Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Phone is Dead, Long Live the ComSet [Communication Set]

The Phone as in a device that allows to type numbers and make call is seeing is last days on earth. I started using Skype and recently read stuff on Skpye based phones.

The concept just seems to make so much sense. Skype and similar technologies use the internet as the backbone. The numbers are just user_ids on the application and you are able to call anyone on the planet use the same service. Today such calls can me made to regular phone too and at a charge.

Corporate Communication.
We have seen VOIP phones from CISCO withing our offices that allow calls any location of the same company. The ease of reaching anyone across the world has significantly improved communication and is being encouraged by corporates. Companies especially benefitiing from this technology are OutSourcing majors , Export oriented units. The technology helps significantly improve communications and reducues costs compared to conventioanl international calls.

Personal/Domestic Communcation
The biggest impact of the internet teclephony technologies will be seen when the technology is adopted widely among domestic users. This would mean th
at all mobile plans would be for internet usage and telcos may charge based on the volume of data exchanged. However there will not be any charge diffrences for local, national, international calls. We can already see such phone arriving in the market. The one shown here is a product from Netgear and Panasonic.

The Phone is Dead, Long Live the ComSet [Communication Set]

I can imgine in the next 3-5 years all phones will be internet devices that allow calls as just one of the many features. Internet web surfing, Shopping, Online Games, News and PodCasting will become common uses of the communication device. Although many of the these services are avaiable today on the mobile devices, lack of standardzation, poor capacity of phones and connectivty mean very low penetration of applications. The use of internet and devices with laptop like capabilities will see the phone transform to a true communications device. Seen here are devices/prototypes from popular CE Giants. Similar devices may replace your phone sooner that you thought.

Seems like intresting times ahead ......................

Monday, March 06, 2006

Pre Sales Tips for the Frontline

I have been a PreSales lead for a Large IT services company , and in my last 6 years in IT I have realised the value that a good PreSales Team can bring.

Here are some tips from the battle field

1. Know your customers.

Like any like of business, first know who your customers are. In any ecology there area producers and consumers. The producers are your own service like that are ready to offer services. Consumers are Clients large and small, the Sales force and even internal teams that are serving customers.

2. Do I remember you !!

Meet, Call, Skype, Email do any thing to ensure that you are in touch with your customers on a regular basis. There are lots of companies out there and your client will reach you only if he is confortable with you. And confort comes from the feeling that you respect the persons time, and can provide the service or support he needs.

3. Keep Track.

Nothing is more wasted than a deal that you worked on but were not around to service it when it actually landed. In the busy life a a presales team it is possible and very common that you lose track. This is a definite No No. If there is more work try to get get some more resources on your team or just delegate to partner teams. Identifing-tracking-folowing up on leads is equally and sometimes more important that merelu responding to requests. Ensure that you always have your numbers with you. Number of calls made, number of customers spoken to, leads identifies, Leads followed up, Pipeline targets etc

4. Never Transact, Partner

As a presales team you have 2 options. to Transact, i.e to service RPF, expertise notes, approachnotes etc whenever you are asked for it. Or to Partner. When you partner you know when someting is going to arrive. You know when you customers are having a good time and when they are not and you are always ready with ideas and soultions.

Remember customers, Sales force, Internal delivery team all have their own workloads and stuff to deal with. And the last thing they need is another sales pitch. Say what ever you have to say but consider the needs and problems of the person on the other side of the table and then speak.

5. Innovate

May a times there are oppurtunites waiting that are just not identified. Keep your customers on their toes by sending you short mailers, case studies with benefits and solutions and ideas. Remember not to share more that 1 page when you ping. Respect the time of the customer.

A good presales team can significantly help any organization grow. you are the first technical/business line of defence and customers will make decisions based on your comptence.

Till next post
Chandan Maruthi