Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Cherie Howlett

Cherie has over 15 years’ experience in IT marketing and was promoted to Head of Marketing for MDNX post purchase of Griffin. She was Marketing Manager for 5 years and Head of Marketing for Griffin for 2 years setting up a marketing department and strategy for connectivity, data networks and cloud-hosted solutions. During her time at Griffin, the company won 7 Channel ISP of the year awards, 5 Sunday Times Tech Track 100 awards, 2 Deloitte Fast 500 EMEA awards, 1 Deloitte Fast 50 award and 1 Channel Expo award. Cherie built brand awareness in the channel from 0% to 95% using an integrated strategy consisting of online, print, electronic and face to face marketing. Cherie had previously spent 2 years in a Marketing Manager’s role at Pipemedia before it sold to Business Serve in 2006. At Pipemedia she built a VoIP brand called PipeCall using a combination of PR, direct marketing and an online ordering and provisioning portal with plug and play hardware and electronic point of sale units. Cherie’s early career was in International Marketing working for software house AceCad Software and IBM in the European sales division.

Recent Posts

Generating profitable recurring revenue streams from LPWAN

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 04-Aug-2021 12:21:57

Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) opportunities are hidden mobile data SIM gems nestled in the customer bases of resellers and MSPs. In the past, end-users have been to the mobile network operators directly for LPWANs but were disappointed by the lack of flexibility and ease of dealing with them.

Deals are often made up of thousands of devices on long-term contracts and are low-hanging fruit for MSPs who already have close relationships with their end-users.

Who uses this technology?

It is being used in street lighting, smart bins, smart parking, traffic monitoring and environmental monitoring. Their devices don’t need much power and have a long battery life. The SIMs required for these smart solutions are low-cost, long-life SIM cards, which can be activated and controlled within a central portal.

This technology is also being used in the consumer space with smart metering. Gas and electric companies are installing hundreds of thousands of smart meters, which require a low-power SIM on a long-term contract. Usage is minimal and costs are a few pence per SIM, but the contract length is typically five years plus.

In agriculture, LPWAN SIMs are being used in monitoring devices for animals, crops and soil. They need a SIM card with the same lifespan as their device.

What are LPWANs? 

LPWANs are used to deliver IoT connectivity at low cost, over wide geographic areas, often where there is no local power source, so battery life becomes key. LPWAN deployments are often simple and cost-effective due to their device design and long battery life. With efficient power consumption and a battery lifetime of up to 10 years, management costs are low. It also delivers the added benefit of deep penetration into areas such as basements and underground car parks. The protocols used in LPWANs provide much better wireless penetration, so it is possible to get a signal where a standard 3G or 4G SIM wouldn’t be able to.

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Topics: LPWAN

Mobile Data Opportunities in Smart Car Parks

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 28-Jul-2021 13:00:33

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making parking a lot easier. IoT parking solutions capture images of vehicles, registration numbers and times of entry to automatically calculate parking charges on exit.

Parking sensors are autonomous, wireless devices that are easy to install. The entrance and exit of vehicles and the duration of parking are monitored in real-time, and parking costs are calculated accurately.

Specialists are providing solutions for public and private car parks to help users pay for parking more efficiently. Private APN connectivity is often required, and data deal sizes are often in their thousands. The challenge to some specialists lies in the service they directly receive from the MNOs and the lack of direct monitoring and control over their SIM estates. Lack of visibility of usage can lead to large data overage charges on a regular basis.

Aggregated multinetwork SIMs managed in a single management portal offer specialists full visibility and control over their estates as well as the ability to completely avoid data overage charges.

Jola is an award-winning, channel-only supplier of business communications, specialising in mobile data SIMs. We are a global mobile data specialist providing innovative IoT and mobile data solutions to MSPs, ISPs, distributors, IT support companies and telecommunications resellers.

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Topics: IoT, M2M

Mobile Data Opportunities in the Police Force

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 28-Jul-2021 11:50:11

UK police forces are using technology to become more productive, efficient and visible. The digital policing vision aims to improve investigations and make it easier for the public and police to communicate. Forces collaborate with technology partners, generating mobile data opportunities.

Mobile Forensics

Police are using mobile fingerprinting systems that allow them to check an unknown person’s identity against a database of 12 million records in less than a minute. Some officers carry handheld smart scanners, allowing them to scan fingertips in the field.

Smart Devices

4G smart devices such as mobiles, tablets and cameras are being used to complete reports much more efficiently. Police officers are able to record incidents and arrests on body cameras and have the option to send livestreams to nearby officers for assessment and support.

Push-to-Talk Radio

Two-way walkie-talkie radio technology is being upgraded to 4G. While this has created an opportunity, suppliers are finding it difficult to identify the strongest 4G signal for each device.

Leading Push-to-Talk specialists opt for multinetwork SIMs, which will work in the majority of locations. They provide data SIMs for LTE Push-to-Talk radios in both the public and private sectors. They replace legacy PTT radio, which requires base stations with new LTE hardware, improving connectivity and coverage and reducing maintenance costs significantly.

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Topics: 4G

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

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