Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Productising Processes

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 29-Jan-2019 17:03:53

In the channel we are well-versed in productising products and services. We know how to package them, how to promote them and how to sell them, promoting our USPs over the competition. We seem to accept processes as part and parcel and rarely productise them. Are we missing a trick?

When the processes we offer form part of our USPs, we are definitely missing a trick by not productising them. Everyone says they offer ‘excellent customer service’, but what if this is the one thing you know makes you different from the competition? By productising your processes, you can demonstrate the value to your customer base and reap the benefits.

Where to start?

By defining your customers needs. What are customers looking for? How do you meet these requirements better than the rest? What evidence do you have to support this? By noting down the journey, you can productise your unique process, reflecting back the customers’ needs and how you are meeting them.

Understand success

By mapping processes next to KPIs to help you track success, you can start to see how you achieved success. Analyse your biggest customer deals, where did the original lead come from? How was it generated? How was it converted? How was the first opportunity generated? How was this closed? How was the order placed and processed? How did you prevent any installation issues? How did you ensure the customer was billed correctly? How did the customer feel when the first order had gone live? What support was given along the way? How does the customer rate the support given?

Map your unique process

Once successful order journeys have been mapped, unique processes ensuring success become visible. Describe and name each step of the process. Write it up as a flyer and advertise it on your website and as part of your proposals.

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Topics: jola, marketing

Increasing business competitiveness

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 19-Dec-2018 09:39:41

According to recent ONS labour market report, there is a huge gender imbalance in IT and technology. Only 18% are female compared to 50% in other industries. Why is there such a gender imbalance in our industry and is this affecting our competitive advantage?

From a purely marketing point of view, having balanced and diverse teams, gives us a wide range of skills, helping us to develop products for a wider audience. The more we can understand the needs of our audience, the better our products will be, and the more we should sell. When developing new technologies and unique solutions, we need to ensure that we are connecting with all of our audience. McKinsey found that organisations with ethnic, social and gender diversity were 33% more likely to outperform their industry average. By hiring similar people, with similar skill sets, we will no doubt miss opportunities.

Speaking to business owners in the channel, there are a mixture of opinions that range from, ‘it’s not much of an issue’ to ‘I want to hire the best person for the job, but don’t see a diverse range of candidates to choose from.’ The issue seems to be that women and other minorities are not applying for vacancies or rising through the ranks quickly enough. So, what’s the problem?

Fewer females are taking STEM subjects than males from the age of 14 onwards. As parents we can try to keep career paths open and encourage STEM subjects. As individuals we can become role models to demonstrate what is possible. As businesses we can offer work experience placements, apprenticeship schemes and graduate placements. We can run mentoring schemes and personal development support. We can look at our recruitment communications and processes to make sure we are not putting off potential candidates with unconscious bias. We can look at career progression and development internally. We can look at making hours flexible and encourage working from home. We can share maternity leave and think outside the box to be more inclusive to all groups, using technology to help us.

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Topics: jola

Encouraging diversity in the workplace

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Nov-2018 10:00:48

McKinsey found that organisations with ethnic, social and gender diversity were 33% more likely to outperform their industry average. These companies also have lower customer churn thanks to a consistent level of excellent service and the will to go the extra mile.

Diverse organisations are more successful because of the way they utilise the wide range of skills they have recruited and the corporate culture they have cultivated. Diversity is part of their values and positively effects how they do business. It starts with an ingrained respect for others and a desire to work together to achieve a common goal. This influences their marketing style, their attitude to on-boarding and training, quoting and ordering tools and their after-sales service.

Hiring people from diverse backgrounds can help to foster creativity and offer a range of perspectives and ideas. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable and happy in an environment where inclusivity is a priority. Equality in the workplace is important for encouraging workers from all backgrounds to feel confident in their ability and to achieve their best.

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Topics: jola

The benefits of a single supplier

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 03-Oct-2018 16:28:12

It is five times easier to sell to existing customers than it is to attract new business, so it makes sense for resellers to sell their customers as many complimentary products as they can. This also stops competitors gaining a foothold in their customer base.

One person to call

For customers, having a single-source supplier makes sense, as they only have one person to call to report an issue. Often when resellers only manage the hosted voice solution and not the underlying internet connectivity, it is more difficult to analyse the fault and fix it quickly. Similarly, you can only guarantee an improved SLA if you buy the primary circuit and 4G back-up from the same supplier. Customers often feel fobbed-off by suppliers when they ring to report a fault with their telephony, only to be told to re-dial their internet supplier, as there is no known fault their end.

Lower churn

As a business if you feel valued and rewarded for buying several products from one single supplier, you are less likely to churn away, especially if you have a good deal and experience great service.

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Topics: Jola Cloud Solutions Ltd, jola

How do you differentiate commodities?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 03-Oct-2018 16:16:13

What is a commodity?

A commodity is defined as a product or resource that is traded primarily on the basis of price, and not on differences in quality or features. When a product or service becomes a commodity, the market price will fall to the marginal cost of the lowest cost volume producer.

What challenges must be overcome when selling commoditised products?

Many consider broadband and telephony to be commoditised products. The challenge most resellers have is how to add real-value and differentiate themselves, to retain existing customers and win new business.

Buy well

To compete with the price leader, companies need to buy well from their suppliers. To win business, resellers may have to accept lower margins. In these situations, it is useful to have higher margin products you can add, to help boost margins.

Leverage USPs

If products are commoditised, are you adding anything unique? Are these USPs valued by your customers? Good service is a given, however installation expertise may be USPs you can charge for.

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Topics: Mobile, Mobile SIMs, jola

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