article

Wireless Expense Management: The Channel Opportunity

By Matt Coffy

**Editor’s Note: Once you’re done reading this article, check out our slide shows, 

15 Client-Friendly Features of WEM”

and

Overcoming Objections to Wireless Expense Management Sales,”

where Matt Coffy offers more expert tips and techniques for selling wireless expense management.**

As you determine how mobility products and services will be part of your portfolio, you should be aware of the opportunity to drive new income while helping your clients save money and time with wireless expense management.

The first in series on wireless expense management, this article will explore WEM basics and explain the opportunity for channel partners. Future articles will cover WEM for international services, carrier negotiation strategies, wireless management outsourcing and client management.

CHANNEL OPPORTUNITY

Many businesses feel they are spending more than they would like to for wireless service and related add-ons. The result is a growing market for channel partners to provide wireless expense management either themselves or through an outsourcer.

For the customer, WEMs biggest selling point is saving 20 to 40 percent of monthly recurring costs on their wireless accounts. Plus there is nothing new to buy. Nothing physically changes in a customers existing wireless environment, except the carrier bill is reduced. The customer is not required to change carriers, handsets or carrier contacts. 

The advantages of this opportunity for partners are many.

Open new doors. The WEM value proposition offers you an opportunity to open doors to new accounts that may not have been previously accessible.

Earn customer trust. A channel partner can gain trust from a customer by providing them with a thorough and methodical analysis of their wireless phone usage and pave the way for much clearer control over current spending and continued savings over the long haul.

Generate new revenue. When selling WEM, the general rule of thumb is to split a portion of the customers total monthly savings as the fee. Usually the split of the savings with the customer is accomplished over a term period of months or as an agreed upon amount of total monthly savings captured over a given period of time. If you use a vendor to perform the services for a customer, be sure to work through the details on how the customer will be billed and how long the saving split will last.

Here is an example of how a traditional WEM solution would pay out for a channel partner using an outside vendor. We find the average savings for a customer is about 30 percent, so well assume this in the following example:

  • Customer Monthly Wireless Bill = $50,000
    (500 phones @ $100 a phone)
  • Savings Gained After Optimization = $15,000
    ($50,000 x .30)
  • Customer Wireless Bill (Post Optimization) = $35,000
  • 50 Percent Savings Split With Customer Paid to Vendor Monthly = $7,500
  • 40/60 Split Payment to Agent on Vendor Invoices = $3,000
  • A 12-Month Agent Agreement = $36,000

Identify upsell options. Providing WEM offers you visibility into customer purchasing decisions and technology upgrades and gives you information needed to sell them other wireless services and products.

Gain account control. By providing WEM, a channel partner is the catalyst to control the steerage of the account, no matter who the carrier of choice may be.

WIRELESS OPTIMIZATION

Helping your customer with wireless optimization involves a lot of moving parts, but generally these fall into a few overarching areas.

Compare Plans. What is the customer presently spending per month and what are they getting for it? Are there variable expenses that can be stabilized or reduced under a new plan? Is there anything excessive that may be altered or adjusted?

Its extremely helpful to see a full year of monthly charges to get a handle on when usage spikes and when it is at a low point. 

Align With User Needs. Whatever plan you recommend to your customer, make sure that it is compatible with their needs. Remember that the point is to save your customer as much cash as possible and to allow them to manage their wireless service effectively. Never take anything for granted. In reviewing their wireless expenses, be sure to ask questions regarding usage and the need for specific services.

Clarify Billing. One of the problems that many companies face when it comes to wireless service is billing errors. Being able to explain billing and to answer questions regarding it will prove to make you invaluable to your customer. This type of customer service can go a long way in your securing and retaining a business client.

Create a Customer Care Policy. Developing a customer care policy that is clearly outlined is a great way to develop client trust and to also ensure that you and company are on the same page. What aspects of customer care will you be involved in, and in what way will you ensure a clients satisfaction? A solid customer care policy can help differentiate you from the competition.

Ease the Transition. Any type of optimization can be stressful and when a company is making transitions to your recommendations there are bound to be questions, concerns and glitches. The more organized you are in helping to ease them into the new optimization strategy the less stressful the process will be. 

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

The first thing you must do to help a customer optimize wireless spend is to performs a needs assessment so ensure that you understand your customers needs and how much they are presently spending. Once you get a clear picture of this, you will be able to recommend a plan.

Know your customers wireless inventory. When working with a customer on reducing their wireless costs and managing their accounts, you first need an inventory of every device being used and an accounting of each service. Be sure to list company-owned devices as well as employee-owned devices that are billed to the company through monthly expense reports. Building a complete inventory will go a long way in keeping all expenses in order.

Understand your customers wireless usage. Next, it is important to understand your customers wireless usage not only what services and devices they are being billed for but how much is actually used. You may find your customer is being invoiced for devices and services they do not utilize.

Determine which devices/services the company owns. Many companies use devices that are owned by individuals. Will the company now provide their employees with all wireless devices that are to be used in the business, or will they allow or require employees to also utilize their own? This needs to be clarified for you to be able to offer a cost-cutting proposal to your customer.

Understand company policies regarding wireless usage. Finally, you must understand company policies regarding wireless usage. Will these stay intact or are they changing? Does the policy make sense or should it in some way be altered? Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you know exactly what is guiding and regulating your customers wireless usage.

With these four aspects in order, youll be able to work with your customer to offer them the best wireless optimization strategy. Whatever recommendations you do devise for them make sure that it meets their needs and will be readily adaptable in the future.

Matt Coffy is president of Slash Wireless. The company provides expert wireless analysis, optimization methodologies and consulting services for both direct customers and channel partner clients. His previous experience includes working in leadership roles at a TEM company and a wireless carrier. Coffy has been involved with the channel for more than 20 years. He can be reached at mcoffy@slashwireless.com.


Looking for More?

In the slide shows 15 Client-Friendly Features of WEM” and Overcoming Objections to Wireless Expense Management Sales,” Matt Coffy offers more expert tips and techniques for selling wireless expense management.


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