An 8-Part Series

The Telecom Expense Management (TEM) Industry Has to Change

Part Five: The Buyer & Seller Relationship

Scroll to read Part 5 of the series now, or download the PDF.

The TEM Industry has to Change An Eight-Part Article Series

We’ll be publishing these eight articles between September and December 2022. Be sure to subscribe to AOTMP® Insights to be notified of the latest releases. 

  • So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same.
  • $4+ trillion in products, services, and solutions … a huge industry.
  • There is a reason we can’t get more than a handful of $50 million plus TEM providers.
  • Why is it that many other industries have gone from nothing to billion-dollar industries … but not TEM?
  • The service provider environment – carriers, mobility providers and others.
  • Call it technology, cloud, SaaS, network, or anything else … it doesn’t fix the problem.
  • Why is there so much churn in this industry?
  • We’re stuck in the past – the hamster wheel
  • The impact of private equity – what it has helped and what it has not.
  • Opportunities are everywhere … for businesses, for vendors and for financial partners.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • When will enterprises place value on other aspects of TEM, and not just cost savings?
  • Is there value on just having an accurate inventory?
  • Is there value on just getting your invoices processed and ready to pay on time?
  • Is there value on leveraging the buyer knowledge with seller technology?
  • How do vendors better demonstrate value other than hard-dollar cost savings?
  • A great presentation with not one word of hard dollar cost savings … would a buyer buy it?
  • How do organizations like Salesforce or ServiceNow sell without a focus on hard dollar savings?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • What must change in the selling and buying process?
  • Procurement has a role, but it’s not to stop all communications between the buyers and the sellers.
  • Communications must change, be more transparent and open throughout the process.
  • The fishing expedition – why do enterprises send out 300 question RFP’s, make the TEM vendors jump through hoops, when they plan to stick with what they have, or they don’t even have budget approval?
  • What do the vendors gain by pitching smoke and mirrors and saying they can do everything, even when they can’t?
  • You’re looking for your 4th, 5th, 6th or even 7th TEM provider. Isn’t it time to look in the mirror?
  • You’re pitching to an organization on their 4th TEM provider? That should prompt a different discussion.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • Say What? The $30 million annual spender who saves $1 million each year. Soon it should be free?
  • The more spend I manage, the more I need to charge versus the more savings I create for my customer, the better I am.
  • My TEM provider is no longer saving me any money and therefore I can’t justify the cost and need to change providers? Is the provider doing a poor job or a good job?
  • Save Me Money? Yes, but not so much that it makes me look bad.
  • What do you mean you found me $5 million in savings? That’s going to cost me my job.
  • The CIO of a $100 million spender who said “if you save me more than $1 million a year, you will be fired”
  • It’s Ground Hog Day. I keep saving the same money over and over again.
  • What about the root cause? Where is the focus on the core challenges?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • When will there be real partnerships created between buyers and sellers?
  • Why is it that buyers and sellers can’t seem to communicate at the first sign of trouble … and it only gets worse from there?
  • When will the enterprises realize that there is no perfect solution in this very complex and difficult industry?
  • When does an accurate inventory become the most important discussion point?
  • Everyone wants a great relationship, but enterprises oftentimes don’t let the vendors talk to the business owners during the initial sales process. How does that create a foundation for a successful relationship?
  • The Quarterly Business Review (QBR) … the focus needs to change. It’s not about all the great things we have done. We just love to drive from the rear-view mirror and you know how that ends up.
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • What is a Telecom and Mobility Management Center of Excellence anyways?
  • Vendors and business customers really can work together to build a world class telecom and mobility management environment.
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the vendor side and what role do they play?
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the enterprise / buyer side and what role do they play?
  • Telecom and mobility management functions don’t need to be the support organization in your company – position it to be a driver of business results.
  • How do all parties show more value and contributions to the business?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to buyers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to sellers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.

Series Overview

AOTMP® is a 19-year-old company that has both vendor and business customers in the telecom, mobility, and IT management industry. We have been consultants and trusted advisors for all customers in the past. We have collected data from our database of over 100,000 emailable industry professionals. We know what works. We know what doesn’t. Today, AOTMP® is an information services company supporting telecom, mobility, and IT professionals across the globe through training, certifications, association memberships, events & programs, best practices, publications, resources, and professional development. 

We see the great relationships. We see the churn. We hear about the great buyers and the unreasonable buyers. We hear about the effective and the ineffective vendors. We see the buyers who will never have a successful TEM program until they change internally. We see the sellers who will say anything and go beyond reasonable ethics to get a deal. We hear the vendors who say they have never lost a customer, yet we can easily dispute it. We see the enterprise buyers who put 100% of the blame on their vendor, yet the greatest challenge is within their own organization. We see the many happy relationships and we see the many relationships that just exist because it’s too painful to change. And we see the major investor wins along with huge investor losses in the tens of millions of dollars. We see it all. 

As we watch many other industries become multi-billion-dollar industries, from the CRM industry to the bill payment industry to ITSM with ServiceNow growing to nearly $6 billion in 20 years, the TEM segment of our telecom, mobility, and IT management industry just continues to struggle. That’s concerning given the significant opportunities on both the buyer and seller side, which in turn drives the investor side. There are so many growth opportunities; however, they are offset by so many inhibitors. It all just says, as buyers and sellers, we just haven’t yet figured out how to execute. There is no reason we can’t work together and have billion-dollar telecom and mobility management vendors serving world-class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence, with both sides making a much more significant contribution to overall business results. 

So, the question is how do we move the industry forward? How do we move to a new level? Or can we? If not, what happens to the industry? Does the waste and inefficiency just continue, and we live with it? Do we just continue to make marginal improvement? Do we continue in the very fast-moving hamster wheel we live in? After all, we do have a lot of great vendors and a lot of great buyer environments, but not enough to make an industry out of the huge opportunity sitting in front of our eyes.

Given the multi-billion-dollar industry opportunity, offset by the significant growth inhibitors, we had to do something. We had to start. It will be like moving a mountain, but for the good of the industry, we had to take the first step. We started with two articles, the first focused on vendor recommendations for buyers followed by buyers’ recommendations for vendors. Then, in July, we held our first Industry Solution Showcase where we re-imagined how buyers and sellers connect. It was a great success from both sides. Everyone is looking for something different. 

Armed with all the insight and experience, and feedback from the first three initiatives, we decided to author this eight-part article series, not to just point out all the challenges, but to bring awareness to all the growth opportunities right in front of us if we can work together to affect change. It must start somewhere, and it starts with one vendor and one buyer, then two vendors and two buyers, and builds from there. 

You can follow along with the eight-part series in our AOTMP® Insights publication. And you can be assured there will be more initiatives to follow. It doesn’t stop here. Already in planning are initiatives at our annual AOTMP® Engage conference, potential webinars, and promoting Industry Value Challenge submissions we mention and receive throughout the Series. And there will be plenty more. 

Given what we have seen in the industry over the years, along with what we see and hear today, we believe the greatest opportunities for growth for both the vendors and the businesses lie in five core areas. You will see this theme throughout the Series.

We believe the greatest opportunities for growth for both the vendors and the businesses lie in five core areas.

Improving the buy and sell process.

Agree to open and transparent communications throughout the process, regardless of the issue.

Developing stronger vendor – customer partnerships.

Problems are going to happen; commit to focusing on solutions, not penalizing each other.

Focusing on value beyond cost savings.

Help each other identify, quantify, and realize value beyond cost savings.

Building world class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence.

Work together to build environments that contribute to overall strategic business results.

Accelerating buyer and seller growth opportunities.

Help each other identify opportunities for growth in their respective businesses.

This Industry is Not Easy

The Telecom Expense Management (TEM) industry is one of the fastest moving and most complex industries you can find. There are new options developing daily. There are changes in our environments, almost by the hour in some cases. There are hundreds of providers with different naming conventions, different meanings, and different ways to work with them. We have internal teams that want things yesterday. We have pressure from management. Devices are changing faster than we can keep up. User demands change quickly. Invoices don’t comply with contracts. Install timeframes that sometimes last many months. Constant follow-ups that must happen. Delayed service availability. Changing needs of the business. Changing solutions offered by the many different types of providers. Team turnover on the provider side. The list goes on and on. 

And we are supposed to take that set of circumstances and be able to grow our industry? It’s a tall order for sure.

There is No Perfect Solution

The first thing businesses need to realize is there is no perfect TEM solution. We can’t tell you how many hundreds of times we have seen businesses move TEM providers because a few things weren’t working perfectly. The business was in search of the perfect solution. It’s not out there. There are always going to be challenges. 

As a side note, we see a majority of new business for solution providers coming from take-away deals. That is a significant industry issue in and of itself. 

And this grass is not always greener on the other side. 

We get asked nearly every week who is the best solution provider. Our answer today is the same as it was 15 years ago. There is not a clear leader in this industry, or a one size fits all solution. Yes, there are providers that have more revenues. That doesn’t make them the best. There are providers that have more team members. Some providers cover more global regions. Some have less customer churn. That doesn’t necessarily make them better or the best. There are some that do things better than others. But at the end of the day, we do not see an undisputed leader in the industry … yet. Or another way to look at it is that we haven’t seen a “Gold Standard” just yet. 

Don’t get us wrong. There are many great providers. And you don’t have to be the biggest to be the best. There are many small and mid-size providers, and even some relatively new providers, who are the perfect fit for some businesses. This industry is not just about the largest providers as some might think. 

We will know we are on our way as a successful industry when we have one or two “Gold Standard” providers and everyone knows it and accepts it. Does that mean they are the only and best solutions? No. Does it mean we all have someone to learn from? Yes. 

As an example, Salesforce quickly became the perceived leader in CRM. Does that mean they are the best? Not necessarily. Did they capture the largest market share? Yes. Does that make them the best? Not necessarily. But because of their revenues, their market share, their constant innovation, and their solution, they were, and are, perceived as the industry leader. We don’t have that yet in the TEM industry. And it’s hard to get there when we are still in search of the $500 million TEM players in a world where there is over $4 trillion to manage. 

Bottom line is there is no “Gold Standard” leader and no perfect solution and yet many businesses are in search of one and they spend a lot of time, money, and resources looking for one.

It’s like we are chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Why Businesses Leave

AOTMP® sees the following as the top 3 reasons businesses leave their provider:

1) Lack of data integrity – data / inventory / reports are not complete or accurate, leaving the enterprise in a situation of not being able to depend on the data coming out of the system. 

2) Poor implementation – expectations are not in alignment from the start and when the implementation starts off bad, it is hard to recover.

3) Poor service from the provider – the service provider lacks in communication, responsiveness, does not deliver contract commitments, timely fixes to platform bugs, and much more. 

⚠️ Caution

While these reasons are the most common and are aimed at the seller / provider being at fault, we often see cases where the buyer / business needs to look in the mirror.  Often, the buyer / business has flawed or unsustainable expectations like 20-30% year over year savings and if those expectations are not met, the buyer / business changes providers hoping for different results (see Part 4). There are many cases of the blame-the-service-provider game when it is not fully warranted. In fact, we see that more than 50% of the time. Rarely do we hear either side saying what they could have done differently to prevent the relationship break-up. But we hear consistent blame based on “what the other side did.” It is often easier to blame than to look in the mirror. 

There is No Perfect Environment

One of the greatest challenges we see in the industry, which is an inhibitor to growth, is we kid ourselves at the beginning of a buyer – seller relationship thinking that everything in the relationship will be flawless. In the back of our minds, we know that’s not the case, yet we try to move forward as if it will be great or perfect. That is a huge and often costly mistake. 

If there are not at least 4 to 8 hours spent across several conversations between the buyer and seller talking just about the challenges in the buyer side environment, then the first mistake has been made. We see and hear about it all the time. Buyers are in a hurry to get implemented, sellers are in a hurry to generate revenues, and very little time is spent on fully understanding the situation or developing contingencies and communication plans that set the foundation for a mutually successful relationship. Anytime we see one or two demos or meetings as the sole foundation for a relationship, we just know the relationship is headed for trouble.  

Both sides need to know up-front the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of the other and the potential challenges that need to be addressed. And just as important, buyers need to be honest with themselves and with the seller about what happened with the last provider that didn’t work out. All the cards need to be on the table to have any shot at success. Was the problem really the provider side or was it on the buyer side? Nine times out of ten the buyer will say it was the provider but that is often not the case. Very rarely do we see where it is a one-sided issue only.  

That’s like saying we got divorced and it was 100% my spouse’s fault. Not usually the case. That’s what we often do in this industry, blame the other side. We have seen it so many times, and with no accountability for our own challenges. It doesn’t happen every time, but certainly a majority of the time.  

Every buyer environment has challenges and the more time spent talking about them up front, the more likely you create a stronger buyer – seller relationship. The conversation and every relationship should be grounded with the top 5 potential challenges you are going to have working with our environment. You should have a list that might include things like:

1) We might not have the resources at the time we need them for integration.

2) We might not be able to find all our contracts.

3) We have providers in undeveloped countries where we cannot get our information electronically. 

4) Our IT leader team is not really a fan of TEM.

5) We have a lot of personal preferences that don’t really align to the department.

6) We make decisions by committee and that often takes longer than expected.

7) Our last provider had challenges with us in the following areas … [fill in the blank].

If that conversation can happen right up front, the chances of a stronger relationship increase significantly. 

And by the way, the same conversation should happen from the provider side. Here is where our limitations are and what we can and can’t do and where we may have challenges on our side. That’s fine and expected but the critical question to answer should be … What can we do together to tackle the challenges of both sides? 

Everyone must work together to help solve or work through each other’s challenges. 

We Act Like Enemies Instead of Partners

Why is it that buyers and sellers can’t seem to communicate at the first sign of trouble … and it only gets worse from there? Why do we run or hide or stop communicating instead of facing the challenges head-on or admitting we have our own challenges? This applies to both the buyer and the seller side. We see this over and over again in this industry. One side gets frustrated at whatever the issue is, and all communications stop, and the blame game ensues. It’s crazy but many seem to think that’s the best approach. And while this doesn’t happen every time, it happens frequently. 

The best conversations that grow relationships are often the hardest conversations, whether in our industry, our careers, or our personal lives.

Nobody wants to have a hard conversation. It’s much easier to ignore. So much time and money are wasted in this industry, not to mention how waste and inefficiency inhibits the path to excellence, all because we don’t want to have hard or challenging conversations and admit our own issues. Instead, we point fingers and don’t hold ourselves and organizations accountable. 

While we constantly hear about the providers that did this or that or the customers who can’t or didn’t do this or that, rarely do we hear, this is what I could have done differently. Where is the ownership? Where is the accountability? Relationships will change significantly when:

1) Both sides truly want a long-term partnership, not just speak the overused words “we are looking to partner.” What is the definition of partnership from both sides anyways?

2) Both sides look in the mirror and see what’s really there. It’s like trying to have a marriage without full disclosure. It doesn’t work. 

3) Both sides take ownership and get their own challenges on the table. It’s like an addiction recovery process. The first thing you must admit you have a problem. 

4) Both sides look at the relationship as one to help each other solve and deal with challenges, sometimes beyond their control. What happens when a spouse, a significant other or child has a problem. Do you shut down or do you try to help? Again, communication is key. 

5) Both sides spend more time communicating. It’s more work to communicate than to not, but it pays off greatly over the course of the relationship. It saves time, it saves money, it saves a lot of pain. And it starts in the procurement process when oftentimes both the business user and the vendor seller are cut off from communicating with each other. That’s ridiculous. See our previous article on this topic.  

Remember:

  • The grass is not always greener on the other side. 
  • The next provider is not always going to be better. It could be worse.
  • The next customer is not always going to be better. It could be worse.
  • You are better off trying harder at fixing what you have, and it starts by looking in the mirror.  

It Takes a Team

We are all trying to add value. We are all trying to be the best we can be. We are all trying to make a greater contribution to our respective organizations. We really want to be good, or even great, and many want to advance their careers. 

But oftentimes in this industry we are like a pro football team where all the players are blaming each other for their losses. They quit communicating. They point fingers. There is tension in the locker room. Do those teams win? Do they win championships? Do they motivate each other? Do they bring value to their owners. No. They lose in nearly every aspect, including on the field on Sunday.

On the other hand, the teams that win and provide value to their ownership are the one’s built on complete teamwork and communications. It is not just the offense or the defense or the special teams. It’s the back office and the front office, it’s the coaches, the nutritionists, the travel arrangers, the team’s 3rd party vendors, the field maintenance crew, and every other group that touches the team. They all must work together to provide the most value to the overall organization. We, as an industry, need that same approach. We all must help each other. It must be a team approach. It’s core to our individual, team, and industry success.    

Remember, this industry is hard. There is nothing easy about it. And there is no easy way to face it other than to face it together. Facing it apart very rarely works. Facing it together is really the only answer. 

We all know this. It’s nothing new or earth-shattering. But sometimes we forget or get lost in the trees and can’t see the forest.

Focus on the Relationship by…

Based on what AOTMP® has seen in the industry over many years, below is what we believe needs to be the focus in order to significantly increase the chances of building a successful relationship, a long-term partnership, a better managed environment, more revenues for the provider, and more value to all the business stakeholders. 

1) Have more than 2 or 3 conversations before a relationship is even formalized with an agreement. The more time you spend up front getting to know each other, the greater your chances of success. 

2) Encourage open and honest conversations throughout the entire sales and delivery process. Commit to clear expectation setting on both sides. 

3) Bad things and tough situations are going to happen. Talk through them, don’t hide, or ignore them.

4) Don’t buy the low-cost provider. Buy the value match. It pays off many times over and takes strain off the relationship.

5) Don’t expect gold star service from the lowest cost provider. You get what you pay for. There is a reason gold star service cannot be provided. A $75,000 a year savings on the buyer-seller contract may cost you many times that. There is a reason a provider can’t commit the resources needed for a great relationship.  

6) Focus on accurate data. Accurate data will automatically strengthen the relationship. Having inventory services without MACD integration for instance is a recipe for a breakup.

7) Provide full transparency. Come to the table and keep the other party up to date with your own greatest challenges. Both sides will have more respect for each other. 

8) Change how you do QBRs. They are a great tool to strengthen the relationship. See our previous article discussion on QBRs.

9) Commit to working with each other through any circumstance. We will never be able to solve every issue but at least commit to talking through it openly and honestly. That will work 90% of the time. 

10) Resolution First should be everyone’s motto.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

The more you communicate, the greater the chances of a successful long-term relationship.

 

Continue Reading What Our Growth Partners Have to Say

Valmont Industries is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Valmont to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

Know What You Want

One of the largest frustrations for any relationship is not having a firm grasp of your problem before you start solving it (aka Ready, Fire, Aim).  If you know there’s a problem, research it, ask for help to analyze it, if need be.  Frame what you are asking to have solved.  Knowing the boundaries of the business issue at hand is important to set parameters for your solution you’re buying, controls costs and sets expectations of “done”.

Don’t Sell Me Something I Don’t Need

Two-part topic: when asked to help solve a problem as a partner, be one.  Recommend, propose, sell a solution which solves the business issue at hand.  Don’t oversell it, don’t over promise, don’t upsell.  Please just solve the problem – you do, we’ll be back.  Secondly, please do not push solutions we don’t have a problem to solve.  While I totally get the need to stay current and to be strategic, there’s a place for it.  Let us get the “new and shiny” into our Strat-Plan.  This timing gives us the opportunity to evaluate the business value and ensure the timing and coordination is right.

Doing both of improvements for your engagements helps you be successful in all your partnerships.

– Glenn Leatherwood, IT Manager 

Lightyear is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Lightyear to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

Telecom service providers must invest in digitizing their workflows and datasets for improved vendor discovery, ease of interaction, and transparency. In 2022, enterprises must pay for expensive software or manually reach out to vendors just to determine if a service provider is available at their location, while validating pricing is an even more arduous task.The buy and sell process could present significantly less friction for buyers with automation. 

Clear, proactive communication by service providers, particularly around installations, would significantly improve the telecom buy and sell process. Circuit installations are the most frequently cited buyer pain point regarding telecom procurement, and a large portion of their pain comes from poor communication (and sometimes no communication) around process steps and delays. Improved and proactive communication lines surrounding installs could significantly improve telecom service provider NPS. 

Lightyear improves the telecom buy / sell process by a factor of 10 through automation and data transparency. Lightyear automates the most tedious components of the procurement process with software (RFP configuration, vendor outreach, quoting, implementation management etc.) and utilizes data to ensure that an exhaustive vendor search is completed and that the best possible pricing is received every time. During and post-installation, Lightyear ensures that vendor-customer communications are streamlined and digitized for ease of project management.

– Dennis Thankachan, CEO 

 

G2, Inc. is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked G2 to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

Without a doubt, improvements must be made with increasing the honesty and transparency during the sales process.  Too often we come across sales organizations who have completely eroded any sense of trust with their buyers, leaving the next company in the door to clean up the mess.  There are far too many companies “selling dreams and delivering nightmares” in this industry and not enough companies building successful relationships with their buyers based on delivering exactly what they promised and a sense of pride in their service. 

At G2, we have continually put an emphasis on transparency into our core focus and expertise, letting our buyers know exactly where we can help them and where we cannot.  We always set proper expectations, especially on savings forecasts, for each and every engagement.  Once a savings forecast is delivered to a prospective customer it is VERY problematic for them to pull those numbers back in their own internal forecasts, especially with the executives where expectations have already been established.  In our view, there is nothing worse than over promising and under delivering on a client engagement.

– Justin Fuller, CEO 

Calero-MDSL is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Calero-MDSL to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.  

The greatest improvement will stem from the following two aspects that feed into one another in a constant cycle and are the foundation to a true partnership.  

  • Communication – transparent conversation around objectives, needs, and expectations on both sides enables mutual goal-setting and the mapping of a singular path to success.    
  • Commitment – establishing and upholding clear roles and responsibilities at an individual level, defining ownership and accountability throughout the customer journey that tie back to mutual goals and enable benchmarking that points back to and reinforces the joint commitment made to success.  

What we’re doing to improve it…  

Appreciating the complexities of a successful TEM partnership and recognizing the need to offer a clear path to success, Calero-MDSL has created the newly formed Program Consulting division, a team of consultants that conducts regular deep-dives into customer solutions, evaluates against a nuanced scorecard, and provides rich recommendations to optimize and drive greater success within the partnership.

– Scott Howard, VP Program Consulting

Motus is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Motus to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

During implementation and after a client has launched, we think it is crucial to maintain a consistent cadence and open communication on the goals of objectives of the MMS program. Implementation is frequently a key handoff where often the person “buying” the solution may not be the same daily POC or admin. This is where disconnect and expectations can be (re) created and continuity from Day 1 is key in setting the program success factors.  

What are we doing to improve our own relationships: We have added additional CSM support, so every account has a consistent point person and owner of the solution goals and objectives. 

– Mitch Black, Executive Vice President – Device Solutions

CloudAdmin is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked CloudAdmin to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships. 

The first and best place to make improvements in the buyer/seller relationship is for both sides to be honest with each other in what is being asked for and what is being delivered.  Transparency and trust are essential for a strong buyer/seller relationship, and it is impossible to overstate the importance of each side coming to the table with those virtues.  Value and cost are the driving forces behind any sale.  It’s important for both sides to keep that in mind during negotiations.   

Using Improvement 1 above as a foundation, provide clear, defined, mutually agreed upon (and auditable) data points throughout the selling process to keep the process on track. Fast, light, easily used tools to provide analytics to the customer will more readily enable buy-in from line of business owners, budget owners and technical verification and delivery people at every stage in the process.

– Pawel Gieniec, CEO & Founder

Asignet is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Asignet to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

To achieve great results, the relationship between buyers and sellers in any industry should be one of transparency, collaboration, openness, and trust. It is fundamental that the supplier clearly understands what the seller desired outcome is. The only way that this can be achieved is by having a clear line of communication between both parties and the ability to define from the very beginning of the partnership what is expected not only in terms of timelines, resources etc but also what is the value that the supplier is adding to the buyers bottom line. 

At Asignet we are dedicated to creating strong collaborative relationships with our clients. We are investing a tremendous amount of resources to have the right professionals in the right place throughout the entire sales and customer lifecycle. One example is our Proof-of-Concept (POC) process that has been shortened and improved to give our clients a clear view on the dynamics of the partnership and what results they will get.  

– Carolina Lobos, VP Marketing 

Sakon is showing their commitment to change by becoming an AOTMP® Industry Growth Partner.

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We asked Sakon to provide two improvements they believe could be made in buyer and seller relationships across the industry and secondly, what their company is doing to improve their buyer / seller relationships.

If we had to pick two improvements, they would definitely be a commitment to full transparency and commitment to respecting the buyer’s purchasing guidelines. 

At Sakon, we pledge to let the buyers know of the true boundaries with our solutions while also not going around or above the designated buyer team. 

– Brian Barger, Global Sales Executive  

Coming Next in the Series

  • What is a Telecom and Mobility Management Center of Excellence anyways?
  • Vendors and business customers really can work together to build a world class telecom and mobility management environment.
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the vendor side and what role do they play?
  • Who are the critical stakeholders on the enterprise / buyer side and what role do they play?
  • Telecom and mobility management functions don’t need to be the support organization in your company – position it to be a driver of business results.
  • How do all parties show more value and contributions to the business?
  • Quotes, recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to buyers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.
  • AOTMP®’s top five recommendations to sellers.
  • Recommendations, or commitments from our sponsors.

Watch for future initiatives related to this series

A New eBook: The CEO & CIO Blueprint for Extracting More Business Value from Telecom, Mobility & IT Management in 2023. Expected Publication – January 2023.

Building a Business Case SeriesHelping organizations make informed decisions with greater confidence for solutions that support more than 25 telecom, mobility, and IT management work streams.

Best Practice Series – Telecom, Mobility & IT Management Best Practices in 2023: Principles, Actions & Results. A 25 plus book collection of best practices with peer use cases and recommendations that address more than 25 essential telecom, mobility, and IT management work streams.

AOTMP® Industry Growth Partners

AOTMP® Industry Growth Partners are organizations that are committed to “moving the needle” in one or more of the following areas:

Improving the buy and sell process → Agree to open and transparent communications throughout the process, regardless of the issue.

Developing stronger vendor-customer partnerships → Problems are going to happen; commit to focusing on solutions, not penalizing each other.

Focusing on creating or realizing value beyond cost savings → Help each other identify, quantify, and realize value beyond cost savings.

Building world class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence → Work together to build environments that contribute to overall strategic business results.

Accelerating buyer and seller growth opportunities → Help each other identify opportunities for growth in their respective business.

AOTMP Industry Growth Partner logo badge

Join us if you are:

A buyer/business customer who wants to capitalize on more opportunities to bring a greater contribution and more value to your organization.

A seller/vendor who wants to see more opportunities to grow and help build world-class telecom and mobility management organizations.

An investor/financial partner in the market who wants to see more opportunities and a much higher ROI from telecom and mobility management investments.

Background

AOTMP® is a global organization, empowering professionals in the dynamic $4+ trillion telecom, mobility, and IT management industry. AOTMP® delivers value through training, certifications, association memberships, events & programs, best practices, publications, resources, and professional development. Learn more at www.aotmp.com.

As we watch many other industries become multi-billion-dollar industries, from the CRM industry to the bill payment industry to ITSM with ServiceNow growing to nearly $6 billion in 20 years, the TEM segment of our telecom, mobility, and IT management industry just continues to struggle. That’s concerning given the significant opportunities on both the buyer and seller side, which in turn drives the investor side. There are so many growth opportunities; however, they are offset by so many inhibitors. It all just says, as buyers and sellers, we just haven’t yet figured out how to execute. There is no reason we can’t work together and have billion-dollar telecom and mobility management vendors serving world-class telecom and mobility management Centers of Excellence, with both sides making a much more significant contribution to overall business results. So, the question is how do we move the industry forward? How do we move to a new level? Or can we? If not, what happens to the industry? Does the waste and inefficiency just continue, and we live with it? Do we just continue to make marginal improvement? Do we continue in the very fast-moving hamster wheel we live in? After all, we do have a lot of great vendors and a lot of great buyer environments, but not enough to make an industry out of the huge opportunity sitting in front of our eyes. 

Given the multi-billion-dollar industry opportunity, offset by the significant growth inhibitors, we had to do something. We had to start. It will be like moving a mountain, but for the good of the industry, we had to take the first step. We started with two articles, the first focused on vendor recommendations for buyers followed by buyers’ recommendations for vendors. Then, in July, we held our first Industry Solution Showcase where we re-imagined how buyers and sellers connect. Now we are going to take it a step further and explore the industry, the challenges, and the opportunities, all in an eight-part series to be published in AOTMP® Insights.

Tim Lybrook
CEO

Timothy C. Colwell
Executive Vice President

Read the Whole Series

Part 8: Message to the Sellers

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