31 May 2022

When is a company not a company? How many small business customers are concealed in your consumer customer base?

When you think it’s a collection of consumers. Business and consumer customers do not always fall into a neat segmentation. Many small business customers are not recognised by MNOs and simply lost the consumer subscriber base. Why not take control and work at converting them to business customers, with flexible, proven solutions that help them become bigger and more efficient businesses?

Small business owners are hidden among your consumer customer base

When is a company not a company? The answer is surprisingly simple – when it’s considered as a collection of consumers. Even while MNOs (and other telcos) pursue business customers, many still neglect to pay attention to a significant number of potential business customers, which they continue to classify as consumers.

That’s because, in telco-land, many organisations with fewer than 10 employees are simply counted as consumers. This means that the accounts held by each individual within that organisation are unrelated to each other; there is no association to link these and to provide them with services that can help their business to grow.

SaaS companies treat them differently

Contrast this with the SaaS world, in which any business – regardless of size – can find solutions to help run its operations more efficiently and to boost productivity. A typical offer will include packages of different feature sets – some of which may be pitched towards larger organisations or purchases of more licenses but, in many cases, it’s up to the buyer to choose the feature package that is most appropriate for its purposes. In other words, the vendor isn’t telling them they are too small to buy, leaving them free to do what they want.

In telco-land, however, unless you have a certain scale, smaller companies can be somewhat overlooked and simply lumped in with the consumer subscriber base. That’s a huge missed opportunity. There are thousands and thousands of such companies out there in almost every market – all eager to grow and to communicate more effectively with customers and colleagues. And, you probably already have such subscribers, hidden among your consumer subscriber base.

Supporting all kinds of businesses is a strategic imperative

We know this, because many of our customers have chosen to target such subscribers and have thrived as a result of this strategic focus. Indeed, we’ve been saying this for years – almost as long as we’ve been an independent company. And yet, it’s still a segment of the market that is overlooked by many MNOs.

And, this isn’t a binary choice. It’s not as if an MNO must focus on one segment to the exclusion of another. Both can be addressed, which is exactly what our friends from the SaaS world seek to do.

Now, it’s likely that many MNOs already have such small business customers, but that they overlook them, because they do not recognise them as organisations or enterprises – they are lost in the deeper pool of consumer subscriptions. So, what’s to be done? How can you turn these business consumers into business customers?

How can you identify and convert them?

The first thing is to find them. Without having the data to do this, analytics can help. Which users have high monthly spends? Are there calling patterns that match what might be expected from a typical business customer? Is there a higher degree of mobility? Are the majority of calls between what might be defined as regular business hours? Several factors are likely to provide a clue.

Then, we tend to think about promotion to existing communities. So, we would market consumer offers to consumers, while only promoting business offers to existing business customers. What about switching this around?

Why not promote business services to selected groups of consumers that can be identified? You’re probably not saying much to them anyway, so testing some propositions and asking the right question (Are you a small business owner? Can we help you to grow your business? Do you have the right tools to communicate with your colleagues?), is unlikely to prove disruptive and may well flush out a surprising number of suspects for you to convert to new business plans.

Let’s work together to drive small business growth

Of course, if there is a latent community of small business owners and users in your existing subscriber base, then you need tools to give them something that goes beyond a suitable business airtime package. That’s where we can help – with a proven platform, available from the cloud, that can give you an immediate proposition that takes them beyond connectivity and offers them something that really helps their business.

This can be provided alongside existing offers and easily tested on your chosen segment – and, because it scales effectively, it will provide you with a cost-effective, elastic platform that matches your success at converting users to the service. So, we know that you already have such targets – what’s stopping you from taking action?

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