Archive for the ‘Subscription Economy’ Category

Part 2: Launching and Supporting an Effective Telecom Resale Channel

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Whether you’re managing an established telecom resale channel and looking to sharpen your sword or if you’re just contemplating adding a partnership program to your business, we’re here to help. The channel landscape has changed drastically due to the rise of SaaS, cloud, IoT, and usage-based offerings. In addition, new types of partner relationships are emerging to complement any offering and any industry. Building, piloting, and managing a resale channel is more important than ever.

In the first part of our Telecom Resale Channel blog post series, we discussed 4 Factors for Launching a Successful Resale Channel.

In the prequel, we answered these questions:

  1. Why build a resale channel?
  2. How to validate the market to be sure an indirect model will be a well-received resale strategy?
  3. What is a partnership proposition and why do I need to do this?
  4. Is my company ready for a resale channel?

(If you haven’t read the post yet, I’d encourage you to read it before you’re too far into Part 2.)

Now that we’re all caught up, we’ll dive into steps 5-8 in Part 2: Launching and Supporting an Effective Telecom Resale Channel.

Here are the key steps you should take to launch a partner program and improve ongoing channel management:

5. Product messaging and readiness

What good is an indirect resale strategy if your partners cannot clearly and concisely explain your product and how it fits into part of a comprehensive solution? If they can’t effectively communicate the benefits and features, then they can’t effectively sell it.

For new and existing products that you’re offering, ensure your team has gathered relevant information and packaged this up for your future partners.

Key elements of this package include:

  • Clear product messaging and scripts
  • Awareness of existing and emerging markets (with data)
  • Easy accessibility of product information
  • Competitive analysis and pricing
  • Your onboarding and ongoing support strategy

6. selecting your curated list of strategic partners

Now that you have your ducks in a row to deliver partners with the tools for success, let’s take a breath before we open the strategic partner floodgates. A critical success factor for your telecom resale channel model is picking the right types of partners. When you select this group of partners, you’ll want to be sure to fully vet these companies.

Make sure the partner is aligned with your company’s:

  • Culture
  • Values
  • Service level agreements
  • Vision for future initiatives

If they pass all of these initial tests, they’re a winner! Now let’s build a program that not only attracts new partnerships but also rewards partners for working with you. Defining your channel model for that particular partner should include a deep understanding of their sales models, what matters most to them, and how they are funded. Understanding your partner’s business will help you structure a customized, business proposition that’s too good to turn down.

7. training & ongoing channel management

Once you’ve established the need and your organization’s readiness to support a channel and put the various tools in place to support your partnerships, it’s time to create a strategy for new partner onboarding and build the ongoing management plan.

Structured Enablement

There should be an organized onboarding program for each new partner. This should begin the moment the partnership is finalized until they’re fully proficient and bringing you regular business. Depending on the complexity of your offering, this enablement program could be a month, a quarter, or a year.

Keep track of their enablement progress through key metrics.

These could be:

  • Number of trainings completed
  • New referrals
  • Signed mutual clients
  • Implementing a lead gen program
  • Participating in a co-branded webinar

Lastly, let them know when they’ve “graduated” from the program!

Ongoing Management

Like any relationship, communication is key. Proactively communicate with your telecom resale channel and establishing a regular cadence of meetings, emails, newsletters, annual reviews, etc. This should be predictable so that partners understand when, how, and where to go for information.

Provide these partners with additional resources in a variety of formats like videos, collateral, and lunch and learns that can be easily consumed. Many vendors will consolidate and streamline partner management with a partner portal.

Look for a partner portal that has critical components, such as:

  • Information center / file sharing
  • Visibility into new orders / support
  • Automated commissions
  • Accessibility to view mutual client usage, history, and payments

If you’re thinking that a system like this would benefit your business, check out Rev.io’s Agent Portal. We’d love to set up some time to share how your business could benefit from our platform.

Once you have your partner program up and running, think about promoting your partners in your marketing initiatives. Rev.io supports partners by adding them to our Partner Marketplace (on our website), joining up or co-boothing at tradeshows, participating in co-branded webinars, and inviting them to sponsor our client events.

Lastly, make sure you and the partner have a mutual understand of each others’ preferred methodology of referrals (who should these go to, what info is needed, etc.) and diligently track referrals sent to / received from each partner.

8. measure the channel effectiveness

The channel landscape can add incredible value to your business. Even after your telecom resale program is in place, channel leaders should consistently learn and evolve to need the changing needs of their partners and their market. An often overlooked factor of success is measurement. Rev.io’s Agent Portal can help you measure, engage, and support your agent relationships. Once the partner marketplace is launched, take a proactive approach to measuring, monitoring, and supporting your partners. Now that you’re ready to tackle an indirect sales channel, be sure you’re ready to bill your customers for their usage-based and recurring revenue offerings. Or, if you’re not sure about billing, stay in touch. We’ll send tips and resources directly to your inbox to help you improve your business and billing strategies. Of if you’re interested in joining the Rev.io Partner Marketplace, check out our Become a Partner page. We’d love to hear from you!

 

4 Factors for Launching a Successful Resale Channel

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Whether you’re considering adopting a resale channel or your partner program just hasn’t taken off the way you’ve expected, we’re here to help! As one of the best IoT and telecom billing solutions in the industry, we’re excited to share how partnerships have helped Rev.io grow its business. But, before you go “all-in” on a resale strategy, it’s important to evaluate your market and company for some critical success factors.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll dive into the key steps you should take to assess the market, prepare your business, and build partner relationships that last. For Part 1, we’re sharing 4 considerations for your channel partner strategy that will help in launching a successful resale channel.

1. what is your reason for building a resale channel?

Typically, companies adopt an indirect strategy when adding more direct sales resources is not a practical option. However, there are other scenarios where your company could benefit from forming a business partnership:

1. Your product or service is not a stand-alone offering or it complement another offering

Ask yourself, “does my offering require other products, services, or companies to deliver a more complete solution?” If your answer is yes, then this is a perfect opportunity to partner with other businesses and provide customers with a combined solution. Look for companies that are selling their services to the same target market. A partnership here (or better, a partnership AND integration here) improves the experience for your mutual customers.

At Rev.io, we understand that our clients benefit from our partnerships with communications tax and compliance experts, GSA and Wolters Kluwer. In addition to creating a better end-customer experience, we’ve been able to send referrals to each other. It’s a win-win!

2. Your growth strategies include new geographies or new verticals

According to the Quick Start to Building a Channel Strategy from CompTIA, indirect business models are used by 80% of the IT industry. Hiring and managing a direct sales team in remote geographies is complex and expensive. Instead, consider leveraging a resale channel as a more cost-effective way to grow sales in a new region or to enter into new markets.

While Rev.io is already an established name in the Communications industry (as one of the best billing softwares in the market), we recently ventured into IoT billing. Before expanding into this vertical,  we relied on partners like AT&T Partner Exchange, Cisco Jasper, and KORE to help us get an initial foothold in the space. In addition to speeding up time-to-market, these partners helped Rev.io develop our new suite of IoT features and avoid some potential pitfalls.

2. validate the market opportunity

Now that we know why we’re building a resale channel, the next step is to validate the market to ensure the indirect model will be a well-received strategy. There are four key steps to validate your market opportunity:

1. Do market research

Determine if there is enough market demand to support a direct and indirect strategy. By researching the market and related studies, you’ll further your understanding of the market. Once you’ve confirmed that the market demand is there, your research will help you craft your partner business propositions and improve your channel credibility.  

2. Craft Your Customer Value Proposition

Develop a clear and compelling customer value proposition to quickly build your resale channel. Define the solution you offer and the benefits to your end-customer in this statement. Your customer value proposition should include your benefits and competitive advantage.

3. Create Your Client Profiles

Client profiles are important for a channel model. Before you approach your first potential partner, you should be able to clearly articulate your target customer profile. This will help you educate your partners and assist them with their marketing and selling efforts. Elements of a customer profile include geography, customer size, vertical, department, buyer, and number of employees.  

Clients using Rev.io’s billing and back-office platform can leverage our customer management and business intelligence reporting to gather relevant data and flush out these client profiles. Not a client yet? Contact us to learn more about our platform. We’re rated among the best billing softwares for usage-based and recurring revenue models.  

4. Understand Your Top Competitors

Zero in on your top three competitors and then look for your competitive advantage over these competitors. Knowing your competition and their market, product messages, go-to-market business model, and several target clients, will help you as you approach new partnerships. Ultimately, having these competitor strategies defined will validate your business and help you select the right partner type.

3. develop a partnership proposition

It’s imperative to validate the partner opportunity to make sure there are compelling reasons for both businesses to join the partnership. Partner business propositions are different from the customer value proposition and they will be different from partner to partner. These channel partner strategy proposals should address the key reasons the relationship is beneficial to the two companies. A successful partnership is formed when your goals and strategies align.

 

A partner proposition should be created for each potential partner and address the following questions:

  • How will this relationship affect their business?
  • How will this relationship improve their end-customer experience?
  • What are the financial benefits for the partner and which services would they be able to wrap around the partnership?
  • How would this relationship help the prospective partner differentiate from their competition?

4. is your company ready?

Several internal aspects need to be addressed to ensure your company is ready to engage with the channel. Before launching the channel partner strategy, here are some considerations to help ensure your success:

1. Executive Alignment & Support

Each leader in your organization must be in alignment with the channel strategy as an effective go-to-market model. If a single department head is not in alignment, it will upset the entire initiative.

2. Build a Channel Team

A key ingredient to your company’s readiness is having various methods of support for your channel partners. For most companies, this means hiring a new Sales Team role, such as a Channel Manager. In addition, one critical success factor is defining this role, the expectations, and their short and long term goals.

3. Channel Tools and Resources

Partner training and enablement is critical to building a successful relationship. Prepare for new partner onboarding with tools and resources, including product documentation, technical sales knowledge, industry application for your product, sales collateral, and product demonstrations. Building a mutually beneficial channel relationship requires both parties to be knowledgeable about each others’ products and services.

A partner enablement tool, like Rev.io Agent Portal, gives you the technology to improve agent relationships. Our all-in-one solution was designed to help streamline communication with agents, improve end-customer satisfaction, provide agents with their customer information, and share sales collateral and training resources from one, consolidated place.

4. Channel Escalation Paths

Before launching a partner strategy, a clear escalation path needs to be defined to capture missteps and address issues that arise with mutual customers. Think through these escalation paths and prepare for potential issues that could occur during the sale, as customers transition, and with ongoing support.

Now that you’ve established partnerships, it’s important to nurture this relationship. When serving your mutual customers, your partnership should appear as a united front and should never point fingers back and forth. Established channel escalation paths make it easy to work directly with a partner and solve issues on behalf of the customer – and, both of the companies and the customer win!

Now that you understand the initial factors for evaluating a resale channel model and the preparation steps for your business, stay in touch to receive Part 2 of this blog series! We’ll send other tips and resources to help you improve your business and billing strategies, directly to your inbox. Or, contact us if you think Rev.io is a potential partner for you! As one of the best billing softwares for usage-based offerings, we’re always looking for new partnership opportunities.

Don’t think you’re a partner? Well, you can always evaluate our billing platform, Bill-on-Behalf-of solution, and Agent Portal to alleviate your back-office and customer management challenges. Clients using Rev.io have grown by more than two times the industry average for four consecutive years. Get in touch today!

5 Signs Your Business is Suffering From Revenue Leakage

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Could your business be losing money from revenue leakage? According to experts, the Communications industry saw estimated losses of $953 million due to revenue leakage. Don’t let your business suffer from this growing epidemic.Take a look at the following five signs of revenue leakage and see if any of these apply to your business.

1. lack of integrated usage-rating

Whether you’re charging a flat rate or billing for consumption, it’s imperative that you can view and manage customer usage in (near) real-time. A best-in-class billing platform automates usage-rating, giving you a pulse on your business and better visibility into your customers.

If you’re thinking about adopting a usage-based pricing model, take a look at our 4 Considerations for Consumption-Based Pricing blog post.   

2. spending time on manual processes

Communications and IoT service providers have experienced unprecedented growth rates in the last few years. The scalability of your business depends on the effectiveness of your internal processes. Whether you’re spending time calculating taxation, creating invoices, or managing payments, you’re losing hours that could be dedicated to growth.

Fortunately, a telecom billing or IoT monetization engine, like Rev.io, automates billing and improves customer service – so you can get back to building your business.

3. bill-run flexibility

Not all billing platforms are created equally. It’s important to know that the Billing-as-a-Service provider is evolving alongside your business. Before you trust any company with your revenue, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your billing platform enhancing their software with +1,600 releases each year?
  • Can you make last minute changes on the spot, create ad-hoc bills, reverse charges, and run bill cycles on your own?
  • Does your billing system provide an open API to support new integrations?
  • Are there programs in place for ongoing training or unlimited access to support teams and resources?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your business may have outgrown your billing system.

Telecom Billing System

In 2017, Rev.io enhanced their usage-based billing platform with 1,845 new development releases.

4. Built-in and CUSTOMIZABLE REPORTING

Very few businesses can prosper without proper business intelligence. At a bare minimum, your billing platform should come with backed-in reports for managing un-billable calls, past-due balances, and at-risk customers. However, a growing company looking to stay lean, add new offerings, and beat their competition will also need advanced functionality, like Rev.io’s robust report builder.  

5. limited customer experience tools

Regardless of your industry, superior customer experience is the number one separating factor for top-notch brands. Look for a telecom billing or IoT monetization engine that helps you improve customer satisfaction and revenue retention. Rev.io’s integrated customer and agent portals reduce support hours, elevate user experience, and streamline internal operations.

Rev.io exists to help our clients grow revenue efficiently. With a consultative approach to providing IoT telecom billing solutions, we see your customers as our customers. As a leader in usage-based billing, Rev.io’s company values and mission drive our organization. Whether you’re a large, enterprise evaluating new billing systems or just starting out in the Communications and IoT space, Rev.io can help. Contact Rev.io to get in touch with our team of experts today to see what we can do for you.

3 Characteristics of an Intelligent Billing Platform

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Why is it important to have an intelligent cloud based billing platform? Particularly for Communications and IoT service providers, operating without an automated billing, usage-rating, and customer/ device management solution can inhibit growth.

In our most recent survey, The Current State of Communications and IoT, 73% of companies said they’re seeing at least a 20% annual growth rate. If you’ve found the financial health of your business suffering from revenue leakage, billing errors, or high employee overhead, it’s time to consider other options.

Communications Billing System

When evaluating billing platforms, there are several ways to separate the duds from the game-changers. Look for a cloud based billing platform that meets the following characteristics:

1. customizable platform with scalability

Adopting a new technology consumes one of your biggest resources – time. Before you make an investment, be sure to think about where your company is headed. Will you be adding a new offering? Expanding into a new market? Moving from an inside sales to an agent model? Be sure to consider the scalability of the new software and your future company initiatives.

 An intelligent cloud based billing platform should eliminate manual processes and make it easier to grow.  Look for a customizable IoT and Communications billing platform with built-in inventory management, integrated tax calculation, and workflow automation capabilities. The leading Billing-as-a-Service platforms allow you to consolidate multiple systems and provides a clear picture into your revenue and customers.

A good platform will not only meet your company’s needs but will also empower your customers. Complement your offering with a robust self-service customer portal for tracking usage, support tickets, locations, and new orders. At Rev.io, we think of ourselves as your billing partner – rather than just another software – and we’ve developed additional tools to help clients improve satisfaction and reduce churn. By coupling our intelligent telecom billing platform with self-enablement portals, our clients build lasting relationships with customers and agents.

2. intelligent billing & integrated usage-rating

Subscription and pay-as-you-go pricing models have changed the way modern consumers and businesses interact. In order to stay current, Communications and IoT service providers must incorporate usage-based offerings into their services. With the right technology, consumption-based billing becomes simple. Look for an IoT and Communications billing platform with an established network of strategic partners and integrations; this will streamline manual processes by populating usage-rating and automating new orders, service suspensions, and disconnects. For additional usage-based billing tips, check out our 4 Considerations of Consumption-Based Pricing blog post!

In addition to facilitating usage-based pricing structures, you can identify a top-notch billing system by evaluating your billing partner’s development roadmap, ease of integration, and internal team. Here are some questions to ask while your searching for potential billing partners:

  • What percentage of your revenue do you reinvest into R&D for platform enhancements?
  • Are your software engineers?
  • Do you have a REST API or other method to build new integrations? (Check out Rev.io’s REST API design documentation here)
  • What methods are in place for clients to share their ideas or influence your development roadmap?
  • How many enhancements were made to the platform last year?
  • How many integrations have you built to third-party platforms?
  • BONUS QUESTION: How can I create custom proposals in the billing platform to quote potential new customers or orders?

3. established onboarding and ongoing training programs

After spending the time to thoroughly vet a new software and deciding to implement the technology, the last thing you want is to fall on your face during the onboarding or training phase. Inquiring about the onboarding process can save you time and money (and possibly a huge headache). The best billing platforms have created a detailed implementation model and have knowledgeable, in-house onboarding and training teams.

When evaluating a billing partner, here are the best questions to ask about onboarding:

  • Can you share with me the full onboarding plan and detailed documentation about the process?
  • Will our company have an assigned, main point of contact that works with us during the entire implementation?
  • Do you have technical experts to help with migrating data from our old platform?
  • How will I be notified as we move through different onboarding stages?
  • Who will be training our team on how to use the platform and what’s the process for the getting additional training afterwards?
  • Will any of our training sessions be in person?
  • BONUS QUESTION: Can I speak to two references who recently went through onboarding your platform?

Whether you’re just ensuring you’re in good hands with your current IoT or Communications billing system or already evaluating new back-office technologies, we can help! And the good news is, adopting a new platform doesn’t have to be daunting. Subscribe to receive industry news and tips to help you grow, delivered straight to your inbox. Or, request a demo to see how Rev.io can help you achieve revenue goals.

4 Considerations of Consumption-Based Pricing

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Is a pay-as-you-go pricing model and billing strategy the next big industry trend?

As subscription and IoT service providers, you can’t afford to fall behind your competition or ignore key changes in the market. That’s why we’ve decided to take a closer look at consumption-based pricing and what it takes to successfully support a usage-based service.

Subscription-based billing models have become the go-to strategy for many industries. In 2000, Salesforce.com was among the first in the software industry to charge a per-user, per-month price. Today, industry leaders are looking further than a simple subscription model to adopting consumption-based offerings instead. In fact, a growing number of subscription and IoT companies are shifting from flat-rate monthly fees to pay-as-you-go pricing. If you’re looking to disrupt your market with a usage-based service, take a look at our 4 “gotchas” and avoid some of the potential pitfalls.

1. managing usage

One key element to offering a  pay-per-use model is advanced billing capabilities. In order to successfully create a consumption-based business, you’ll need to be an expert in managing customers, calculating usage, and billing operations. Rather than throwing people at a broken problem, look for a usage-based billing system that can take your back-office to the next level. Carefully evaluate each vendor’s ease of integration, existing carrier provisioning, and development roadmap for enhancements. It’s important to find a partner that will evolve with your business.

2. forecasting revenue

Subscription services are predictable – making it easy to forecast long-term revenue. When offering a pay-per-use service, one thing to consider is standardizing your revenue with a monthly minimum charge. Even a small monthly minimum fee will help you forecast and provide a baseline for the financial health of your organization.

3. avoiding bill shock

Alleviate the possibility of higher-than-anticipated bills by providing your end-customers with a self-service portal for viewing usage, creating support tickets, and monitoring new orders. The best types of customer portals come with built-in reports and the ability to create custom reports. In addition to avoiding bill shock, customer-facing portals increase satisfaction and retention.

4. consumption based technologies

Your success hinges on your technologies. Consumption-based pricing solutions require different technologies and processes than traditional flat-rate pricing models. When you’re looking for new or improved billing and back-office software, be sure your platform has functionality for real-time usage reporting, automated rating, built-in tax calculation, improving customer visibility, and billing flexibility. An intelligent usage-based billing system will complement your service offering – and make it easier for you to monetize any pricing model.

Don’t let a flat-rate flat-line your revenue, check out our full Capturing Recurring Revenue with Usage-Based Pricing eBook for more information!

LEARN MORE

Don’t leave your success to chance. Partner with the right technology providers to ensure successful pay-as-you-go pricing adoption. Rev.io’s all-in-one-solution can tackle billing, customer management, tax calculation, reporting, order and service tracking, and more. We would love to help you disrupt your market! Our usage-based billing platform is perfect for subscription and IoT service providers looking to scale – let Rev.io take your team to the next level! Contact Rev.io by filling out a quick form or giving us a call at 866-470-5502 and learn more today!

The Current State of Communications & IoT

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The communications and IoT industry is constantly evolving. In order to keep up with competition, service providers must remain in-tune with new technologies, opportunities to expand, and differentiating strategies. That’s why we decided to launch our first “State of Communications and IoT” report. Rev.io, in conjunction with Altaworx, surveyed Communications and IoT leaders nationwide to explore:

  • Communications providers’ interest in expanding into IoT
  • The current technology landscape for Communications and IoT companies
  • Plans for growth and challenges facing the market

By surveying companies in the space, we hope to provide you with a pulse on the industry. Here are the key findings from our report:

iot expansion is a priority

The growing IoT buzz has caused a majority of service providers to pursue ways to complement their existing offering with an IoT service. However, not many in the Communications space have breached the gap to IoT. With plenty of green space in the field, we believe that those able to get to market fastest will be most successful.

IoT billing

differentiate with self-service technology

Communications and IoT providers are lagging behind other industries in the customer experience movement. With this movement, customers now expect service excellence and user enablement as part of all products and services. Unfortunately, our industry has been slow to react to this change. For service providers looking to grow revenue, we recommend differentiating from the norm by leaning into the user experience movement. We’re predicting that the service providers with the most customer enablement and self-service technology will win more deals and grow revenue, faster.

While the Communications and IoT markets are growing their portfolio of offerings, enabling customers through self-service portals and support technologies has not been a priority.

Telecom Billing

growth plans in place

Growth is stable across the board – a large majority reported annual growth rates of 20% or more –  and one-third of companies surveyed said they’re considering a merger or acquisition in the next three years. As companies prepare for an M&A in the internet of things future, it’s important to have clear visibility into operating margins and accurate BI reports. Rev.io recommends maximizing your valuation by putting technology in place today to manage financial, customer, billing, and tax data.

IoT Billing

Companies surveyed are preparing for growth through investing in new service offerings and improving customer experience to reduce churn. The team at Rev.io predicts many of those new service offerings to be in the IoT segment. Along with the migration towards pay-as-you-go pricing models, it makes sense for customer retention strategies to be top-of-mind. When managing a recurring revenue business, improving customer experience and reducing churn is important for predicting revenue growth for the internet of things future.

IoT Billing

manual processes & outdated technologies are hindering growth

Manual processes was selected by surveyors as the most common challenge in managing a recurring revenue business model. In addition, our report found that the lack of scalable billing and back-office solutions was the greatest hurdle for reaching business objectives this year.

IoT billing

Check out the full State of Communications and IoT infographic.

The good news? Rev.io does the heavy lifting on usage-rating and billing operations, so you can spend time scaling your business. With existing integrations in place to seamlessly manage new orders, service usage, taxation calculation, and support, Rev.io alleviates billing and customer management pain. The proof is in the platform – Rev.io clients grow by more than double the industry average. Click here to learn more about the Rev.io platform.

 

6 Tips for Conducting Better On-Site Sales Meetings

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The Software-as-a-Service (Saas) industry has revolutionized B2B sales teams and the selling process. Today, more than ever, opportunities are being sold – from start to finish – remotely and sales reps are leveraging new technology to facilitate virtual meetings (such as webinar and video conferencing). By eliminating the time and cost of travel, salespeople are able to reach significantly more prospects in a shorter period of time – leading to greater revenues at lower costs.

That said, oftentimes your largest potential customers will still request a face-to-face meeting; particularly if you’re selling complex solutions. We run into this a lot with our telecom billing platform – imagine replacing your system for managing customers, collecting revenue, tax calculation, ticketing, and automating workflows. At Rev.io, we’ve found that on-site meetings can be a critical component of moving large opportunities to closure. And, if done correctly, on-site meetings can become a powerful tool for a sales rep.

Before you take the time and expense (and ask your prospect to invest their time) to travel to an on-site sales meeting, it’s important to plan for the interaction. Here are some planning tips for conducting effective on-site sales meetings:

1. HOLD AN INITIAL MEETING REMOTELY

Before committing your company resources to travel to the potential customer, hold an initial discovery call to learn about your prospect’s business and qualify the opportunity. The qualifying meeting can help you gauge the prospect’s interest, identify if there is a need, and quantify the value associated with your solution. In addition, ask your executive contact/ sponsor to champion you holding interview calls with the key stakeholders in the project – you’ll want to gain their perspective prior to an on-site meeting as well.

2. PROPOSE A MEETING AGENDA IN ADVANCE

The most effective sales meetings have a clearly outlined agenda and topics to be communicated. When traveling to a prospect’s office, you should create a meeting agenda, share the written schedule with your prospect, and discuss the proposed topics in advance. Getting feedback before the meeting will help you cater the meeting to the potential customer’s specific concerns or questions, allow you to schedule outside resources to call into parts of the meeting (such as a technical sales engineer or onboarding expert), and show that you’re confident the meeting will be worth their time. Bring hard copies of the agenda to the meeting and hand these out to each of the attendees. This sets the tone of the meeting early on and sets the audience’s expectations of the topics and timeline.

2017_ON_SITE_AGENDA_Template

3. keep presentations focused on business initiatives

Use the intelligence gained from initial remote meetings to craft the message of your on-site presentation.  All presentations and product demonstrations should show how your solution will directly impact your prospect’s revenue growth, expense reduction, competitive advantage, or risk mitigation. If the content you’re sharing doesn’t tie back to one of those business initiatives, leave it out!

When you’re in the prospect’s office it can be easy to relinquish control of the meeting, but it’s imperative that you stick to the plan.

4. ask for feedback

On-site meetings with potential customers will typically involve stakeholders from multiple functional areas. Keep in mind, each person will have their own agenda and frame of reference when evaluating your solution. Near the end of the meeting, ask each attendee to write down at least one area of your solution that could benefit their functional department and at least one concern they have about your solution. Prior to concluding the presentation, go around the room and ask each individual to share those thoughts. It’s a beneficial exercise for you and for your audience.

5. SET ASIDE TIME WITH EXECUTIVE DECISION MAKERS

Don’t be alarmed if your executive decision makers don’t attend the entire on-site meeting. It’s very common for top executives to skip out on the detailed product demonstration or a deep-dive on implementation processes. While it’s okay for your executives to be absent for the detailed discussions, it is vital to set aside time with them to review business terms. When discussing the relationship between your two companies with an executive decision maker, bring in members of your executive team, whenever possible, so you can create executive alignment.

6. FOLLOW UP

Follow up your on-site meeting with a personal touch. Where most companies (and probably your competitors) will follow up with an email, stand out from the crowd by sending a handwritten thank you note to each attendee. For an even bigger impact, make the note personal by addressing a question they asked or specific use case they brought up – the extra time you spend on these notes will go a long way.  Lastly, send the notes with a small, branded gift from your marketing department, like a branded notebook or mug. Not only will you stand out from the competition, but you’ll also leave behind a little reminder of your solution.


Now that you know the 6 best practices to facilitate better on-site sales meetings, you’re ready to go out and start selling your UCaaS solution! We hope our effective sales meeting tips will help you improve close ratios and make a great impression on your prospects. Good luck!  For more information about the sales process or our IoT & telecom billing platform, please Contact Rev.io for more information about the sales process or our IoT & telecom billing platform. We’re here to chat.

 

How to Prevent Churn of Your Most Valuable Customers

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Churn (or cancellation) rate refers to the percentage of customers who leave your product or service. For usage or subscription-based businesses, it is arguably THE most important metric to monitor. A high churn rate is a classic sign that the business you are running is no longer sustainable. The good news? Taking action to both identify your most valuable customers and improve user experience can quickly remedy the problem.

Here are seven strategies to reduce customer churn and, ultimately, increase revenue.

Streamline Your Onboarding

Just like your website may provide the first impression before a sale, your onboarding experience sets the tone for the quality of service you provide to customers. If your onboarding experience is negative, choppy or unprofessional, your customers will expect the same level of support throughout your partnership. In fact, new customers are most likely to churn in the early days of onboarding, so creating a smooth platform transition is vital to your relationship. An effective onboarding process will build your customer’s trust, demonstrate the value of the product or service, and set the foundation for the remainder of the partnership.

Pro Tip: Earn your customer’s affection in the early days and win them for a lifetime.

Improve User Experience

While user experience (UX) typically refers to how easy or intuitive a product or website is to use, good UX really comes down to meeting the needs of your customers. Our customer retention tip? Encourage new hires to interact with your product and service before getting your official training. Their fresh eyes will give you visibility into how new customers might approach your product or service. This will help you identify gaps, watch user patterns, and determine what may be less than intuitive.

Pro Tip: Talk to your support team and make sure these gaps directly influence your roadmap.

Offer Additional Services

What kind of technology are you providing for your customers? In today’s competitive market, the answer to this question could make or break your churn rates. Add over-the-top value by offering services above and beyond basic connectivity and data connection. For example, self-service capabilities can empower your most valuable customers to take charge of their accounts and help you stand out in the market.

Pro Tip: Learn about how to effectively roll out a new product or service, right here.

Proactive Customer Monitoring

Thanks to modern APIs, business intelligence is no longer exclusive to enterprise companies. Organizations of all sizes can access predictive analytics to detect early warning signs of at-risk customers. Recurring revenue and subscription-based businesses can avoid churn by tracking metrics like frequency of user engagement, customer satisfaction scores, and more.

Pro Tip: Look for a customer management tool that offers custom reporting to track the information that matters most to your business.

Provide Better Billing

Adopting a modern, automated billing system can improve accuracy, build trust, and, ultimately, improve retention. Billing is personal for your customers. One small mistake can trigger a major chasm of trust between you and your customers. Whether your customers are facing an inaccurate charge or unpredictable billing rates, chances are that trust will not only get lost in the billing process but also in your product or service as a whole.

Pro Tip: You can’t afford to make billing mistakes. Read more about how better billing can drive your client retention strategy.

Increase Quality of Customer Care

Mistakes happen, but the quality of your customer support can reverse, or exacerbate, these issues. Almost 70% of the identifiable reasons why customers left typical companies had nothing to do with the product. The prevailing reason for switching was poor quality of service. Make sure your support team is prepared and empowered to deliver quality care and views each trouble ticket as an opportunity to deliver world-class care.

Pro Tip: Choose a service provider that keep their development and customer support in-house to prevent this pitfall.

Businesses spend 5x more to acquire a new customer versus what they spend to retain an existing customer. To see how Rev.io can help you predict and prevent churn of your most valuable customers, request a demo or contact us today.

4 Things to Avoid When Rolling Out A New Service Offering

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You’ve spent months pouring your heart and soul into the development of a product or service offering that you’re sure will change the world… or, at least, the industry and customers you serve. Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “Now what?” With all the noise in the services ecosystem, it takes more than a great product to make waves. Thoughtful planning and strategy is required for a successful new service launch.

Here are four common pitfalls to avoid when rolling out a new service offering:

Making False Assumptions

Assumption #1: The Product is Perfect
When it comes to rolling out a new service offering, assumptions can be your worst enemy. To combat this, define a process that evaluates your expectations to achieve better results. Regardless of the initial design, customer feedback and user experience could change the final service offering.

Assumption #2: The Whole Team is On the Same Page
It is easy to assume that your team is clear with deliverables, expectations, and specific details surrounding a product launch, but this is one of the hardest things to achieve. To avoid delay of the product release, replace generic requests like, “I need it soon” with something more specific like, “I need it by 8/1/17.” Be specific and clear and regularly check in with each member of the team to ensure you are all on the same page.

Assumption #3: Your Job’s Over After Launch
In reality, you’re just getting started. Every facet of your team is counting on you to guide them towards a better service and customer experience. Whether it’s setting up best practices for troubleshooting, creating training collateral for customers, or gathering strategic marketing materials, a successful product rollout is an endurance game, not a sprint.

Foregoing Transparency During Beta

Whether you decide to release a generally available product or test through beta, make sure this distinction is crystal clear to your customers. Without transparency, early adopters can get frustrated when working through the inevitable kinks of a less-than-fully-functional product. Our recommendation? Be bold and brave by spreading the word that you’re releasing a beta and that you’re open to feedback, and provide people with your future development roadmap.

If you’re having trouble finding people to participate in a beta, you may need to provide incentive offerings. Typically, your biggest advocates will be excited that you’re trying something new and happily volunteer. Plus, being open with clients about your new release can increase overall customer engagement and transparency. A win-win. Here are a few additional benefits of beta testing:

  • Gives your team the chance to make user-led modifications to existing functionality.
  • Helps gather ideas for future enhancements.
  • Lets you resolve any bugs or performance issues that would otherwise delay a successful launch.
  • Starts spreading the word about your new offering before general availability.

Avoiding Agility Post Launch

Great ideas and technology evolve over time, and customer testing and/or market research can only go so far. Your product may very well function differently once it’s released into the real world. Knowing this going in can help you be prepared to stay agile and flexible post launch. Rather than focusing all of your budget on the rollout itself, be sure to allocate some of your resources to post-launch updates.

Working in Silos

If there’s one piece of advice we would love to impart on our readers today, it would be to avoid building and launching any product or service in a silo. In today’s connected world, there’s no need. Whether it’s from customers, support, the c-suite, or your service community, aim to receive as much feedback as you can while remaining agile to support a better overall launch plan. If you’re solely relying on your development team, engineers, or IT experts for feedback, you’re missing a major opportunity to build a more comprehensive and thoughtful product.

Rev.io uses agile methodology as a framework for all of our internal projects. One of the key components? Agile retrospective. This refers to regular reflection on what’s working, what’s not working, and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, it’s about adjusting your behavior based on those outcomes. By embracing change, your team can become more effective in all areas of work. If you can get comfortable applying lessons learned from previous projects, you’ll be well on your way to a successful rollout.

Final words of wisdom…

Most importantly, as you’re developing a new offering and preparing for a product rollout, always keep your end users in mind. Embrace the experience you’re about to ask your customers to go through, and engage them through every step of the process.

Have questions? Contact Rev.io’s VP of Operations, Geneva Gross. Or, sign up for Rev.io’s newsletter to receive more content to help you learn and grow.

How Better Billing Can Help Your Customer Retention Strategy

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You have an excellent product that stands apart in your market. Conversion metrics are looking good and your business clearly has a solid handle on turning leads into paying customers. But once you win those customers, are you doing a good job of keeping them around?

Enter customer retention.

Customer retention refers to the actions a company takes to reduce the number of customer defections. It begins the moment a customer interacts with a company and continues throughout the lifetime of the relationship. Every service, product and interaction accumulates to determine the status of the relationship.

While customer retention is a critical metric for any business endeavor, it is especially important for subscription businesses relying on recurring revenue. Retaining the customer base you already have promotes sustainable growth. In fact, some say that customer retention is even more beneficial to a company’s financial health than new business.

Thanks to ever-evolving technology, rising customer expectations, and easy access to other options, maintaining customers is more challenging than ever and requires an all-encompassing, strategic approach.

Proof is in the numbers.

According to research from Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% – 95%. Managed properly, that is a huge return on investment. Finally, the likelihood of converting an existing customer into a repeat customer is 60% – 70%, while the probability of converting a new lead is 5% – 20%, at best. Whether you’re looking to grow your customer base by winning new deals or add new offerings to your existing portfolio, effective client retention strategies are just as important as these new initiatives.

In response to these glaring statistics, providing a more personalized and seamless user experience is the new approach that many Communications and Technology service providers are adopting. By combining billing, agile reporting, customized support, and a self-service customer portal, we’re creating a toolkit to provide your base with a better customer experience. Our sophisticated, quote-to-cash subscription billing software is helping businesses, like yours, grow by more than double the industry average by improving customer service, reducing churn, and increasing retention.

Why better billing should matter to you.

When you’re working hard to retain customers, but still noticing a gap in your revenue, there’s a good chance that revenue leakage is the problem. By overlooking or missing monthly recurring payments, you are creating involuntary churn – ouch.

With a strategic billing partner, you can make decisions with confidence, reduce errors, and manage customers, devices, and payments. Rev.io can help you provide a simplified onboarding experience, improve customer support, and reduce churn. We enable solutions providers to bill for any recurring, metered, or one-time service.

Whether you’re losing a customer to a competitor, or simply lack the customer service necessary to maintain happy customers, our subscription billing platform can help. Streamline and automate the entire customer experience with Rev.io. To learn more, schedule a demo or contact Rev.io today.

Top 7 Softwares Every Recurring Revenue Business Needs

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For the recurring revenue business owner, the notion of managing hundreds to thousands of customers isn’t a pipe dream – it’s an everyday reality.

While running a subscription business model can offer powerful predictability, customer management can quickly become a nightmare without visibility and optimization. Luckily, there are some incredible softwares on the market to help recurring revenue businesses like yours evolve from reactive to proactive in the customer management department.

Here are seven powerful online tools to help you connect the dots in the recurring revenue business ecosystem:

Zendesk

Customer experience top of mind? It should be. 88% of customers prefer doing business with a company that offers quality customer service over a company that has the latest and most innovative products. Zendesk builds software to help businesses like yours achieve better relationships with customers. Most recurring revenue businesses have to sift through massive amounts of customer data – this software helps you make sense of it all.

Kissmetrics

‘Who are my most valuable customers?’ ‘Which campaigns are bringing in the most revenue?’ ‘Which features do our customers value most?’ ‘What’s causing our customers to cancel services?’ These are all questions recurring revenue business owners ponder on a daily basis, and Kissmetrics provides the answers with valuable behavioral data. The platform is easy to use and will help you cut churn and increase upgrades.

Fullstory

Want to dive deeper into your customer experience? Fullstory can provide all the information you need to stay proactive. Their software helps tell the story of your customer journey by capturing every click, scroll, page transition, and more. You’ll be able to travel back in time to witness the exact moment a web user experienced friction in the buying journey. We appreciate the intuitive design and Atlanta-based address of this recurring revenue management platform.

Mixpanel

Navigating the product development process alone can be a long and lonely road. Mixpanel helps with this. Coining themselves as “the only product analytics platform that lets everyone in your organization deeply understand each user journey,” their software performs complex behavioral analysis and delivers actionable insights in seconds. We appreciate their 99.99% uptime.

Twilio

For all of our communications nerds out there, Twilio is a dream come true. Their cloud communications platform helps businesses build apps to communicate with…well…anyone in the world. They take care of the infrastructure so businesses can easily add messaging, voice and video to your web and mobile applications. Brilliant.

Salesforce

Recurring revenue business will be hard pressed to experience substantial growth without investing in a powerful CRM. Salesforce’s complete cloud-based suite of business applications grow with your business and offer some incredible perks – including a powerful community of experts committed to helping you grow. Salesforce helps recurring revenue businesses close more deals and connect with customers in a personal and powerful way.

Broadsoft

Global leaders in cloud communications, team collaboration and contact center solutions, we’re proud to feature Broadsoft  in our integrated billing solutions. As a unified communication software, Broadsoft offers businesses a comprehensive, mobile-integrated and open communication suite to make communication and collaboration easier.

Rev.io

Bonus round! So, we’ve filled you in on the top seven softwares you need to create a well-rounded recurring revenue ecosystem, but there’s one more we can’t help but include on the list. Rev.io helps you turn subscribers into lifelong customers by helping you optimize your revenue models and billing capabilities. If you’re interested in seeing how our telecom billing platform manage less and win more, request a demo today.

While specific software adoption is completely dependent on your business model, these tools are helpful for most recurring revenue businesses. See any that we missed? Leave us a comment below!

Optimizing Your Subscription and Recurring-Revenue Business

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If you’re a subscription business owner, you know how critical revenue optimization is to your bottom line. Perhaps you often wonder whether you are offering the right subscription at the right time for the right price. Or, once you lock in those customers, how you will encourage them to stick around for the long haul.

It all comes down to the numbers for recurring revenue businesses. Metrics should empower subscription businesses to gain a better understanding of their customer base while keeping a close eye on the overall health of the business. So we wanted to know – what metrics are the most important for a SaaS or subscription based business?

Since Rev.io is the system that powers billing, we took a look at all of the top reports used by our most successful clients. Interestingly, we found a fairly clear trend on which reports are used on a weekly, if not daily, basis… and we want to share them with you. Here are five critical metrics to optimize your subscription-based business for the very best results.

Keep a Close Eye on MRR

Your MRR (or Monthly Recurring Revenue) is the average of your pricing plans and billing periods, normalized to a monthly total.. Additional MRR will typically stem from new customers’ purchases or current customers upgrading. Check in with this number often to determine what lead to the change over previous months and be sure to watch trending data. If you notice a decrease month-over-month, you may have a bigger problem with customer retention. MRR gives you a clear view of your revenue stream and will point you in the right direction for further optimization.

Minimize Your Billing Errors

It may seem obvious but, without doubt, there is a correlation between increased billing errors and decreased customer LTV. Why? Modern customers expect flawless relationships with their service providers. One slip up on the back end could cause a lack of trust and eventual churn for recurring revenue businesses. There are plenty of service providers out there – make sure your customers have plenty of reasons to stick around.

Get Comfortable With A/R Aging

Don’t worry, we’re not going to take you back to accounting class, but the status of your accounts receivable is critical for optimization. These numbers will give you an idea of the overall effectiveness of your collections department and help you determine whether action is needed.

For subscription businesses, bills are sent and collected on a regular basis, making AR a critical part of operational success. Rev.io’s AR aging reports shows each customer’s current balance, 30-day balance, 60-day balance, 90-day balance, 120-day balance, and total balance. Having all of this data in one place makes monthly reconciliation faster and more effective.

Make LTV Your Best Friend

As your subscription business grows, you’ll start to turn your focus more to a customer’s LTV, the revenue a customer is expected to bring in over the course of their subscription. The goal of any recurring revenue business is to turn subscribers into lifelong customers, and LTV is the best way to track this long-term value. Increased LTV for a subscription business comes down to the product and the way you take care of your customers. Our integrated customer profiles make it easy to communicate and deliver with confidence.

Ready to optimize your revenue models at lightening speed? Don’t go at it alone – a powerful subscription billing system will give you all the insights and data you need to scale faster. Rev.io allows you to easily customize and manage your service offerings so you can upsell and cross-sell smarter. Check back in for more tips to grow and optimize your recurring revenue or subscription business.

Are You Leaving Revenue on the Table?

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Recurring revenue – it’s a beautiful thing…

…but it can be a total nightmare if you don’t have a strong billing system in place to handle its inherent complexity.  As adoption of highly customized recurring revenue models rapidly expands, more and more businesses are entering the subscription economy and looking for ways to adapt their back-office operations to keep up.

According to TUFF, revenue leakage is a real problem causing millions to be left on the table. They found that the communications industry suffered estimated losses of about $953 million (based on an average loss of 2.4% against total reported revenue). For many businesses, revenue leakage is a multi-faceted issue that can be difficult to spot and address. Leakage usually begins with small customer accounts that don’t seem like major problems but, overtime, can add up to a major loss in profit.

Facing these issues head-on can improve revenue assurance and give your organization the ability to scale. So, how can you eliminate revenue leakage while driving your business’ bottom line? Here are the top five ways to make it happen:

1) Track Different Usage

The ability to track and bill for different usage is key for those in the subscription space. For the modern consumer, pay-as-you-go pricing is not just desired , it’s expected. If your backoffice is lacking the ability to track different usage and execute metered billing, you’re missing out on revenue. Leveraging metered billing will help ensure that you’re charging for various usage and never leaving potential revenue on the table.

2) Deploy Auto Expirations for Discounts

Most service businesses offer discounts to customers who meet certain service level criteria. While this can increase sales in the short-term, overlooking expiration dates on these discounts can quickly eliminate your margins. In fact, Aberdeen estimates that a lack of data visibility can result in 10% lower revenue because unearned discounts are granted. Ensuring your billing system can support and automatically deploy auto expirations is vital for your business’s growth. Deploying auto expirations can help you avoid unwanted leakage.

3) Explore Tiered Pricing Models

Offering your service at different price points can help subscription businesses increase potential revenue. But with the amount of research and analysis necessary to launch, the pursuit of tiered pricing models can quickly become extremely daunting and, in some cases, out of reach. By gaining access to comprehensive, easily accessible data, you can empower your organization to deploy pricing models that truly impact your bottom line.

4) Optimize Current Packages

In order to mitigate and correct revenue leakage, businesses must first identify their gaps and quickly establish an end-to-end approach to avoid future challenges. Easier said than done. Before pursuing new lines of revenue or revamping your entire pricing structure, optimize the packages you already offer. A strong A/B testing plan can dramatically increase your revenue and ultimately minimize revenue leakage. Traditional siloed data analysis won’t cut it. For true optimization, you’ll need to move away from manual billing processes and adopt sophisticated IoT and telecom billing solutions.

5) Embrace Redundancy, Layer Mobility

Recent studies show that between one to three percent of all revenues are unbilled and between two to six percent of billed revenues go unpaid. This unbilled usage is hurting your bottom line. For every minute that your billing system goes down, you’re missing out on revenue you could have been earning. Wondering where you can find such a reliable system? We have your back – Rev.io’s platform has 99.99% uptime and built in redundancy so you never miss a beat and can monitor your customer’s usage with ease.

So, ask yourself – what’s holding my organization back from substantial growth? If the complexities of back office billing is the answer, know that Rev.io is here to help. Contact us anytime with questions or comment: info@rev.io.

AT&T Partner Exchange Summit 2016 Key Takeaways

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Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.- William Pollard

William Pollard

The AT&T Partner Exchange exists to grant solution providers like Rev.io the opportunity to offer our clients network services, mobile solutions, hosting services and applications from AT&T. This year, we joined this growing network of solution providers for the AT&T Partner Exchange Summit 2016. The network boasts over 500 members and we are thrilled to join the ranks.

This month, our team attended the AT&T Partner Exchange Summit 2016 in Dallas, Texas. This three day conference was packed with networking events and insights from AT&T’s top talent and thought leaders. It was truly amazing to be surrounded by other mobility and IoT enthusiasts who are making waves in our industry and beyond.

Didn’t have a chance to attend? No worries. We’re passionate about keeping you informed about the latest and greatest in IoT and innovation. Today is no exception – we’re providing you with our top five takeaways from the 2016 AT&T partner Exchange Summit:

IoT growth opportunities

Tuesday morning kicked off with a warm welcome from AT&T Partner Solutions president, Brooks McCorcle who focused on the increasing growth opportunities for solution providers today. In Q2 2016, there were 29 million connected devices on the AT&T network in the US alone. That number is expected to jump worldwide from six to 25 billion in the next four years. Big things are happening in the IoT space and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it all.

A new solution: NetBond

At the summit, AT&T announced that its partners now have access to offer NetBond, a cloud connection solution, to our customers. Andy Daudelin, AT&T’s Vice President of Cloud, sums up the decision; 2016-2017 is the year of integrated solutions, and that’s why we’re focused on the Partner Exchange with solution providers. We’ve got this robust infrastructure, and we’ve scaled it now it’s about how we configure and sell solutions.” With AT&T NetBond, you’ll get your customers up and running faster than ever and enjoy full security while taking advantage of all the opportunity the cloud can offer.

Mobility, mobility… and did we say mobility?

Mobility was a major focus for AT&T this year and the summit definitely reflected this theme as well. AT&T is dedicated to uncovering new ways to supply their partners with clearer visibility into their IoT environments. In March, AT&T’s VP of Marketing, Suzanne Galvanek, said, “Many of the solution providers in our program are on a wide spectrum as far as mobility experience is concerned. We do have some partners only doing wireline, and we think it’s a great opportunity for them to expand their business, revenue stream and margins by participating our mobility program. The result of this added mobility support? A 300% increase in mobility revenues from AT&T partners since 2015.

Change is accelerating

On Wednesday Senior VP, Kelly King, tackled the topic of the importance of teams adapting to change through innovation. Change is no longer a constant – it’s accelerating at a rapid pace. Innovation seems to be the new norm and it’s becoming easier than ever for markets to adapt and embrace new technologies. Our favorite line from Kelly? The team that learns the fastest is going to win the fastest. We completely agree.

We appreciate all the people and hard work that made this year’s AT&T Partner Exchange summit so informative and impactful. It’s invaluable to have such an established network of partners by our side as our subscription billing platform helps facilitate innovation and growth for your business. Interested in growing your business? We’re here to help.

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