providing the right training and conducting risk assessments, to maintaining communication and keeping track of their wellbeing.

But there’s more to it than satisfying regulations. Field reps on their routes need to know that there are protections in place should they find themselves in an emergency situation – and that means tangible measures they can take, not just a written procedure to follow.

If your people feel safer while they’re out doing their job, they’re more likely to perform at their best. A more protected field sales team is also often a more diverse one. We know that far fewer women operate in the field compared to men because safety is more of a concern. Having better emergency tools and procedures in place can have a positive impact on how comfortable they feel heading out on routes.

 

Real-time protection, wherever they are

When we made Fusion Guardian, it was built in response to a client’s needs. They wanted to go further in their duty of care towards their field sales reps by offering more real-time measures within their field sales software they could use in case of an emergency.

While your field sales reps are out at work, Fusion Guardian can report back their exact GPS location and instant alerts. That means if they need assistance you can know precisely where they are, not just which route they were walking at the time.

In case of an emergency, Fusion Guardian gives them a discreet panic button so that they don’t have to take any further risks in notifying your team. And with a simple user interface, they can be confident of still calling for help even under pressure.

For the management team receiving alerts, you can also set up the response framework however you need to. The procedures that go on in the background can be tailored, meaning you can specify how notifications get escalated and who is informed at each stage.

 

Safety isn’t optional in the field

It’s easy to assume that knocking on doors isn’t much of a hazardous workplace for field sales agents. But when your reps knock on those doors, they’re entering uncertain environments, meeting with strangers and even going into homes.

When they’re out in the field, they’re in a situation you can’t control. We’ve heard of situations where sales agents have entered a potential customer’s home and not been allowed to leave. And while not every rep will be in that kind of danger, there’s always a chance for things to go wrong when they’re putting their safety in the hands of a stranger.

Ultimately, your people want to feel that they’re protected when they’re on their sales routes. If they know someone has their back in case they need it, they’re less likely to feel isolated and better able to focus on engaging with customers.

Speak to us to learn more about how Fusion Guardian can help safeguard your field sales team.

 


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.

 


Leads +, Sales + or Enterprise: a buyer’s guide to PSI

Leads +, Sales + or Enterprise: a buyer’s guide to PSI

Finding the right platform to support your sales process isn’t always about looking at the price. It’s also about finding sales software that can deliver what you need today, and empower you to get where you’re going next.

Do you need to dig deep into the performance of your field sales teams? See the bigger picture of end-to-end sales journeys? Or do you need to tie multiple sales channels together in one clear place?

PSI's sales software comes in three configurations: Leads +, Sales + and Enterprise. We’ve put together this guide to all three to help you find the package you need.

 

Leads +

You can think of Leads + as our essential field sales tools – a foundational sales territory management platform for overseeing campaigns and rep performance.

At its core, this package is about giving more power to both your field reps and your sales managers. Leads + lets your field sales team work on an unlimited number of addresses and leads, and think more tactically about how you engage with them. With the Opti Route algorithm you can optimise routes for each sales rep, to ensure that each area is maximised without being overworked.

While your agents are out in the field, GPS tracking and real-time rep management tools give an eagle-eyed overview of their performance at all times. And as they report the results from every door, you can follow and collect powerful data insights to hone future campaigns.

The features in Leads + underpin the rest of our packages because we know that field sales is essential for telcos and energy companies. Whether you’re planning to grow to multichannel sales or you’re an incumbent who’s already there, you will always need the ability to manage your sales territory and your field reps.

 

Sales +

Sales + takes the foundation of our territory management toolkit and builds on it with an end-to-end sales package.

The entire sale - from first recording potential customers to closing the deal - is wrapped up in one place. As well as digital contracts and bank validations to complete the sale, that includes document templates, a customer document portal, and email and SMS communications. Engaging with customers at any stage of the process is seamless for both them and your sales team, and all of the communications can be customised with your own branding.

That means there is less manual intervention required to move the process along and no data lags that risk breaking a sale. Your entire team can access all the information they need in one place and as close to real-time as possible – they’ll be able to know the exact status of each sale as soon as the rep leaves the customer’s door.

If you’re trying to grow quickly, Sales + gives you everything you need to tighten up your sales and provisioning process, while letting your internal tech team focus on adding value to the business.

 

Enterprise

If you’re operating on the level of multichannel sales, Enterprise is the package that helps you integrate each channel into one cohesive process.

Enterprise brings all sales journeys together under one roof, no matter where they start or finish. If a customer journey begins with a field sales rep visiting their door but finishes online, that sale is treated as one end-to-end process within the system. There’s no lag as they move between channels, and no risk of customer details being lost or duplicated along the way.

Enterprise also comes with even greater flexibility. With the power to set up custom journeys, workflows and data reporting, you can map out the PSI platform to fit your existing sales workflow and optimise it fully.

If you’re ready to take your sales campaigns to the next level, speak to us to find out more about PSI can help.


Grow, compete, retain: why energy companies need to get ready to sell again soon

Grow, compete, retain: why energy companies need to get ready to sell again soon

Across the UK and Europe, consumers are looking forward to a time when they’ll be able to pay less for their energy usage. And with the wholesale price of gas falling to its lowest in almost two years, that time may soon be here.

For the energy sector, that means a chance to send their sales agents back out into the field and compete for new customers once again. But to take advantage of this opportunity to grow – not to mention to keep hold of their current customer base – their sales teams will need to be well ahead of the curve, and have the right tools and clarity to move intelligently when the time comes.

 

Your customers are waiting for prices to fall

In February the wholesale price of natural gas fell below €50 per megawatt hour. That’s a significant drop from its peak of €320 per megawatt hour in August 2022, and the lowest the energy sector has seen since September 2021.

In response to that, Ofgem in the UK has begun dropping its energy price cap. For the second quarter of 2023 it went down from £4,279 to £3,280, and it’s expected to continue falling to £1,966 by the end of the year.

But while wholesale prices are falling for energy providers, the benefit of that is still yet to trickle down to the consumer. Due to their fixed price contracts, customers are locked into paying the higher prices they’d signed up at.

When their contracts end, those consumers will be looking to switch to whoever can supply them for less – and that opens up a significant opportunity for energy providers who are ready to get out and sell again.

 

The advantage will go to the agile

In 2020, the year before the current energy crisis began, almost 6m customers in the UK alone changed their energy provider. When prices are low and competition is high, there is a large appetite among consumers to capitalise on better deals and more innovative tariffs by shopping around.

If the price of energy falls again in 2023 and the market opens back up, that appetite may well return. Energy usage has been one of the most daunting household expenses for many consumers over the last two years, with some being forced to choose between paying for heating or paying for food. If there is a chance for them to save hundreds on their next bill just by switching providers, they will be open to it.

The first providers to respond to that will be at an advantage, but they will need to be ready to move fast. No one wants to be out on doorsteps trying to sell now because they aren’t going to win new customers while prices are still high. But they still need to be proactive, not reactive, and start planning how they’re going to deploy their next sales campaign ahead of time.

That will mean thinking tactically about where to focus resources, drawing intelligent data insights on where gains can be made, and knowing how to maximise the productivity of your entire sales process. It will also mean asking yourself if you’ve got the right tools to move with that level of speed and precision – and if not, what do you need to get there?

 

Think smarter on customer retention

When it’s time to sell again, one of the biggest challenges for the energy sector will be that a competitive market won’t just mean an opportunity to grow your market share. If everyone else is out on doorsteps offering lower prices, there’s a risk that you could lose as many existing customers as you gain.

If you have the right sales system in place for customer acquisition, it’s easy to turn that same insight and tactical approach towards retention. The PSI system, for instance, can draw on the data you’ve already gathered, so all your current customer information is already at your fingertips – and that gives you a clear advantage over your rivals.

Your sales team will know exactly when your current customers’ contracts are ending and what kind of deal they were on before. That means you can get started on customer engagement before your competitors have had a chance to get their boots on. And with their details already in the PSI system, their retention form can be populated automatically – giving your customers an effortless, positive experience, and your sales reps a better chance to close the deal quickly.

With sales software that gives clarity and insight on the state of your customers, you can think intelligently about how to engage them long before your reps arrive at their door. To learn more, check out our thoughts on effectively returning your sales agents to the field.


One Touch Switch: embracing new telco rules for the good of your customers

One Touch Switch: embracing new telco rules for the good of your customers

This year is one of major change for telcos. From upgrading critical infrastructure to implementing One Touch Switching, there is a wave of new regulations, obligations and security frameworks that UK telecoms providers will need to be ready to embrace.

Navigating those changes can be difficult. But when the new regulations are so focused on protecting consumers and giving them more power to choose the best available deals, there’s an opportunity for telcos to turn legislation into a competitive sales advantage.

 

Safer networks, stronger service

For the UK telecoms sector, there are two major pieces of legislation dominating the horizon in 2023 – the Telecommunications (Security) Act and the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). And while both of them are broad frameworks touching on all areas of the telecoms industry, there are two significant prongs to this new wave of regulation.

The first is aimed at upgrading and modernising telco infrastructure, and promoting investment in that area. But that doesn’t just mean updating a telecoms network’s capabilities – it also means making the infrastructure more robust.

Both the EECC and the Telecommunications (Security) Act have obligations for service providers to strengthen their network against cyber threats and to notify the government of any breaches. The Telecommunications Security Act goes even further, requiring telecom companies to only work with trusted vendors and suppliers who meet stringent security criteria laid out by the UK government.

That focus on network security feeds into the second part of the legislation – to better protect consumers and ensure they get the highest quality of service. The European Electronic Communications Code in particular is designed to give consumers more freedom and power in choosing a telco provider, by encouraging competition and introducing new rules on billing and contract length.

With consumers in the spotlight, meeting these obligations is as much a matter for a telco’s sales and operations teams as for their technical side. But if they’re not equipped with the right tools, they can risk not being able to deliver the kind of customer service that’s required.

 

One Touch Switch

Legislation isn’t all that’s putting consumer empowerment in an ever greater spotlight. There’s also Ofcom’s plans for One Touch Switch, to enable customers to change to a new broadband provider without having to speak to their current provider first. Although the adoption has faced delays and there has been confusion on what exactly is required, this is still something telecom companies will have to bring into their sales process soon.

In a nutshell, One Touch Switch is about making it easier for consumers to change their broadband supplier. But it’s not just about creating less admin in the switching process – it’s also about giving people more options to choose from in the first place.

Every telco provider has an obligation to match their broadband service to what else is on offer, in terms of speed, pricing and contract length. The idea is that sales reps can show consumers that they’re offering the best package out there – not just on price but on the quality of the service too – and that customers can make an informed choice on whether to stay or switch.

Ultimately, it’s about extending more freedom of choice to broadband customers. And while that’s being driven from a regulatory perspective, internet service providers who embrace that into their sales process can make it a core part of their brand.

For example, our Touchstone sales platform makes it easy to give customers a grace period to review their offer before signing the contract. That extra time can help them to a) be more confident in their decision, and b) trust that a sales pitch isn’t pressuring them to switch.

 

Look after your brand by looking after your customers

While navigating new restrictions and regulations can be a challenge, it also presents an opportunity for telecoms operators to build their brand. When so much of telco sales depends on trust, doubling down on looking after consumers doesn’t just satisfy legislation – it also builds a competitive advantage.

For example, take the pre-documentation that has to be sent during a sale. Once your sales rep has agreed a sale with a customer, they need to send all of that over before any contract is signed. With PSI Fusion they can do that instantly, and send it directly to the customer’s device. They can still have a grace period to review the documents, but that isn’t prolonged any further than it has to be.

The sooner those documents arrive, the better the experience for the customer. They can focus on going over the offer in their own time rather than wondering when everything will arrive. Most importantly, they’ll feel reassured that you’re honouring your obligations to look after consumers and deliver the best possible service.

With such a unique framework of regulations governing the telco world, your sales solution needs to be one that takes that into account. A general sales tool might do everything necessary for another industry or jurisdiction, but it won’t be set up for the nuances of meeting telco legislation and providing customers with the frictionless experience they’re looking for.

To learn more, check out our thoughts on boosting your customer experience with territory management or take a look at our End-to-End Sales or Multichannel Sales solutions.