99% of IOT and M2M articles I have ever read start by quoting the incredible projections of connected devices we will see in the future, not to mention the masses of data this will produce and the myriad of uses this data could be put to. This is all very well, but for Telecommunication carriers and MVNOs to actually realise revenue from all this, customer acquisition and the ability to bill these customers are fundamental to un-tap the potential boon being touted.
M2M is different to previous mobile products in terms of how tailored a plan or offering must be to attract a potential customer. Different industries have different needs as do different companies within those industries. If you consider also the advent of the Global M2M sim which is what we are seeing more and more, tailoring a customer offering often results in an extremely complex pricing schedule with global network allowances, inclusions and exclusions and SIM lifecycle billing implications to name a few of the problem areas.
..more than ever the sales process is inextricably linked to billing capability ..
Traditionally, billing is a reactive part of a telecommunications carrier business, meaning that Marketing or Sales generally come up with ideas and billing are consulted as to whether it is possible to achieve or not. In my experience with M2M/IOT, generally the answer is "No", or "with some development…Yes". This approach to carrier billing does not suit the M2M customer acquisition process.
Success for M2M carriers in the highly competitive M2M sphere hinges on:
More than ever with M2M the sales process is inextricably linked to the billing capability of the carrier and their vendors. Therefore successful carriers will take a more collaborative approach by including the billing experts and vendors in the Sales and Marketing process.
Sales and Billing must work together like never before to fine tune propositions and offerings for specific customers – bring the billing vendor into the conversation.
Is your vendor on the journey with you or are they hindering your progress?
As such, your M2M billing vendor needs to be M2M experienced but more importantly.. ENGAGED in order to:
In summary, M2M success requires a new type of billing vendor and the questions you must ask yourself as a Carrier or MVNO selling M2M solutions are:
Simon Coyne, Director, Altercomglobal.com