Why do bad things happen to good products?
With 75% of telecom products failling, Huthwaite International discusses its lates findings as to why.
A new benchmarking study into the future of the telecoms industry by sector sales, negotiation and communication specialists, Huthwaite International, has revealed a staggering 88% of companies experience a new product failing each financial year, despite high anticipation. The study also revealed a crippling sector skills shortage is often to blame, with a lack in sales skills, strategy and the ‘over-hyping’ phenomenon affecting the success of quality new products launching to market.
In the last financial year, overall, telecoms companies struggled to launch 5.58 new products to market, no doubt costing the industry millions. On surveying senior decision makers within the telecoms sector, including network operators, infrastructure vendors, and new innovators in the market, Huthwaite’s research has revealed that 42% of industry specialists believe products are failing once launched to market because customers are resistant to change, with a lack of competitive pricing (41%) following closely behind. The survey has also revealed that nearly a third (30%) of sales professionals blamed product specs not meeting the client’s needs and a sales force being resistant to change (29%) for a lack of success selling new products.
However, it appears that telecoms companies are overlooking a crucial factor within the sales process. The research found that 43% of respondents considered the ability to solutions sell rather than feature sell to be the most important attribute in the perfect sales professional, but comparing this with just 26% of respondents believing the sellers' inability to identify and address buyer's concerns as being responsible for impeding sales of new products to market demonstrates a clear lack of strategy.
A systematic approach to sales strategy has been proven to improve sales; those with a systematic approach across every department are more likely to have grown their sales in the last financial year, with Huthwaite’s research finding that they report an average growth of 30.5%, compared with 22%, of those without a systematic approach to selling. Yet despite this, 37% still don’t have a systematic approach to sales across every department, and almost half (45%) of those surveyed would invest in better marketing as a solution to poor sales, demonstrating the focus remains on features rather than solutions.
Tony Hughes, CEO of Huthwaite International, comments on the report: “The telecoms sector is one of the most likely to see a huge amount of interest in new products initially, but with a quick drop off rate translating in few sales. By analysing the sales approach of such companies, we know that a systematic approach is especially important for the highly innovative telecoms market, with multiple product launches happening each year. But, despite this, 37% of companies still don’t have a systematic approach to sales across every department.
“It’s perhaps somewhat surprising that teams are not trained and upskilled in this way, particularly in such an innovative and fast-paced industry. Initial excitement around new products should not be to the detriment of an organisation due to an inexperienced salesperson falling into a product over people approach. We’re hopeful that our research will be able to guide industry leaders into implementing proven, systematic training techniques to ensure telecoms products do not fall flat when brought to market – but whether they invest in the right kind of training, however, remains to be seen.”
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.