Selling Opportunities

Tony Martino Tollring Profile Shot

Tollring is becoming, in it’s own way, a ’Third Platform Player’ in that the company is addressing key planks of that movement with their iCall Suite cloud based solutions. This in turn produces huge amounts of data that Tollring can turn in to business enhancing productivity through simple analytics. Oh, and it’s available on the move as well via mobile devices. All of which represent channel opportunities.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM) iCall Suite produces company performance data: what kind of data and how can Tollring show how to benefit from this data through analytics?

We’ve had the mainframe, the client-server and now it’s the Third Platform. This is where the combination of mobile computing, social media, cloud computing and analytics is transforming the way people relate to technology.

Over the years, Tollring has always focused on generating analytics that deliver clarity to telecoms data. Now with access to mobile, social and cloud data from across an enterprise, we’ve been able to make our analytics far more powerful.

Our traditional focus is accessing and analysing data from telephony services. We see where and when calls are answered, how many times the caller contacted an organisation, whether the person spoke to another department and when the call was finally resolved.

Now in the world of the Third Platform, we don’t just analyse our own information, we match caller details with other rich data sources. We aggregate and harmonise multiple streams of both historical and real-time information to make it timelier, more accessible and more valuable to decisions makers.

For example, by matching the credentials of a caller with their details on a CRM system, our dashboard can show that the caller queuing is one of company’s biggest customers, who has just placed an order for £10,000. Alternatively, it may be an unhappy customer who has logged a complaint and has already spoken to another department. All communications and call recordings associated with every customer are readily available.

CBM: Do you believe that firms today are more dependent on the data they generate than the underlying technology and if so how has this come about? How are we starting to see this materialise in the workplace?

Underlying technology has become almost irrelevant with the cloud. There is no need to worry about ageing hardware and right-sized infrastructure when the cloud delivers a pay-as-you-need format that can scale up and down quickly.

Core enabling technologies such as Amazon Web Access and Microsoft Azure deliver the cloud backbone, coupled with cloud communications service providers, the channel can now look to companies like Tollring to deliver the analytic databases and web portals.

APIs (application program interface) allow different databases and applications to work together. As an Over the Top (OTT) fully managed service, Tollring already has the APIs to access all relevant data. We strip away the noise and deliver high value analytics via PC, laptop or tablet. We help our partners and their customers to make the decisions that impact the bottom-line and make them more competitive.

This level of information is delivered on real-time dashboards and charts that are easy to query. In the past, it would have taken analysts many months to produce similar reports, but this resulted in out-of-date information. Now department managers, cost centre managers and even end-users can access valuable information in a timely manner. It makes them more accountable for the accuracy of that information and more responsible for who is doing what in a particular role.

The Third Platform is making this happen. It is efficient, agile, accessible, secure and puts the right information in the right format at the fingertips of those who need it, when they need it.

CBM: We used to tell our sales force to stop selling products and sell solutions but today the mantra seems to have changed to ’start selling business opportunities’. How has this come about and what are the implications for the channel?

The focus on selling business benefits, opportunities and outcomes takes selling a solution to the next level. In addition to identifying the need, sales people must know their customer’s market, understand how their business works and then how their product/service is going to solve the customer’s problems. They may then need to pull together a mix of services to fulfil that requirement.

The buyer has also changed. The sales person faces a committee of people from finance, operations, the CFO, CTO and CIO, with no single individual signing an order. It’s a very different sales environment to the one we’ve been used to.

Moreover, this is now a consultative sell where the sales person has to educate the customer. And products and services may need to be tailored to each individual customer with a business case that de-risks the purchase.

This Third Platform and cloud delivery model with its recurring revenue stream requires continuous support. As a vendor, we get involved in educating our partners by sharing our knowledge and expertise. We help our partners to sell analytics on top of a phone system by focusing on the opportunities and benefits they can deliver to their customers.

But these analytics are not just for customers, they also benefit our channel partners. A high level insight into how their own business is performing helps them to motivate or penalise staff, to create targeted marketing programmes or identify niche vertical markets that have been successful.