5 Steps to a Stronger CSP Sales Strategy

July 21, 2022 Evan Rice

In Today’s Shifting Market, CSP Sales Strategies Are Critical For Growth

Over the last several years, many CSPs representing segments such as VoIP, UCaas, PBX, and even POTS that have traditionally sold through indirect distribution channels are bringing their CSP sales teams back in-house. While migrating to a direct sales strategy can have a positive impact on operating expenses, it can also pose several challenges.

What Communications Service Providers Get Wrong

Companies that fail in the communications market all have one thing in common – their sales teams focus too heavily on products or features. Whether you’re a CLEC, ILEC, POTS, UCaaS, Fiber, VoIP, or IoT provider, the secret sauce to sales comes down to one thing – identifying value.

In order to best leverage your value proposition, you’ll need to gather information from prospects in a conversational and non-confrontational manner. Here’s everything you need to know to take your CSP sales process to the next level.

Enter The Socratic Method of Selling

The Socratic method of selling involves asking open-ended questions to gather information from your prospects. It’s beneficial for two major reasons:

  1. You build trust with your prospect by showing them you’re interested in their business
  2. You present your solution in the most impactful way that speaks to their needs and helps you gather information

You know your services and value propositions better than anyone else – what you don’t necessarily know at the beginning of a sales cycle is your prospect’s challenges and concerns. The two tactics aforementioned will help your CSP sales team learn about your prospect and position your service in the strongest possible way.

Step 1: What’s the Business Issue?

When uncovering the business’s issue, you need to first determine what your prospect is trying to accomplish. With this response, you’ll learn why the prospect is evaluating your products or services at this point in time and how you can best present them to solve their problem.

Here are some questions you might ask your prospect to bring the business issue at hand to light:

  • What are your business’s strategic initiatives for this year?
  • Would you elaborate on what brought you to contact us?
  • Why is this issue or goal important now?

When it comes to CSP sales, common business issues often include:

  • Looking to expand a service area
  • Adding a new offering
  • Entering into a new market

These initiatives often prompt a communications or IoT service provider to evaluate their current billing processes as they look for new ways to stay lean while growing their organization.

At Rev.io, we start each sales demonstration with what we call a “Needs Assessment” to help us answer the questions above. Once we’ve identified the business issue at hand, we focus our demonstration on it heavily.

Step 2: Identify Related Problems and Effects to Showcase Value

After you’ve uncovered the main business issue, dig into the problems surrounding it. Within these problems, drill into the specific details as much as possible and quantify the effects that the problems may be having on the business.

Some questions to consider during the CSP sales process include:

  • How much time are you spending on this business problem? 
  • Where else could you spend that time more effectively?
  • How many people are managing this business problem currently?
  • What is the average salary you’re paying someone in that department?
  • Do you have any projections for how an effective solution will [grow revenue, save time]?
  • What would happen if you had this solution in place today?
  • Is there anything about the CSP sales process that you think could be improved?

For our example, let’s say a company wants to expand their service area. The associated problem might be a tedious, manual billing process that leads to the effect – a lack of bandwidth to add new accounts. We’ve found that many communications billing systems are not set up to scale as companies grow.

Understanding Prospect DBMs

The prospect’s responses point to the effects of their productivity and bottom line. This helps your CSP sales team understand the prospect’s dominant buying motive (DBM). A DBM is any area of special concern that can be addressed by your offering.

In the billing industry, BDMs might be:

  • Billing accuracy
  • Time spent managing billing and customer information
  • Tax audit readiness
  • Increasing employee productivity
  • Providing customers with a better experience
  • Managing the collections process

Step 3: Agree on the Need

This is a crucial step for any B2B CSP sales strategy. Simply telling a prospect that they have a need is not an effective sales technique. You must find common ground with the prospect where you can both see the need and understand the value of the solution.

Tie down questions are a valuable way to secure agreement from your prospect. These questions prompt your prospect to either agree or object. Using tie downs allows the salesperson to achieve small wins leading up to the sale. However, be careful not to overuse tie downs, as they may annoy your prospect at larger volumes.

Here are some examples of tie downs:

  • Wouldn’t you?
  • Isn’t it?
  • Don’t you?
  • Shouldn’t you?
  • “If I could show you how to fix this problem, would that be of interest?”

As you remember from our example above, the company is looking to expand their service area but they’re struggling with their manual billing process. Typically, we find that automating usage rating through Rev.io’s native integration to all the major carriers and switches eliminates these manual processes.

Step 4: Learn the Power Players

Before continuing the sales process, you’ll want to confirm that you’re working with the right people for your services. It is critical for communications service providers to distinguish between decision makers and influencers contributing to the buying decision early on in the CSP sales process. The decision maker is the person that can sign the paperwork for the business, while an influencer can only persuade the decision.

Questions to ask to confirm these roles:

  • Is there anyone else we should invite to this meeting?
  • Are there other stakeholders that will be part of the buying process?
  • Who will be involved in your final decision?
  • Will you be the one signing the paperwork if we come to an agreement?

Step 5: Outline the Solutions and Plan

Construct your onboarding plan and timeline in reverse, based on when the prospect would like to go live with your services. From that date, go back on the calendar enough time to implement and train the customer – this will be the close date for the sales deal.

Once you have that date, outline the sales cycle steps to the beginning of the sale and present this to your prospect. This will help create a sense of urgency throughout the CSP sales process. You can even ask your client – when would you like to begin using our services, assuming we are able to fit your needs?

Get Help With Your CSP Sales Process from Rev.io

Rev.io offers comprehensive services for communications service providers. We aren’t just a billing solution or technology vendor – we are your partner in overall business growth. If you’re interested in learning more about what Rev.io can offer, contact us.

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