Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Lifting restrictions

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Jul-2021 12:18:32

As COVID restrictions were lifted, how has this affected your business? How do your employees feel about returning to the office? What is your plan to build both customer and employee confidence living with the virus going forwards? How are you planning to manage the risk of a COVID outbreak in the office and the impact it may have on the efficient running of your business?

During lockdown, we got used to a different way of working. We were forced to isolate and adapt to a new way of working. In the channel, we already had the technology and a work-from-anywhere ethos, but as many companies prepare to return to the office, the Jola team are making flexible working part of their benefits package.

Like many channel companies, we found the transition to working remotely an easy one. We were still able to answer 90% of calls within 20 seconds and reply to tickets within one working day. Productivity went through the roof in our sales team, who were able to book back-to-back meetings online without the need to plan in travel time. Partners were happy to be trained online, and the company benefitted from a reduction in expenses.

As the restrictions ease, it makes sense for some teams to return to the office to train and coach new starters and for others to keep working from home to develop new products without interruption. For the Jola team, it makes sense to offer flexible working to ensure a safe and productive workforce to support our future growth. 

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Topics: Business

Reliable 4G failover for ISPs

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Jul-2021 11:13:55

Many ISPs delivering ICT services across private, secure and superfast networks have experienced high growth in recent months. Their commitment to innovation is one of their greatest strengths as well as their breadth and depth of managing networks, cyber security and IT services.  Excellent customer service is at the heart of everything they do, so resilience is high up the priority list.

ISPs are looking for a partner that can deliver secure, resilient and network-agnostic solutions for 4G connectivity as well as IoT. They are searching for partners who can deliver the same level of technical excellence their own customers expect with the knowledge to integrate directly into their core network whilst providing full control and visibility over SIMs and their usage in the field.

ISPs need global coverage, and by partnering with Jola, ISPs gain access to all four UK networks and over 330 networks across the globe. ISPs can cross-connect at layer 2 directly into the Jola platform. They can also provide their customers a carrier-grade 4G solution using fixed IP and private APN over a resilient connection, strengthening end users’ WAN infrastructure.

By using unsteered SIMs, ISPs have access to Vodafone, O2, EE and Three networks in the UK; AT&T in the USA and hundreds of networks globally. Global estates are controlled with a touch of a button in our automated white-label portal, Mobile Manager.

Mobile L2TP gives ISPs full control over routing and IP addressing, facilitating the creation of fixed-line failover, pre-Ethernet and standalone Internet access services.

Our solution is inexpensive, reliable and straightforward to set up. With unsteered multinetwork SIMs, ISPs are not tied to any particular network and no longer need to do a site survey to determine the best signal – globally.

ISPs have built their services for decades by consuming L2TP connections from wholesale suppliers. Jola delivers mobile broadband via L2TP. We have designed the service to be easily consumed by any ISP with the infrastructure in place to terminate L2TP wholesale broadband.

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Topics: Mobile L2TP

The best time to send an e-mail

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Jul-2021 10:10:49

When do most people check their e-mail? First thing after meetings and before they finish for the day. In my experience, e-mails sent around 11:00 a.m. midweek have the best open rates, as my target audience has cleared their spam, started their day and is ready to consider something new.

Promotional e-mails sent at lunchtime can work well, as people may take the time to complete a short survey whilst eating their lunch if the incentive is strong enough and the questions few and easy to answer.

Looking at unsubscribe rates, if you get your audience and your messaging right, this rate should be low and is typically lower still at the start of the week. At the end of the week, with people fighting e-mails to get done for the day, you might find an increase in unsubscribe rates, especially if you have misjudged your frequency of e-mails, audience and content.

Hints and tips

Personalised e-mails tend to have higher engagement rates if you get the right content to the right person at the right time. Not just ‘Dear [name]’ but really personalised content by job title, industry or key challenge.

Measurements

Key measures for success in e-mail marketing are delivery rates, open rates, clickthrough rates and responses. Typically 98% delivery rates and 20%–50% open rates are considered good, and clickthrough rates and responses can vary dramatically in the holiday months.

Social media

Messages sent via platforms such as LinkedIn have their own rules and best practices. Much of our target audience check LinkedIn during their free time, so sending messages between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. has worked well for us. Be mindful of the time and day of the week, as you may be happy working Sunday afternoons but your target audience may not be.

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Topics: marketing

Getting your go-to-market strategy right

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Jul-2021 14:14:40

In a crowded marketplace, building a great product is not enough to guarantee growth; you also need to invest in an effective go-to-market strategy.

Marketing is a diverse function composed of different processes and skillsets. Many marketing teams manage strategy, positioning, messaging, branding, advertising, online and social presence, as well as demand and lead generation. An effective go-to-market strategy takes advantage of all in-house skills and complements the skills of the sales team.

When launching a new product, you need to get yourself in front of your buyers and be disruptive. How can you find more buyers than your competition faster than they can, and how can you convert them more effectively?

1 – Know your market

What does your target customer look like in terms of turnover, description and product set? How many target prospects are out there? Who is also targeting this audience? What are the common challenges that your solution uniquely resolves? How have you disrupted this market?

2 – Create compelling content

What would make your prospects engage with your content? How can you influence your decision-makers? How do you get to understand the challenges faced by your prospects and their buying process? 

3 – Hot-button entry points

In what scenario would your prospect need a supplier like you? What process would they undergo to find you? How can you ensure you are part of this process? The more you can understand the buying habits of your prospects, the influencers and blockers within the account, the more successful you will be at identifying hot-button entry points.

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Topics: marketing

What are the top three challenges facing marketing teams?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Jul-2021 13:58:45

Generating high-quality leads in great volume

Business owners and sales managers in the channel tell me that their biggest challenge right now is generating new business. To do this effectively, they need a constant flow of high-quality leads they can convert. In-house marketing teams have found lead generation tough during the pandemic, as so much has changed. As some markets have closed down completely, new opportunities have opened up elsewhere. Similarly, some traditional lead generation channels were cancelled and postponed, and new ways of engaging prospects emerged.

Successful lead generation comes from effective strategies, which are consistently delivered, measured and improved. Marketing is not something you can dip in and out of or continually change to deliver the next new idea. Rather, it is a constant flow of the right messaging to the right people at the right time, with a strong call to action that is swiftly followed up.

Delivering effective account-based marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is about sales and marketing collaborating to identify and convert key prospects into key accounts. A lot is being written about the subject, but in practice, much of what is being delivered is trial and error. One of the key challenges is activity. It takes a long time to cultivate online relationships, with a lot of engaging material and conversations at multiple layers of an organisation; it also needs a catalyst, an immediate need, which only you can deliver to tip the scales in your favour.

ABM lead generation comes from an effective multilayered strategy, engaging content and influencing the right people in their time of need. It needs to come from a desire to really understand a prospect from every department’s perspective, obtaining a deep understanding of how they operate, how they buy, their key challenges and who you would need to influence to become part of their new supplier onboarding process. It takes time and a lot of effort to get to know the right people and processes. There is not a lot of software available to help you manage and monitor this, making the job extremely manual and in some cases very disjointed.

Securing enough budget

Without a dedicated department head fighting for budget annually with a strong plan, KPIs and ROI predictions, securing a marketing budget can be difficult. Many companies have no dedicated marketing budget, and as opportunities for marketing come up, they are considered on merit. It is challenging to plan a strategy for a constant flow of high-quality leads without a plan and associated budget.

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Topics: marketing

Manageable mobile data for retailers

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 30-Jun-2021 14:29:29

Retailers want fast, reliable, cost-effective internet connectivity in stores for EPOS till systems, kiosks, advertising screens, WiFi etc. They often use 4G as a back-up to a fixed line primary circuit, to ensure business continuity. Retailers are not always sure which network is best in each location, when the 4G back-up will be needed and how much data they will use. Sending engineers to site to establish the strongest signal costs time and money. In addition, they regularly receive high data overage bills, which can be tens of thousands of pounds a month. When a service fails, they often won’t know if it’s the network or the device and are forced to send an engineer to site.

Managed Service Providers are experienced at designing, rolling out and managing solutions however have struggled with the 4G element, managing multiple in-country suppliers, with multiple manual ordering processes and a lack of visibility across the SIM estate. They have had no direct control over SIM assets and no way to aggregate data usage across countries. They want full control over every element of the roll out.

Jola offers a wide range of multi-network roaming SIMs, with aggregated pools, offering multiple terabytes of data across thousands of sites globally. Our multi-network SIMs are un-steered, connect to the strongest available signal and retain connectivity when multiple carrier networks fail.

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of mobile data SIMs. Our white label portal communicates in real-time with multiple 4G networks and can be used by both MSPs and their retailers. Mobile Manager handles SIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: 4G, Multi-network SIMs

Using webinars as part of your lead generation strategy

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 30-Jun-2021 14:17:40

Webinars are a great way to deliver key messages to a large group of prospects in one meeting. In the current climate, webinars are popular, as many of us are still working from home. Done well, webinars can help you generate leads, but how do you ensure success?

Plan engaging content

Sales pitches and product demonstrations appeal to a much smaller audience than you might think. To appeal to a wider target audience, you need to plan engaging content. What keeps your prospects up at night? What would they give up an hour of their working day to learn? Information that is expensive to buy or gather by oneself may be of interest to business owners looking for information to back up potential growth strategies. Listening to the personal testimonies of those who have already gone down this road, made the mistakes and come out the other side, may also be of interest.

Target your audience

To get the right people to attend your webinar, you need to think about how you are going to invite them. Planning a month in advance is advisable. Weekly e-mails, social posts, adverts, videos, and PR can all help promote your event and keep track of who has and has not yet registered. If there are key people you want to attend, it may also be worth giving them a call to see if they have seen the e-mail, especially if they already have a relationship with you and will take your call!

Use the right software

It probably goes without saying that you need a good Internet connection and quiet conditions for a webinar, so it may be worth running the webinar from a meeting room in the office, especially if you choose to switch on your video. Using the right software is key. There are plenty of options available to suit most budgets. I would go for one with the ability to see audience engagement, run poll questions and record and post to social sites for additional reach.

Follow up

After a successful webinar, it is important to follow up. Start with those who have asked questions, ensuring they were satisfied with the answers given, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. After Jola webinars, we send a survey to every delegate so they can rate our performance and suggest improvements for the next one. Check out the delegates who have registered and couldn’t attend. It may be worth sending them the recording and following up to see if they have any additional questions. Measuring the quality of the software, quality of the content, satisfaction of the delegates as well as their engagement gives you a good idea of how you have done. Tracking delegates followed up into the sales pipeline will tell you how successful the webinar was in terms of lead generation, and running a return on investment (RoI) calculation will let you know if it was money and time well spent.

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Topics: marketing

High demand for M2M and IoT SIMs

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 23-Jun-2021 13:09:54

Demand for Machine to Machine (M2M) and (IoT) SIMs is growing, as well as multi-network and Low Power SIMs (LP-WAN). Channel partners are building a pipeline of big deals in key vertical markets, generating high-margin recurring revenue from 4G data.

Transport

There are many experienced providers offering end-to-end solutions to the transport industry, involving 4G routers and cameras. Trams, buses and trains are tracked, and arrival times accurately estimated and advertised, factoring in potential delays. These devices need 4G data SIMs, often with a fixed IP or delivered via a secure Private APN. On average there are seven SIMs per bus, for logging into the cameras to download relevant footage, Wi-Fi, secure card payments, passenger trackers, applications tracking hours worked, engine telemetry and miles travelled.

Utilities

Businesses are managing their energy flows through smart energy grids and smart meters, allowing for more accurate bills. There is a focus on improving energy efficiency and resolving outages more effectively, with remote site monitoring. These devices often require LP-WAN SIMs for longevity and don’t use much data.

Health

Smart devices offer important patient benefits, like connected ambulances. Ambulance crews have access to high-bandwidth internet capabilities, and tablets holding patient records. This means that information can be sent to hospitals in real-time. Tablets require data-only SIMs with data packages to meet requirements.

Security

Commercial security is getting smarter. CCTV and alarms can be monitored securely and footage can be stored remotely. Security devices typically require M2M data SIMs or Fixed IP SIMs.

Retail

Stores are using technology to differentiate themselves by enhancing their in-store experience. They are allowing customers to beat the queues with connected handheld smart devices. From personalised billboards to tailored signage, retailers are evolving to meet changing market conditions. For digital signage, Intelligent 4G routers and multi-network M2M SIMs allow retailers to plug signs in anywhere in the UK and not worry about signal strengths, blackspots or hackers trying to edit their content.

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Topics: IoT, M2M

eSIM

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 23-Jun-2021 13:01:23

eSIM is a standard set by the GSMA, the association representing mobile network operators worldwide. It can hold multiple mobile profiles simultaneously and can be re-configured ‘over the air’ (OTA) with profile selection rules. 

What are the key features of eSIM?

  • Network providers can be changed without swapping out the SIMs.
  • You can pick the tariff required based on the amount of data the customer needs and the country (or countries) that the SIM will operate in to reduce roaming costs.
  • There is no faster way to gain access to 5G, LTE-M and NB-IoT across multiple networks, than by using eSIM due to its inherent ability to be reprogrammed to support new networks and new technologies.

Fixed IP eSIMs

GSMA-compliant fixed IP eSIMs offer un-steered roaming coverage across multiple networks and negate the need for static private IP or NAT. Network-agnostic fixed IP eSIMs are a cheaper alternative to most single-network static IP SIMs, whilst also providing an insurance policy against switching-cost lock-in.

L2TP eSIMs

ISPs have used wholesale L2TP tunnels since the launch of ADSL broadband in the UK. Wholesale mobile access from eSIMs is available via L2TP. You can cross-connect at layer 2 directly into a resilient eSIM MVNO platform.

Jola

Jola is a global IoT MVNO, providing the UK’s first multi-network eSIM built for the channel. e-SIMs give partners ultimate choice and control, whilst solving the biggest mobile data problem facing their end users – how to automatically connect any device to any network, anywhere in the world.

GSMA-compliant eSIMs give Jola partners a truly un-steered, multi-network roaming connection. Network-agnostic eSIMs offer an alternative to MNO contract lock-ins and save customers the pain and expense of swapping out SIMs.

Jola has deployed a UK-based, resilient MVNO mobile core network, with global connectivity to over 450 networks in nearly 200 countries, and local connectivity with all four UK mobile networks. UK-based interconnects and breakout ensure the traffic stays in the UK.

Mobile Manager

Mobile Manager is our online management portal for ordering and managing estates of eSIMs. This white label portal communicates in real-time with 4G and 5G networks and can be used by both resellers and their end users. Mobile Manager handles eSIM activations, ceases, suspensions, reports, alerts and bolt-ons.

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Topics: eSIM

Social selling versus social marketing

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Jun-2021 13:04:28

What are the main differences between social selling and social marketing? What strategies can we adopt to win more business?

Social marketing

There are various definitions, but in my mind, social marketing is part of the marketing strategy. Its purpose is to help us, as a company, build up brand awareness online and to let our partners and prospects know who we are and what problems we can uniquely solve. The objective of social marketing is to build up connections with prospects and educate them, so when they have a need, they know who to come to for a solution. It is about building up trust and putting out regular and accurate content that your partners and prospects value. It goes hand in hand with PR, helping you to drip-feed information to build your company’s reputation as a thought leader and a ‘go-to’ company for specific expertise.

The problem that most marketers have with social marketing is that it is difficult to measure success as the endgame is not direct leads and orders but a well-known and trusted brand name. This also takes years to build and can be destroyed in seconds online.

Social selling

Social selling focusses on prospecting online. You need to maintain visibility of your brand, but the endgame is leads and orders. The challenge that most people have with this is that it is a slow game that takes months of identifying the next ideal prospect, researching the company and all major contacts, connecting with them, and sending them relevant and useful information that will result in a successful sale.

It is not advisable to go straight in with who you work for and what you are selling. You need to think about what you can send them that will make them think of you as an expert in your field and someone they can go to with a problem that you can uniquely solve.

It takes lots of activity and time, which most salespeople do not have when there are much more direct routes to hitting their targets. Many people invest in software to help shortcut the process and identify key posts to comment on or like and set up alerts to respond to; others are fed by their marketing departments.

Each approach needs to be targeted; for example, when you are trying to sell something to me, you need to understand what my challenges may be right now. To do this, you may start with our website, blogs, and social posts and then look at what my colleagues and peers are posting and sharing. You need to put yourself in my position and send me something that I would find interesting and relevant, which may provoke a question, leading to a conversation, a demo, and maybe even a sale. You also need to time your approach right.

The endgame is always to get the right messaging to the right person at the right time.

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Topics: marketing

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