Monday, May 30, 2011

Top 20 global mobile operators by revenue

Mature markets such as Western Europe, USA, Japan and South Korea continue to generate the most revenue for mobile operator groups, according to a new Wireless Intelligence operator ranking study. European-based operator groups Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom all made the top ten, as did the four nationwide US operators. Operators in Japan and South Korea also scored highly in revenue terms despite having significantly fewer customers than most other groups in the ranking. By contrast, many large operator groups in emerging markets typically generate less revenue as they tend to operate in highly price-sensitive prepaid markets.

China Mobile was ranked number one in the list with revenue of US$19.9 billion in Q4 2010, a rise of 6 percent from a year ago. The operator maintains its leadership on the back of its huge customer base in China (it surpassed 600 million connections in Q1 2011), though ARPU has fallen over the year as its connections growth has concentrated on less affluent customers. Its 3G penetration also remains relatively low, with just 26.99 million customers using 3G terminals – equivalent to 4.5 percent of the total base in Q4.

Vodafone Group was ranked second both in terms of revenue and connections, the UK-based group's revenue rising by 1.6 percent to US$15.2 billion in Q4. The group is currently in the process of selling-off many of its minority assets in a bid to maximise shareholder value, offloading stakes in China Mobile, France's Vivendi and Poland's Polkomtel. However, it maintains its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless; the US market-leader ranked third on our list, turning over quarterly revenue of US$14.2 billion, up 4.8 percent year-on-year.

Verizon Wireless' domestic US rivals are also ranked highly. Its closest competitor AT&T is ranked fourth with revenues rising 9.6 percent year-on-year, while US number three Sprint is ranked at #10. The fourth-placed US operator, T-Mobile USA, is owned by Deutsche Telekom, which was ranked number seven despite group revenue dropping 6.9 percent. However, revenue from its US unit grew over the year. The group's revenue decline was due mainly to the removal from Deutsche Telekom's books in 2010 of Everything Everywhere, its UK joint venture with France Telecom (the French firm – ranked number eight - had removed the asset prior to the year-ago period so did not see a similar revenue impact).

Many of the large European operators blamed negative regulatory developments (notably reductions in mobile termination rates), fierce competition and a weak macro-economic environment across the Eurozone for declining revenue. In many of these highly-penetrated markets, operators are also required to invest heavily in customer retention and subsidies.

Fifth-placed Telefonica was one of the few operator groups to benefit from a significant revenue boost from its emerging markets, with its buy-out of Brazil's Vivo last year largely responsible for a 32.9 percent increase in revenue in Q4. On an organic basis (with the Vivo contribution excluded), the Spanish-based group would have increased revenue by 3.2 percent year-on-year.

Japanese market-leader NTT Docomo is ranked number six on our list, while its domestic rivals KDDI (#11) and SoftBank Mobile (#13) also make the ranking. SoftBank recorded revenues of US$4 billion in Q4, up 14 percent, despite a customer base of just 24.4 million (the lowest in the top 20). SoftBank Mobile claims to be the first operator in the world to generate more than 50 percent of ARPU via non-SMS data services. Similarly, South Korea's largest operator SK Telecom (#18) also benefited from operating in a mature market, making our list despite a low connections base of 25.7 million.

Large operator groups that are not present in these key mature markets did not rank highly in terms of revenue even though they often serve many more customers. Latin America-focused America Movil is the third-largest operator group in terms of total connections but only ranked number nine in terms of revenue; Africa-focused MTN is ranked number eight in terms of connections but only #14 by revenue. The biggest example of this trend is Bharti Airtel; the Indian-based operator expanded into 16 African markets in 2010 and grew revenues by 63.6 percent year-on-year in Q4. However, Bharti is ranked only #17 in our list despite a connections base of almost 200 million.

Operator GroupRevenue
(US$ billion)
YoY Growth,
Revenue (%) 1
(million) 2
1 China Mobile 19.9 6.0 584.0
2 Vodafone Group 15.2 1.6 353.0
3 Verizon Wireless 14.2 4.8 102.2
4 AT&T Group 13.8 9.6 95.5
5 Telefónica Group 3 12.2 32.9 220.2
6 NTT Docomo Group 11.5 -1.6 57.2
7 Deutsche Telekom Group 9.3 -6.9 133.2
8 France Telecom Group 8.1 5.2 110.2
9 América Móvil Group 3 7.2 -1.3 225.0
10 Sprint (Sprint Nextel) 6.5 3.0 49.9
11 au (KDDI) 5.7 -6.4 32.5
12 Telecom Italia Group 4.9 2.0 82.0
13 SoftBank Mobile 4.0 14.0 24.4
14 MTN Group 3.9 5.9 111.1
15 Vivendi Group 3.4 -1.7 38.6
16 China Unicom 3.3 21.5 167.4
17 Bharti Airtel Group 2.9 63.6 199.6
18 SK Telecom 2.8 3.6 25.7
19 Saudi Telecom Company 2.6 -0.8 31.1
20 Telenor Group 2.5 11.1 108.8

Mobile operator group global ranking by revenue Q4 2010
Source: Wireless Intelligence

Wireless Intelligence is the definitive source of mobile operator data, analysis and forecasts, delivering the most accurate and complete set of industry metrics available. Relied on by a customer base of over 700 of the world's mobile operators, device vendors, equipment manufacturers and leading financial and consultancy firms, the data set is the most scrutinised in the industry. With over 5 million individual data points – updated daily – the service provides coverage of the performance of all 940 operators and 700 MVNOs across 2,200 networks, 55 groups and 225 countries worldwide.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Time To Think More Expansively About Provisioning Mobility Solutions

Given these mobile productivity challenges, clearly it is becoming increasingly important for employers to provide their work force with the right technologies when mobile. According to our survey, laptops are the most widely provided mobility tool, but only 28 percent of employees have one provided to them by their employer. Similarly, mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, netbooks and tablets are reserved for only a small minority of the work force.

The Right People

Our survey underscores the need for wider mobility initiatives. Employers need to look beyond the obvious executive candidates and expand their mobility initiatives to fully remote or mobile on-the-road workers. Although connectivity is particularly important for top executives, it is also important to middle managers, who spend 25 percent of their time away from their primary workspace, and staffers, who spend 16 percent of their primary workspace, and staffers, who spend 16 percent of their time away. And these figures are only likely to increase, further underscoring the need for employers to widen their mobility scope.

Since middle managers currently spend 25 percent of their time away from their primary workspace, they are on the cusp of the threshold beyond which mobile technologies become less of a nice-to-have and more of a necessity. Indeed, an increasing proportion of middle managers say they believe new mobile devices would be useful for work. For this segment, smartphones are the most popular (with 45 percent already owning one, and another 15 percent saying they would be useful), but netbooks (19 percent already owning) and tablets (19 percent showing interest) are also prominent.

Some specific middle management segments pose stronger requirements for connectivity in general, including sales and business development and professional services. Customer service middle management tends to gravitate toward handheld computer/ PDA devices and smartphones. Educators also show great interest in mobile technologies across the board.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sales Tip: Closing & Asking for the order

It’s amazing to me how many sales professionals go through all the work involved with setting up a sales presentation and don’t execute the most important one, asking for the order. Think about it ! We plan out our strategy, prospect potential candidates, go to meeting or set up phone calls, qualifying the client and presenting features and benefits of our product or service. Most sales people keep talking when they have already sold the product. Why do they do this? Because they never asked for the sale. They never asked the customer “would you be interested in buying from me”. I’ve seen some sales representatives actually talk themselves out of a sale. They end up saying something wrong or giving too much informatio
n and actually sell and lose the client in the same conversation. Why do we do this?

In my experience most sales people expect the customer to take the next step and inform you that they would like to buy from you. This is correct but you have to first ask for the sale. After talking this over with a sales rep of mine earlier I’ve found out that this can be do to nerves or the desire for one to talk about themselves. This is huge ” no no” in sales. You want to be customer focused and never focused on anything else. Remember, your product is the answer these people have been looking for.

To help with you track your progress throughout the sale I suggest using what I call “trial closes”. These trial closes are simple questions that confirm that you on on the right path with the prospect. This path leads to you closing the sale at the end of the call. You’ll want to make them very high level. Consider asking the client (after presenting you product/service) “Does this sound like it would help?” or You’d like that wouldn’t you? or my favorite “Is this something that might be if interest to you?”.  If the answer is yes, ASK FOR THE ORDER!  If your presentation sounds good to the prospect he might be ready to buy right then and there.  Follow up all positive trial closes with a standard close.  Try something like “Well if that interests you shall we move forward?” Once you offer a standard close dint say a single thing more until they do.
Timing is everything is this business and when to talk and when to bite your tongue can are skills that define a successful sales executive and one of the most important things to know.

For more great sales resources visit

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sales Tip: Nothing Happens Till you Sell Something

We work so hard to get the deal. Investing time and research into our clients and getting to know every detail about their lives. We educate them about our product, providing way more information than they will ever retain or need to know. We craft the most thorough and competitive proposal, and then we get the deal!

It seems our job should be done, right? We can sit back, take a deep breathe and soak in the rewards of our hard work?

Wrong! In reality, nothing happens until something is sold! Then, the REAL work begins!
When I started in sales, I can remember being thrilled to get my first deal! I was selling print advertising. I put so much effort into creating a relationship with them and demonstrating that our publication was the best way to reach their audience. When that contract came back with my client’s signature, I was ready to celebrate!

The office manager then came to my desk; “Their credit wasn’t approved.” I needed to get them to pre-pay which wasn’t going to be easy. Next, the production manager came to my office; “The materials they submitted were not the right format.” I needed to call and give the client more specific instructions. They were a small company and didn’t have a graphic designer. They needed help. I wasn’t authorized to offer free service from our production department. It was not a very big contract, so they would have to pay for their service. I had to go back and re-work the entire contract. These were all major hurdles that came after the sale had been finalized.

The challenge really begins when that contract is signed. Whether a print ad, a color printer, the newest high-tech MRI machine or construction equipment. Going after the sale is what you do every day. It’s what you know. Once that contract is signed, the mystery becomes what kind of challenge is coming your way next. We spend a lot of time putting out fires. The challenge is to put that flame out before the client walks away from the contract or decides not to come back once it expires.

If you haven’t learned yet, here is your lesson; BE PREPARED. Understand that if you let your guard down when that contract is signed, you’ll be hit that much harder on the other end. Be prepared that there will be fires to put out and loose ends to tie up. BE ORGANIZED. Try to foresee some of the challenges and loose ends that may cross your path ahead of time. BE PATIENT. You need to expect these challenges and handle them in a positive manner. Maintaining a patient mindset with co-workers will make it easier for them to want to help you. If you need to bring a challenge to your client’s attention, be as helpful as you can to help them through it. Think long term. You want this client to come back to you again and again. The more positive, patient and helpful you are, the more likely they will continue to come back, despite a few bumps in the road.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 Ways to Beef Up Sales – Immediately

Last week, one of my clients—we’ll call him Rick—had a demo scheduled with a prospect. The standard "show up and throw up" they typically did early in the sales cycle.

Trying to shorten the sales cycle, I asked naively, "Why does the customer want to buy? What are they trying to accomplish?" Rick couldn’t tell me. I asked if he thought the salespeople knew. He said no. I gave him an assignment: he had to find out "Why," "Why now," and "What’s it worth." Otherwise no demo.

So Rick took a risk, and is rapidly moving to a fully-paid trial implementation.
Sure, long-term objectives and plans still matter, but I’ve been getting more and more inquiries focused on "what to do now." Entrepreneurs and executives alike are demanding help on how to improve revenues and profits right away.

How do you make the quickest difference? Focus the bulk of your energy on revenue generation. In other words, sales! And don’t do it the same old way either, because — as you may have noticed — it isn’t working that well.

Here are five ways for your sales force to bring in more business in short order. There are no magic bullets, but just last week I taught one of these techniques to a client (#2) and he used it to close a deal the following day! Use one or use them all. Each technique will have its own effect, and each will multiply the power of the others.

1. Sell return on investment, and sell it to the CFO.

Sales people are complaining that while the pipeline may be full, the deals are taking too long to close. Perhaps that’s why the pipe is so full! What are the reasons for this? Companies have money, and in many cases they have needs. But many people are so scared THEIR customers aren’t going to buy THEIR wares, they are loath to spend any money themselves. The result? They are only willing to spend money when they absolutely see near-term financial payback, and the CFO is killing many deals.

The solution? Sell the return on investment. Sell the payback. And sell it to the CFO. Arm your salespeople with two things: A series of case studies that document the returns from using your product, and a well-defined ROI process worksheet. Work with the CFO to build the ROI case so that he or she owns it.

This is the only way they come to believe it. Make it their idea and instead of killing your deal, they will help you close it.

2. Forget USP. Determine your Usage Cases

Instead of focusing on why your product is the latest and greatest, clarify the ways in which potential customers will use your product to solve specific problems and produce tangible results. Then, instead of touting the "benefits" of your product–which often fall on deaf ears, anyway–engage your prospects in conversations about what costly and quantifiable problems they now have, and how they might use your product or service to alleviate those.

And, as sales guru Mike Bosworth says, don’t tell them your offering IS the solution. You’re a sales "guy" and they won’t believe you. Instead, ask them if your possible solution might help them. If they believe it does, they have accepted your solution as truth. Then get them to tell you, in real dollar terms, what fixing that problem is worth.

3. Increase Sales Training. Use the 10% solution.

But don’t expect any one salesperson–even your superstars–to be 100% at every part of your sales process. They almost never are. But there is a way you can raise the level of every person in your sales organization—immediately.

Use this process adopted from W. Edwards Demming’s principle of optimization. Break your sales process into as many discrete–but meaningful–steps as you can.. Cold calling. Letter writing. Setting appointments. Identifying pain. Writing proposals. Presenting. And so on. Find out who in your organization excels at each step, and have those reps explain their methods and mindset to the rest of your sales force. Do all the steps at once in a marathon session, or one step at a time. Either way, the results will be amazing.

4. Use the 80/20 Rule. And get rid of the bottom 20.

There’s no room in today’s world for mediocre producers. Hold each member of your team accountable for reaching two kinds of performance benchmarks: results measurements, which include not only revenue, but perhaps new accounts and repeat business, and action measurements, which might include prospecting calls, appointments, and new contacts.

Not every sales person will be a superstar, but every one should pay their own way–and then some. Salespeople who aren’t producing not only cost you money, they drag down the performance of your whole organization. You may not pay them very much, but why pay them anything? I suggest you do both yourself and them a favor, and let them go. Don’t worry about having an empty desk: that warm chair was an expense your company doesn’t need.

If you feel it isn’t fair to "dump" them, or if your sales cycle is too long to measure short-term revenue results, give the problem reps a 30-day plan to increase their level of activity in specific ways. That’s long enough to see an improvement if there’s going to be one.

5. Track your results and work harder

Most entrepreneurial sales organizations fail to analyze their efforts. They have no idea how much effort–or money–it takes to create a new customer. The only indication they have of whether salespeople are "doing enough" is based on the revenue numbers. The answer? Track both activity and results, and use the statistics your garner to quickly raise performance. Break your sales process into a series of meaningful steps, counting each time a rep completes one. Calculate averages and set a benchmark. And while you’re at it, analyze the percentage of deals that close whenever you complete that step. That knowledge can dramatically improve your sales forecasts.

Once you establish benchmarks–this one’s a no-brainer–RAISE THE BAR. Yes, that’s right, because the fact is, revenue isn’t coming in fast enough. Do everything discussed above to improve your sales effectiveness–then do more of it. Just working smarter isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to have to work harder as well. And anyone who doesn’t want to? See number 4 above.

Author: Paul Lemberg

Monday, May 16, 2011

CRM Best Practices

So what is CRM? Simply put, CRM is putting your customer at the heart of your business. Today it is more important than ever to build better relationships with your customers as, in this day and age of social media, they now talk to 130+ people at a time. They have a megaphone, making it easier for positive and negative messages to spread fast and wide.

With the support of technology, the goal of CRM is to have a 360-degree view of the customer which will enable you to improve the quality and satisfaction of each customer interaction and maximize the profitability of your customer relationships... a win/win for both you and your customers. Depending on how you look at it, CRM can be practiced in companies at different levels. It can be practiced at the organizational level (ideally). It can be practiced at a customer facing level - anything that has to do with interactions with customers, marketing, sales and service. Or It can be practiced at the very functional level, like in a call center within a sales force, etc. While we can look at CRM on many different levels, our definition of CRM is at a strategic level i.e. an organizational level.

CRM is similar to customer loyalty and relationship marketing in that the goal is to move your customer from a transactional interaction to an emotional relationship. The two components most often missing from loyalty and relationship marketing being: a) technology and b) the management of relationships with other members of the business network: affiliates, branches, employees etc. - i.e. recognizing your customer as a customer through any channel.

The term CRM, arguably, was first put into the public domain around 1993, when Tom Siebel came up with it. So it is closely connected to Siebel Systems - an IT company. Hence the problem. Many executives are under the misconception that CRM is principally an IT implementation... which explains many of its failures -- and there have been many of them. If technology is applied to a faulty business strategy, all that is going to happen is that the company is going to become more efficient at doing the wrong things. If the core business strategy isn't put right first, you'll have failure. As we view CRM more as a strategy than a process... get the business strategy right first. Decide which customers or segments to target. Develop sensible customer acquisition, retention and development plans. Sort out the channel strategy first (direct or indirect) then sort out which products, services, bundles of value to offer the chosen customers. Once that's in position, then start looking for IT to support it -- but not until then.

We spoke earlier about putting your customer at the heart of your business. Part of that process involves developing a "relationship" with your customer. How your customers define that relationship will vary. As the CRM marketer, it is up to you to find out what's important to that customer. At the end of the day, you want to be able to answer the question: "What’s the “one thing” that is distinctive about my customer relationships?

As we are in a business of one sort or another, our goal as marketers, is to have CRM help us acquire, grow and retain profitable customer relationships to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Without a doubt, customer loyalty is a key driver of profitability. Creating customer loyalty must be an integral part of your organization's strategy - particularly in a time of industry consolidation. Understanding customers' requirements is fundamental to business success.
"It's incredibly arrogant for a company to believe it can deliver the same sort of product that its rivals do and actually do better for very long. That's especially true today, when the flow of information and capital is incredibly fast."
-- Michael Porter
The most important basis for strategy development, however, is a comprehensive understanding of what drives customer loyalty and how strong those drivers are. The key to understanding what drives your customers' loyalty lies in finding answers to the following questions:
  • How does our business define customer loyalty?
  • Are our customers loyal? To what extent or intensity?
  • How do we create, build or earn customer loyalty?
  • How can we use customer loyalty strategically and tactically for positioning? 
 The first step in answering these questions is to measure both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In working toward a thorough understanding of your customer, begin by looking at why your customers leave. Profitable CRM projects start by understanding customer needs.  

"If growth is what you're after, you won't learn much from complex measurements of customer satisfaction or retention. You simply need to know what your customers tell their friends about you."
Great service and customer recommendations alone are not sufficient for relationships. If you give poor service you won't have a relationship. And if you give great service, you might not have a relationship if you don't take care of that relationship, knowing your customers' preferences. It is essential to have a solid grasp of which factors in your business relationship with your customers are most important to them. Listen to your customers and then begin developing your CRM strategy because if you don't satisfy your customers, they won't come back. And remember:
a) CRM isn't CRM unless it affects the customer's experience
b) CRM is a strategy, not a project
c) CRM should improve ROI
d) Technology is a means, not an end
e) You want a 360-degree of your customer
Consider the checklist below. We believe that these strategies will enhance your likelihood of long-term CRM success.

1: Get sponsorship from the top brass. If management doesn't believe in the new approach, why should the employees? Implementing CRM requires working across organizational boundaries and breaking down long-term siloed behaviors and attitudes. You can't do that by yourself! Many times the difference between a successful CRM strategy and a huge waste of money is backing from the executive suite.

2: Build a team. Prior to developing your CRM strategy or selecting your CRM software, form a CRM team with representatives from each department to make sure colleagues' needs and concerns are addressed. Too often companies neglect to include the correct stakeholders, and the initiative fails to meet the needs of those tied to its results. Pick your CRM team wisely - everyone will need to own the customer experience. Remember in forming the team, consider people, process, and technology as all will be affected.

3: Define your business objectives? Your CRM strategy must be designed with your business objectives and customer requirements in mind.

4: Identify who your customer is. Is there agreement on definition of "customer?" - The marketing department of an automobile company might consider a "customer" to be a dealer, but the call center might consider it to be a driver. Have consensus on this and other key definitions. Can you identify your customers across multiple touch points (retail, call center, mail, catalog, web and e-mail)?

Consider life stages. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are roughly 75 million baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), more than 49 million gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1979), more than 72 million gen Yers (born between 1980 and 1999), and 40 million millennials (born between 2000 and now).
5: Differentiate. Identify your customer segments - your high-value and high potential customers. Know who you want to serve. Understand what that customer wants? Prioritize. What is the customer worth and what is their potential worth? 

6: Understand your Customers - what they want, and how they want it from you.

7: Agree on desired customer behaviors - build consensus on how you want customers to behave differently and what the customer experience will be... from the customer's perspective. Design a different customer experience for each customer segment.

8: Define customer experience goals. Articulate the customer experience. How should your experience feel? Identify important business interactions e.g. high volume or high cost. Identify interactions that are important to the customer - high involvement and high perceived importance. Evaluate performance: How are these interactions currently handled by your company? Are there opportunities for improvement? Focus on hot spots: Identify the areas that require your greatest focus and will provide the greatest potential return.

Many companies don't have a good connection with customers. That's why firms should consider developing a systematic approach for incorporating the needs of customers into the design of customer experiences - ideally led by a senior officer who will act as the voice of the customer. The key to developing a successful new customer experience is to develop a response to a customer need that is unique, compelling, and adoptable. A response so attractive that customers are willing to change long-standing, often deeply ingrained behavior.

9: Have an integrated customer strategy. Today interactive marketing is a fragmented discipline in which marketers work with many different vendors to develop and execute marketing programs. Recognize that disparate databases of customer information prevent companies from gaining a holistic view of the customer throughout the organization. Break down those silos. Line of business managers are often employing tactics that address products and not customers. That is because they are still looking at accounts on file, rather than at customer relationships e.g. banks that send two offers within a short time span - one that recommends consolidating their debt into a home equity loan and the other that offers a balance transfer for their credit card.
10: Define and map data requirements - You'll need to know what customer data is necessary and from what system it will originate. See your customer through the same lens. A firm understanding of the level of customer data - account or household level - is critical. Do you plan to append external data? If so, what types: household size, income, psychographics, ZIP, real estate information etc.

11: Standardize data. Various departments in your organization may see your customer quite differently from another. Using one integrated set of analytical data throughout the company can help executives to make key decisions about how much to invest in a particular customer.

12: Dialogue with your customers. Have a clear (and realistic) picture of who you are in the matter of serving your customer. What do you value? What are you really selling them (are you reliable? Are you the most creative?)? It's not just a list of products, you need to focus on what you're trying to be to your customers. Make sure individuals are recognized at all contact points. Have you truly defined your privacy policy? Understand your company's boundaries for using data about your customers. And ask customers how they want to interact with your company.

Keep your promises. Remind customers of promises kept and take responsibility for promises unfulfilled. Respond quickly to customer queries. Whether they send an email or leave a message, or come to the service counter, customers' time is precious.

13: Get personal. Customers hate to feel like the sales agent is reading to them from a script. Learn your customers' personal needs and profiles and target your service to each individual. It will make them feel important and that you value the relationship. In order to do this effectively, you need to staff and empower your talent pool appropriately to deliver on the customer experience. To do this effectively, focus on people, process and tools.
14: Develop success metrics - How will you know if your CRM program has been a success?

15: Create customer engagement programs (acquisition, growth and retention). Customer engagement is a process, not an event. Too often retention is treated as a project, rather than a guiding principle.
Move your customers through the lifecycle... to maximize their value. Utilize business rules: