Commvergence: Going Upmarket To Achieve Success

Published 25 May 2023

Thus far in our “commvergence” blog series, we’ve shared both opportunities and challenges for communications service providers as they navigate a new environment in 2023 and beyond. We’ve touched on the evolution of commvergence from an opportunity to an imperative (and why), the importance of a good product and service mix, and the nature of interoperability and integrations in supporting end customers’ full business.

Because so many CSPs take a thoughtful approach to their product offerings, they start out in a great position to build a go-to-market strategy. Ultimately, their ability to serve end customers effectively begins with having the right solutions for sale. But what is the other part of that “sale?” The actual motions and practices of selling. 

This seems painfully obvious to point out, but establishing a well-functional sales and marketing engine is easier said than done, and a CSP’s success in this area is a critical input into whether they can maximize both revenue and the value of their company in the long run.

In this entry in our commvergence series, we will examine some of the ways to build a strong sales and marketing organization for your CSP, particularly in the upmarket, large buyer segment. We focus on that segment because of the likelihood that the largest customers will determine the long-term direction of the CSP market. Providers that can effectively sell upmarket will therefore be the ones that succeed and thrive. 

What economic downturn could mean for CSPs

At Rev.io, we are happy to stick to what we do best and leave the economic predictions to others. We aren’t going to predict an economic downturn in 2023 and beyond, but we do recognize some of the challenges that our economy is facing. Among them are inflation, significant job loss (particularly in the tech sector), and continued uncertainty out of Washington DC related to debt and future economic policies. 

If a recession is truly in our future, it would stand to reason that CSP revenues would be at serious risk due to many businesses either cutting back or ending certain tech spending initiatives. This happened during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, but many analysts say that reality will be reversed in that IT spending will continue to grow this year and beyond (albeit at lower growth rates). This makes sense given how many mission critical technology goals are being pursued by companies of all types; simply cutting off IT and telecom spend would stifle business growth in spite of any temporary cost savings. 

All this said, it appears that enterprises and large corporations are the most likely to be “sticky” buyers of telecom and technology in 2023 and beyond. Large-sized companies are the most likely to be resilient through economic slowdowns (or downturns) and remain consistent customers of CSPs. 

Unfortunately for many providers, their businesses are solely focused on SMBs that are more exposed to economic risks and the potential to cut back on IT and telecom spending. This puts many CSPs in a bind; how do they move upmarket to serve these larger customers and de-risk their future revenues?

How to attract large and enterprise clients

At Rev.io, our 250+ clients include numerous strategic and enterprise-level companies with large workforces and high revenues. Naturally, there is inherently more complexity in marketing and selling to these types of companies. Discipline and patience are key, as is utilization of proper tools to support larger go to market efforts.

Here are a few tips to consider as you look to go upmarket:

Sell solutions, not products. Telecom and tech pros absolutely love talking about their products, and why wouldn’t they? The innovations in communication and collaboration tools have enabled an entirely different way of working over the last several years. That said, your upmarket buyers are not going to be as interested in the ins and outs of each product feature. What they will be focused on is how to solve their unique business problems. 

The offerings that you bring to the table need to be positioned first as answers to these key questions: 

  • How can I best manage my distributed workforce? 
  • What are the options that minimize latency? 
  • How can we integrate disparate components into a single platform? 

If you can sell your products as the answers to these questions and not get too deep into the “tech weeds,” you will be in a better position with upmarket clients.

Take an account based approach. You have no doubt heard lots of reference to “account-based” marketing and selling over the last 5+ years. Much of this discussion centers around software and tools to support an ABS/ABM program, but we like to move this discussion up to a much more fundamental level. Namely, how do you effectively reach different audiences and decision makers within a single account?

As you market and sell into large (and sometimes complex) accounts, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Do background research on target accounts to understand their business and priorities, and ensure they are the right fit for your services.
  • Utilize an account plan that is sharable and accessible by different team members.
  • Know where your target accounts go to make their decisions and make sure your company is present. This could cover both live spaces (e.g. tradeshows) and virtual spaces (search engines, technology portals, industry publications, etc.).
  • Make sure you have the right contacts at each account in your CRM, and understand their roles and responsibilities at the company.
  • Among these contacts, understand their individual goals in addition to business goals. Each decision maker will have wants and needs that are important to them specifically, and in some cases they can be in some conflict with other decision makers at the company. 
  • As part of the above, recognize that some contacts are true decision makers, while others will merely influence the decisions. Your team should work hard to identify these roles and work towards convincing each of the power of your solution accordingly. 

Be persistent because no customer is truly “lost.” Even if you are not able to win a new large customer on a first try, all hope is not lost. Stay in touch with decision makers at that customer and understand why they did not move forward with you. Try to have periodic discussions with those decision makers, and keep them updated on what’s going on at your company through email, social media, and other communication channels. At Rev.io, we’ve been able to get second chances with clients we didn’t win initially, by making sure we keep a strong relationship and reminding them of our strengths compared to competitors. 

Take a multichannel approach. We are still big believers in the importance of direct relationships and personalization in selling, particularly at the large client level. That said, we understand that giving buyers different channels to reach you is also very important. Depending on what segment you sell to, know where those buying decisions are taking place. Look at partner portals, referral relationships, professional networks and trade associations, and other relevant channels to reach potential customers, especially those key decision makers.

Rev.io is here to help.

With our history of successfully marketing and selling into enterprise level clients, we understand what it takes to be successful upmarket. Through both our platform and expertise, we can help you reach your upmarket goals. For example:

  • Our self-service portals create a user experience that enables upmarket sales. Our Agent Portal gives your agents a modern platform to create quotes and orders, view customer account details, and be more productive in sales. Our Enterprise Customer Portal allows you to accommodate large, multi-location accounts within a single platform, helping you manage bills, place orders, submit tickets, and access detailed reports.
  • We can help your sales and marketing team with advice on proven go-to-market strategies. With decades of experience represented across our commercial teams, we can share insights on strategies, activities, and how to truly separate your company vs. the competition. 

If you are ready to start the conversation, please let us know! In the meantime, we will look forward to finishing up the commvergence series in the coming weeks. Stay tuned! 

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