Sell not the thing, but the benefit in having the thing. Broadband? No, thank you. Connectivity? Well, I don’t mind if I do!
Trefor.net is pleased to welcome “Broadband Week” guest contributor Clare Greenall, Marketing Manager for Timico Partner Services Ltd.
Let’s talk about how to sell *Broadband (ahem, connectivity) in the twenty-tens, as it’s quite a hot topic of late with all the Superconnected City schemes that are prevalent right now.
To start, I want to address the asterisk in the paragraph above beside the word ‘Broadband’, which is a term widely used to cover the whole spectrum of different types of connectivity (and a topic of discussion that regularly rears its head in our office). Traditionally, Broadband is perceived as a home-user product that provides access to emails, a bit of web surfing, and some social media. And it absolutely does all of those things, but that perception dates back to the days when 512k was the download max and the dial-up modems were still screeching in the corner of the room. Time has moved on.
With all of the new-fangled adaptations of Broadband (ADSL), such as; Ethernet, GEA, FTTC, EFM (the list goes on…) we can’t possibly cover off all these with the title ‘Broadband’ as it just doesn’t do it justice! The Government uses the word ‘Broadband’ and other providers use it, all because we assume the general public doesn’t understand any other term for connectivity. Let’s reeducate and start calling it ‘Connectivity’, or — better yet — give each product its proper name… Seeing as sales of connectivity are ramping up yearly, shouldn’t it be considered important to teach the masses about the huge diversification of connectivity? Will it not be beneficial to highlight the massive advantages that fibre offers over copper?
Increased bandwidth suddenly opens up endless possibilities for small and big businesses alike. For instance, take ‘the Cloud’, the attack of which some businesses fear as if it is some 1950s horror movie, not possibly understanding the real benefits it can provide. At its start, VoIP (Voice over IP) got itself a bad name because no one seemed to get the underlying connectivity piece right, calls were dropping, and voice quality was horrendous. Having access to these types of solutions is really only workable if they are run on robust Internet connectivity.
Let’s not kid ourselves here, though. Consumers really don’t care if adding Annex M to their ADSL connection will increase the speed up to 2.5Mb, and they don’t give a monkey’s *(*%$#^ if their EFM is delivered on GSHDSL technology. No, what they want to know is what paying more for their connectivity every month is really going to deliver, in terms of tangible benefits.
It’s like that old saying, ‘It’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts.’ (sexual connotations aside, of course).
Businesses today don’t want Telecoms salesmen rocking up and spieling off countless numbers and technobabble about how their product works and the technology it runs on – trust me, I come from a voice environment and have had my mind blown by the detail in the ISP world – they just want to know the real benefits. I understand that all of the underlying facts and figures are necessary when building the solutions that overlay the connectivity, but that level of detail should be left to the IT folk and solution specialists to discuss.
I suppose what really bought this to the forefront of my mind, though, is seeing the countless email promotions coming through for the Superconnected Cities scheme. Even as I’ve been writing this piece, a promotional email has arrived from an IT firm that obviously has no idea how to market superfast connectivity so that people will actually want to buy it…
“YOU, Mr. Customer, can have from £250 up to £3000 towards the cost of your installation fees and you can have connectivity technology allowing for speeds of between 30Mbps up to 1Gbps.”
Great…OK, but what does that mean for the average business user?
We have to change the way we sell Broadband…ahem, er, sorry, Connectivity. It’s a means to an end. What’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? All the customer really wants to know is:
- How will this help me to grow my business?
- Will it cut costs in the long run?
- Will it help me to work smarter?
- What kinds of services will this allow me to use?
And that’s what we should be encouraging the channel to sell: the benefits of superfast connectivity. With only a couple of sales made through our local Superconnected Cities scheme in Portsmouth, it’s pretty clear that current attempts to sell a service that most businesses are crying out for have been unsuccessful. It’s time to show businesses what they can do with their big fat pipes.