Bahamas Telecommunications Company no longer just ‘dialing it in’ to regain market share
As the competitive landscape in the Bahamas changed, both new and existing companies moved in to capitalize on both the growing demand for telephony, Internet and mobile services and on BTC’s less-than-stellar reputation for customer service.
The threat from these competitors proved real, and soon the company began losing market share for its B2B and broadband services. It also experienced an erosion in its brand equity, as it was no longer seen as the premier leader and authority for providing business solutions.
Gershan Major, the company’s Vice President of Corporate Sales and Business Development, realized in rebuilding a “new BTC Business,” he needed to also rebuild the sales team from the ground up. So he hired 10 additional sales reps, had them trained in ValueSelling, certified them in key products lines and also hired a seasoned sales professional to focus more attention on the SME market. The sales force was trebled and a new paradigm and cultural shift in the way they sold BTC services was created.The idea was to: 4. Improve BTC’s brand equity in the B2B & B2G spaces by being more responsive and innovative in bringing value added solutions to those markets and achieving top of mind by market segment 3. Improve commercial conversations around BTC’s competency and capacity by educating the market on the customizable solutions BTC had to offer 2. Recapture market share in the B2B space 1. Equip the sales team to be the most knowledgeable, professional and engaging sales force by market segment
The customized program included two instructor-led workshops six months apart
”What we didn’t want,” he added, “was to compete solely on price.” Major looked at different sales and customer service training programs and settled on one that hadn’t been formally introduced in the Caribbean at that time: the ValueSelling Framework.
ValueSelling Associate Natalie Pitchford had 16 years’ experience in sales, including with telecommunications giants Nortel and Avaya. She also understood Caribbean culture and was fluent in the ValueSelling Framework. “The sales team had no common methodology in place; therefore, the sales reps used subjective, rather than a standard process, to qualify an opportunity,” Pitchford recalled. “A lot of opportunities were staying in funnels for up to a year or more. They needed to move those opportunities forward.”
The customized program included two instructor-led workshops spread six months apart to teach each member of the sales team a new approach that emphasized listening to prospective customers to determine their business needs and then show how BTC’s services best met those needs.
BTC sales staff also took part in e-learning modules and, once the instruction was complete, Sherell Moncur, the sales manager – Business & Hospitality segments made sure the methodology continued to be used – and correctly – from discovery to contract.
A qualifications sheet review was done quarterly, with periodic staff meetings to go over what steps in the process may have been missed.
“The process is time-consuming but necessary,” Moncur said. “Any one step missed will cause a delay in closing a potential sale. It also indicates if the salesperson was listening to what the customer really needs to enhance their business.”
Major said the results within the first year helped prove his choice to be the first (indigenous) Caribbean company certified to use the ValueSelling Framework.
“We had the best year in the company for B2B sales,” he said. “We hit all of our targets in the five areas we were tracking, and exceeded four of them.”
He credits the sales team with embracing the new methodology, and instructor that changed conversations and, in turn, created the cultural shift he’d envisioned.
“If you’re building a sales force from the ground up, it’s imperative that you provide them with the types of tools necessary for sustainable success,” he said. “And ValueSelling represents that type of tool for success. They helped us create the correct discipline and correct inputs to craft customizable solutions for the market we serve.”