How To: Increase your carrier’s ARPU. Part 1

    Endless discussions about the feasibility of using cloud and virtual services to solve business problems, fortunately, are in the past. Now no one is trying to challenge the fact that cloud technology is a universally recognized and established trend, the existence of which all players in the telecommunications business have to not only reckon with, this fact should be recognized as one of the main directions of development of the IT industry for the next decade and in the most careful manner monitor trends in the cloud markets. Our company has been actively present in the virtual services market for more than seven years and we have accumulated significant expertise in the implementation and promotion of cloud telephone solutions and cloud exchanges. By placing this hub, we would like to open a small series of publications,

    Just a few words about our business model: ITooLabs , a Russian developer of software and its own telephone platform for telecom operators, was created in 2001. In 2009, we entered the market with the ITaLabs Communications Server PaaS platform, designed for the rapid implementation and launch of the operator cloud PBX service according to the revenue sharing model without initial investment. Our solution has dozens of installations (which we service ourselves) around the world, but how can we still be different from other vendors and service providers? The solution is simple and already popular today - use the dialed big data, because we can carefully collect statistics, monitor and analyze the situation on the virtual PBX market. This allows us to be the number 1 vendor in this market segment. And the result of this analysis was a clear and objective understanding of how a successful cloud operator business is built.

    It is this understanding and accumulated expertise that we would like to start sharing.


    A bit of motivating analytics. A few years ago, virtual PBX services were perceived by the market as classic “Additional Types of Services” that expand the functionality of basic services. Now the emphasis has shifted greatly: there are many examples of successful telecom businesses, the main focus of which was the provision of cloud PBX services, and classic, basic, communication services are an integral, but not the main part of their business model. Large players are actively introducing virtual platforms and mastering good marketing budgets for their promotion. Thus, signals come literally from all sides, meaning that the “cloudy” times have come seriously and for a long time. According to analysts, with a well-built business model, the annual revenue growth of a telephone operator, after the introduction of a cloud service, can reach up to 200%, and virtual telephone exchanges are among the three fastest growing segments of the cloud SaaS-business. We give a graph of the growth dynamics of the Russian SaaS-solutions market in the SMB sector.

    We hope that the motivating part dispelled even the last doubts of those who had these doubts and can proceed to the practical part of our How To.

    Commerce. Where to begin:

    We will consider launching a virtual PBX service based on a PaaS platform as the most effective and efficient way to enter the cloud market. Let's start by analyzing the expected commercial effect and consider the main points, while still “on the shore”.

    The business tasks of any telecom operator are quite traditional and it is safe to say that they are equally faced by any service provider. What are the benefits of introducing a cloud PBX?

    • Increased ARPU. The appearance of any new service in the list of operator offers, provided that this service is in demand by the market, inevitably leads to an increase in ARPU. In addition to the classic communication services, customers also purchase a cloud subscription, thereby increasing the average bill. The cloud PBX market, on the whole, has already been formed and it can be said with a certain degree of certainty that the monthly check of the customer who purchased the subscription increases by more than 2,000 rubles.

    • Selling. An operator with an existing subscriber base quickly goes to the first money by simply organizing mailings and notifications that a new service has appeared in the list of offers. The cost of such sales is very low, because the promotion takes place on an existing, loyal, customer base without significant marketing costs.

    • Retention. With a high degree of probability, the client who started using the virtual PBX will use additional advertising numbers in his business model or integrate telephony with one of his IS (for example, CRM). This kind of implementation will work on customer retention, since it is much more difficult to refuse a service configured and configured for an individual request.

    • Attraction. There are many examples where customers of one operator switched to another only on the basis that the new operator offered a virtual PBX service. In addition, a virtual telephone exchange can become a good “locomotive” product, to which it is advisable to apply new marketing techniques, reviving existing offers.

    • Competitive advantage. Despite the fact that the cloud PBX market has formed and there are many offers, not all of these offers correspond to market demands. Cloud IP-PBX is an asymmetric product (a potential client, as a rule, does not have the necessary understanding of the product) and therefore there is a significant category of users who have made an emotional purchase and are unsatisfied with the acquired solutions. The appearance of a stable and functional service operator in the list of offers will create an additional competitive advantage and attract, already “warmed up” by less professional colleagues, CA.

    To start the cloud PBX service on the operator’s side, you must have at least three classic components that are already business-forming.

    This is its own communications center and billing with appropriate engineering and technical support, a formed sales department, ready to accept a new product and a loyal subscriber base, the presence of which, although it is not a prerequisite, but significantly speeds up access to the first money.

    In this hub, we discuss the basic commercial aspects of the launch, so we will dwell in more detail on the formation of sales channels for the new service. In this sense, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. All established marketing techniques are applicable to virtual PBX sales technologies. Perhaps the only specificity will be the need to compensate for the asymmetry of the product with more detailed descriptions and user manuals.

    From our practice, we made one conclusion: a very effective way of promotion is to post publications about the benefits of cloud solutions on thematic "about IT" resources and on tech blogs. The format of the article or blog allows you to optimally convey to the potential client all the benefits of using cloud PBX. This is especially effective if your solution has specialized functionality (integration with CRM or other ICs, REST APIs, the use of customized softphones or pre-configured subscriber devices). A periodic email distribution with the announcement of promotions works great when existing customers are offered an additional discount on connecting a virtual PBX. As for contextual advertising, this tool belongs to the category of disputes in terms of cost of attraction. If you are just entering the market, you will inevitably come across the fact that the cost of a click on the most high-frequency queries is quite high, which, nevertheless, does not interfere with finding your advertising niche and working in it. Warm calls to the existing customer base in combination with periodic newsletters give a good conversion. Selling virtual PBX services using cold calls is ineffective.

    The most optimal way to attract "cloud" customers is to attract through the project website. There are several opinions as to how it is better to embed the description of a new service in the company's existing Internet resources. We have many examples of when the operator supplemented the list of services on the corporate portal with a description of the new offer and this fact already created a stream of connections. It is clear that this method only works if the company's website has good traffic. Oddly enough, there are not quite successful examples of this approach.

    Sometimes, due to the specifics of the business of the operator company, its website is not the main sales channel and performs an exclusively utilitarian function - access to your personal account, contact information, balance replenishment. In this case, it is more advisable to create a separate landing page for a new service, rather than trying to optimize the Internet representation for commercial tasks, since there is a risk of "getting stuck" in a long and ongoing re-design.

    So, we went over the main list of commercial points that require reflection before launching a new virtual service. We hope that we were able to structure the basic things and we can proceed to a more detailed description of all the nuances and specifics. We will try to consistently state all the necessary steps and sequences in our How To.

    Continuation will not be long in coming.

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