Archive for June, 2017

IoT: Where We Are And Where We’re Going

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It is no secret that connectivity through the Internet of Things is expanding rapidly. From the implementation of smart washing machines to the rise of connected cars, our world is constantly changing to accommodate the large-scale growth of IoT.

In fact, IHS forecasts that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025.

This past year alone, the rise of IoT devices has been apparent with the popularity of the Amazon Echo. Entering the homes of millions, “Alexa” instantly plays music, checks the weather, tells jokes, and more via simple voice commands.

In home devices are becoming more prevalent and will continue to rise.

In home devices are no longer strictly geared towards entertainment, however. The ability to streamline everyday activities such as controlling the lights, locking the doors, and changing the temperature in our homes from our devices is now possible through IoT.

Lowes provides these smart home capabilities and more through their device, Iris. Iris can alert you when your children get home from school, tell you when remote elderly family members wake up and eat breakfast, and even trigger a fan to turn on when your cat uses the litterbox.

Through IoT, we are constantly connected. These technological advancements are combining to connect more and more aspects of our lives to the internet.

IoT Security: A Rising Concern

With these advances, comes the question of security.

As IoT continues to expand and the number of devices/things being connected to the network increases, concern over secure internet practices are rising to the surface with over. A recent survey found that over 71% of Americans are somewhat or very concerned with the possibility of their information getting stolen from IoT devices. This worry over cybersecurity has become a potential hiccup in developing a more expansive IoT world.

The best way to combat the concern for IoT security is to build greater awareness for consumers and, more likely, future government regulation.

Fortunately, organizations are already working to solve the security problem. The Open Web Application Security Project’s (OWASP) IoT Top 10 Project aims to educate consumers on how to identify and prevent security problems. We believe the future is bright for IoT security.

What the future of IoT looks like

We are still in the early stages of what is going to become a highly connected world.

Across the board, IoT is furthering advancements in technology. The possibilities are endless: from the government using IoT for advancements like automated public transit and environmental monitoring to healthcare using IoT for patient monitoring and telemedicine. Bain is predicting revenue for IoT vendors to surpass $470B by 2020.

As we continue to connect systems and platforms, previous opportunities that were deemed impossible suddenly become not only possible, but reality.

See more about how Rev.io is providing a fully-integrated cloud based billing software and customer management platform for companies in the IoT space here or request a demo.

Adopting a New Business Technology? 10 Things NOT To Do

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Gartner predicts that IT spending will reach $3.5 trillion dollars in 2017. Companies of all sizes across industries are looking to deliver sound technology investments to meet business goals. While most executives realize the impact technology could have on their bottom line, many are delaying adoption. For example, in one study, 90% of executives recognized that big data was relevant to their business, yet only 39% reported implementing new technology in their own business.

So, why are organizations slow to adopt new business technology?

The truth? Adopting new technology in business is a huge decision with major financial implications. Getting buy-in and implementing a new technology across an organization isn’t easy. So, to smooth the adoption process, we’re giving you our top 10 common pitfalls to avoid:

1. Buying solely based on price tag

Budget is important. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest factors driving your purchasing decision. Make sure you know your budget before searching for a solution. Think about the challenges you’re facing and what solving them would do for your bottom line. If you go into buying mode without a clear picture of the problem you’re trying to solve and what a solution would be worth to your organization, you’ll be tempted to purchase the cheapest option… and you’ll get what you paid for.

2. Forgetting about your actual business needs

Before you adopt a new system, ask yourself, “What is the need?” The solution you choose should directly meet that need.

All too often, we hear horror stories of organizations that were implementing new technology only to realize it was a waste of their time and money. Typically, the technology itself was not ineffective; it simply failed to address the actual business need. While cost is the primary driver of apprehension toward adoption, it’s important for companies to remember that business technology can have an impact that extends well beyond a simple return on investment. It might seem obvious, but choose the solution that will actually meet your needs.

3. Expecting it to be the same as your current solution

Adopting new technology in business is not a plug-and-chug process. If you’re expecting nothing to change, there’s a good chance you’re not ready for a new solution in the first place. Innovation takes flexibility, and having a “this is how we’ve always done things” mentality will hinder the impact of the implementation. You’re adopting a new process to maximize the benefits of the solution, so keep an open mind and your eyes on the prize.

4. Placing solutions in silos

Historically, centralized IT groups would implement new technology within a business. Now, things are changing. Line leaders of individual departments are making their own tech purchase decisions. This can lead to chaos when those technologies don’t integrate with each other. Make sure your technologies can work together, and be mindful of how a new solution will work with the rest of your tools. Siloed solutions will only take you so far, so opt for a full-service solution when possible.

5. Buying JUST the technology

Today’s technology can provide some pretty spectacular gains for businesses, but implementing a new solution requires a human element. Make sure you love not only the technology but also the company and team that comes with it. What are their culture and customer service policies? Remember, from onboarding to training to ongoing support, you’ll (hopefully) be working closely with the team behind the technology.

6. Forgetting about your roadmap

One of the biggest mistakes made by organizations implementing new technology is focusing only on the here and now. While leveraging technology to solve just your immediate business challenges is tempting, think big picture and be mindful of what’s coming next. As your business evolves your needs will change, so find a system that can grow with you.

7. Diving in blind

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of technology solutions on the market. There’s no need to dive into a relationship you’re not sure about. Check the right references (within your particular segment or industry, especially) to make sure the solution you’re considering is worth your time and money. Take plenty of time to speak with the potential solution provider and your partners. That short investment of your time will pay dividends down the road.

8. Avoiding the data

The decision to adopt a new business technology should be data-driven. A recent study found that companies in the top third of their industry that used data-driven decision-making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. Consider both your internal data as well as the projections that your new solution provides.

9. Getting discouraged by downtime

When you’re implementing new technology, you’ll inevitably face some growing pains. Systems must be updated, processes must be reworked, and your team must be trained. If the solution itself is too complex or the onboarding process too demanding, the team may push back. When searching for a solution, make usability and support a top priority to avoid this lag in productivity.

10. Forgetting about your team

You’ve researched the new solution for hours on end, received buy-in from the higher-ups and are ready to make the jump. Not so fast… The simple fact of the matter is that even the most powerful business solutions won’t work if your employees are unwilling or unable to use them. Discuss the transition with your team and walk them through the strategy driving the decision. If the new technology will ultimately make their jobs easier—even better. Be sure that expectations are set before implementation begins.

Adopting a new business technology can be a major headache. We’re here to make it easy. Subscribe to receive growth tips like this, delivered straight to your inbox. Or, request a demo to see how Rev.io can help you reach that next level of success.

Rev.io Agent Portal: Happy Agents = Happy Customers

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Ready to Maximize Your Agent Channel?

Whether you’re considering an indirect sales channel or are already working with agents today, Rev.io’s Agent Portal can improve sales outcomes and end-customer experiences.

After surveying a group of VARs using telecom agents, Channel Insider reported one half to two-thirds of resellers’ annual revenue comes from partnerships with agents. While working with a distribution channel can boost revenue growth, it can also create several operational challenges. For instance, your agents will need access to their end-user data and you’ll want a way to manage agent commissions and communication.

Enter Rev.io Agent Portal

Using Rev.io’s robust Agent Module, your agents will enjoy around-the-clock visibility into their customers’ details – from usage, invoices, payment history, trouble tickets, contact information, and reporting. With these powerful insights at their fingertips, agents will be better equipped to serve your customers. The best news? Your clients will notice (and appreciate) the white-glove support and improved user experience, leading to better customer retention.

In addition to account visibility, Rev.io Agent Portal streamlines agent relationship management. We make it possible to provide your agents with everything from customer data to communication – all in one place. You’ll find that it’s easier to provide training resources, documentation, agent alerts, commission reports, and more! Why wait? Check out our one-stop shop for managing agents, customers, and commissions.

Ready to Maximize your Channel and Improve Customer Experience?

If you’re a current Rev.io user, you can enable this feature at any time. Just contact us with your request. If you’re not a current Rev.io client and would like to see the Agent Portal in action, please fill out the form below. We’d love to show you what Rev.io could do for your business.

Learn More About Rev.io Agent Portal

Exploring Mobility & Connectivity in 2017

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At Rev.io, we are passionate about the industries we serve and are always looking to keep a pulse on what’s next. Today, we will examine the current state of IoT connectivity and mobility, take a deep dive into what the future holds, and explore the potential implications for service providers.

A Brief History of Connectivity

In the late 1980s, a company called CompuServe introduced “CompuServe Information Service” (CIS), a new service offering giving users widespread access to what would eventually become known as the Internet. Personal computing quickly gained traction, ushering in a new era of connectivity. The 1990s brought 2G technology, faster connection speeds, the first SMS message, and wifi. And by 2010, the snowball had continued with the widespread adoption of broadband, cloud computing, social networks, and connectivity over cellular networks, paving a new path towards global mobility and a digital revolution.

Today, almost two-thirds of the world’s population have a mobile phone, and more than half have a smartphone. Over half of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices and more than half of those mobile connections are broadband. This widespread connectivity has not only revolutionized the way consumers connect but also the way business is done, giving key decision makers access to data on demand.

The Next Era of Connectivity? IoT

A recent Gartner survey found that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016. As infrastructure expands, that number will continue to grow, forecasted to reach 20.4 billion by 2020. The phenomenal growth is stemming from two main groups:

Consumers:

Consumers represent the largest group of users of connected things, with 5.2 billion units in 2017. This year, consumer applications will represent 63% of total IoT applications.

Businesses:

While consumers are on track to purchase more devices, businesses will outspend the consumer group on Internet of Things solutions. IoT services represent a major driver of this growth. In 2017, IoT services spending (professional, consumer, and connectivity) is on pace to reach $273 billion.

More Data = More Opportunity

As users are looking to their service providers for new and improved ways to connect with their data, businesses are looking for real-time ways to leverage it. This growing need for management and maintenance of connected services, and the massive slew of data that comes with it, is opening new revenue opportunities for providers. In fact, by 2022, the connectivity market will account for 24.69 billion total.

In the last 30 years, connectivity has evolved at a rapid pace, ushering in a new generation of mobility and opportunity. 2017 is the year for service providers to step up to the plate and create better experiences for end users. If you’re ready to take advantage of a space facing phenomenal growth, we’d love to help. Schedule a demo or contact Rev.io today to learn more about how Rev.io can help you grow in 2017 and beyond.

5 Steps to a Stronger CSP Sales Strategy

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In Today’s Shifting Market, CSP Sales Strategies Are Critical For Growth

Regardless of your industry, a strong sales team is arguably the most important revenue driver for a company. Many communication service providers (such as VoIP, UCaas, and POTS), traditionally selling through indirect distribution channels, are bringing their CSP sales teams back in-house. While migrating to a direct sales strategy can have a positive impact on operating expenses, it can also pose several challenges.

Companies that DON’T succeed in the Communications market all have one thing in common – their sales teams focus too heavily on products or features and not enough on value. Whether you’re a CLEC, ILEC, POTS, CSP, UCaaS, Fiber, VoIP, or IoT provider, the secret sauce to sales comes down to one thing – identifying value. To make it happen, you’ll need to gather this information from your prospects in a non-confrontational, yet conversational manner. Here’s how to take your CSP sales team to the next level.

Enter The Socratic Method of Selling

The Socratic Method of Selling is simply asking open-ended questions to gather information. It’s beneficial for two reasons – 1) you build trust with your prospect by showing them you’re interested in their business and 2) you present your solution in the most impactful way. The responses from your prospect will help you fill in the gaps in the Value Planner.

You know your services and value propositions better than anyone else – what you don’t necessarily know (at the beginning of a sales cycle) is your prospect’s challenges and concerns. The two tactics aforementioned will help you learn about your prospect and position your service in the best possible way.

Let’s go through a B2B sales strategy example using the Value Planner.

b2b sales strategies

Step 1: What’s the Business Issue?

When uncovering the Business Issue, you should try to determine what the prospect is trying to accomplish or what new initiatives they are pursuing. With this response, you’ll learn why the prospect is evaluating your products or services at this point in time.

Here are some questions you might ask your prospect to bring the Business Issue to light:

  • Tell me more about your initiatives this year.
  • Would you elaborate on what brought you to contact us?
  • Why is this [evaluation] important now?

For example, in our industry, common Business Issues include looking to expand a service area, adding a new offering, or entering into a new market. These initiatives often prompt a Communications or IoT Service Provider to evaluate their current billing processes as they look for new ways to stay lean while growing their organization.

Before any sales demonstration, we like to hop on a 30 minute call (which Rev.io calls a Needs Assessment) to help answer these questions. Once we’ve found the Business Issue, we try to focus on this piece for as long as possible.

Step 2: Identify the Problems and Effects to Showcase Value.

After you’ve uncovered the business issue, dig into the problem(s) surrounding it. Once you’ve identified the problem(s), drill into the specific details as much as possible and quantify the effects.

Some questions you could ask here are:

  • Do you have any projections for how [Business Issue] will [grow revenue, save time]?
  • What would happen if you had [Business Issue] in place today?
  • Is there anything about that process that you think could be improved?
  • How much time are you spending on [XYZ problem]?
    Where could you spend that time if you didn’t have to do that?
  • How many people are managing [XYZ problem] today?
  • What’s the average salary you’re paying someone in that department?

For our example, let’s say the business issue is that ABC Company wants to expand their service area. A common problem with this would be a very manual billing process and lack of bandwidth to add new accounts (effect). We’ve found that many Communications billing systems are not set up to scale as companies grow.

Listen closely, because the prospect’s responses point to the effects of their productivity and bottom line. Review the prospect’s responses to Identify Value in the form of Dominant Buying Motives (DBMs). A DBM is any area of special concern or interest to the prospect that can be addressed with your services. DBMs will vary from prospect to prospect.

In the billing industry, BDMs might be:

  • Billing accuracy
  • Time spent managing billing and customer information
  • Tax audit readiness
  • Increasing employee productivity
  • Providing customers with a better experience
  • Managing the collections process

Step 3: Agree on the Need.

This is a crucial step for any B2B sales strategy. Simply telling a prospect that they have a need is not an effective sales technique. You must secure agreement from the prospect A) sees the need and B) understands the value of a solution. Tie down questions are a valuable way to secure agreement from your prospect. They will prompt your prospect to either agree or state an objection. Using tie downs allow the salesperson to achieve small wins leading up to the sale; but be careful not to over-use tie downs – it can annoy your prospect.

Here are some examples of tie downs:

  • Wouldn’t you?
  • Isn’t it?
  • Don’t you?
  • Shouldn’t you?

“If I could show you how to [insert solution], that would be of interest [tie down]?”

If you remember in our example above, ABC Company is looking to expand their service area but they’re struggling with a manual billing process. Typically, we find that automating usage rating through Rev.io’s native integration to all the major carriers and switches eliminates manual processes.

Step 4: Learn the Power Players.

Before continuing the sales process, you’ll want to confirm that you’re working with the right people for your CSP services. It is critical for communication service providers to distinguish between the decision makers and influencers contributing to the buying decision. A decision maker is the person that can sign the paperwork for the business, while an influencer can persuade the decision.

Questions to ask to confirm these roles:

  • Is there anyone else we should invite to the meeting?
  • Are there other stakeholders that will be part of the buying process?
  • Will you be signing the paperwork if we come to an agreement?

Step 5: Outline the Solutions and Plan.

Construct an onboarding plan as a reverse timeline based on when the prospect would like to go-live with your services. From there, back up the time to implement and train a new customer; this will be the close date for the sales deal. Once you have that date, outline the sales cycle steps to the beginning of the sale and present this to your prospect. This will help create a sense of urgency.

An example of a question to ask here would be:

  • Assuming we’re able to address your needs, when would you like to begin using [your company’s services]?

Ultimately, Rev.io is more than just a technology vendor for your UCaaS platform. We are here to act as your partner in your overall business growth. If your goal is growth, contact Rev.io to see how we can help you reach your goals.

Bill-On-Behalf-Of Your Resellers With Rev.io

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Ready to win more resellers?

Rev.io’s white label billing solution can help. Our powerful suite of billing, reporting, and tax management tools are flexible, scalable, and secure – giving you everything you need to enable partners and win more business. If you’re a technology service provider looking for a complete recurring revenue and integrated customer platform, you’ve come to the right place.

Billing-on-behalf of your customers shouldn’t be a headache. Rev.io’s white label programs give you the power to provide a sophisticated billing and customer management system. Empower your current clients (and attract new ones) with an easier way to bill and manage data, all while generating an additional stream of revenue for your business.

Whether you’re starting a new white label program or are looking to complement your existing reseller offering, Rev.io is ready to help.

Key Features:

  • Customizable and scalable
  • Access to full account details and online payment options
  • Unified customer profiles, unique customer tagging, and detailed customer support notes
  • Dependable, automated taxation, and compliance
  • Powerful business intelligence through integrated reporting

Key Benefits:

  • Enhanced service offering
  • Accelerated revenue capture, increased efficiency, and reduced overhead
  • Faster onboarding and improved customer retention
  • Stronger business agility
  • Boosted recurring revenue
  • Flexibility to configure pricing and bill for any service

Our system works in real time to keep your operations running smoothly. Getting started is easy, and Rev.io is ready to team up to design your perfect solution. We’re ready to take an active partnership role and grow with your business.

Want to see it in action? Learn more here, or, schedule a demo below.

whitelabel billing partner

Want Revenue Growth? Don’t Overlook This Critical Tactic

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As companies look to grow their business, they often invest resources into sales teams, new product offerings, and client success. While these are excellent tactics to incorporate into your overall strategy, focusing solely on these business drivers is a mistake. Without an engine generating demand, your investment will have little return.

Enter Marketing: Your Secret Weapon for Revenue Growth

When your goal is to grow revenue, you should invest resources into your marketing first. This often overlooked team can make a major impact on demand generation. The best part? There are many low-cost Marketing efforts – such as targeted email campaigns, fresh blog content, and SEO campaigns – that your team can leverage now to boost inbound leads.

Use Targeted Email Campaigns and Educational Content to Nurture Existing Leads

Whether you’re providing Wireless, Wireline, VoIP, data, or IoT services, it’s important to remember that your customers buy on their timeline, not yours. That being said, you don’t want prospects for your VOIP billing software going cold in the meantime. Your marketing investments will help keep these prospects warm and engaged, until they’re ready to evaluate your services.

One of the best way to nurture prospects in your database is through targeted email campaigns. No, this doesn’t mean blasting your potential customer list with tons of spam. Instead, share articles, one-pagers, and ebooks that would be of interest to your buyer. Leverage your valuable thought leadership as downloadable content to share with your prospect for free,.This will keep leads engaged, build trust, and helps your prospects improve their businesses. Lastly, if you haven’t already, consider a marketing automation tool to maximize your email efforts, allow for segmentation by lists, and track program performance. You don’t have to invest tons of money – there are several free versions out there!

Welcome Prospects with Strategic Blog Posts

What typically comes to mind when you think about marketing investments? Events, collateral, email programs, press releases, and website presence are among the most commonly used tactics. While blogging has gained traction in many industries, the communications space seems to be lagging behind, representing a huge opportunity for businesses to get ahead of their competition.

Before you begin a blogging strategy, make a list of top keywords. These words and phrases should be directly associated to your company or services. (Hint: consider how your target customers typically search for your product or services online). Before you start writing, remember the ultimate goal. Your blog posts should aim to invite your prospects in, build trust, and establish your business as an expert in the industry. If you are struggling to come up with strategic topics, brainstorm a list of common questions from clients and prospects then answer these questions in an in-depth (yet digestible) blog post.

Optimizing SEO through Social Media

Now that you have your downloadable thought leadership content, educational blog posts, and list of keywords in place, it’s time to make marketing investments in your social channels. It’s time to face the music – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are not just for millennials anymore. Companies that out-perform their competition are building their brand awareness through these mediums. Don’t think that social media outlets have a strong ROI? You’re wrong. These popular social media platforms can drastically boost your SEO. By linking Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook posts back to your website, you can improve your search engine ranking and ultimately drive revenue growth.

With 70% of sales happening before the prospect reaches out to your business, it’s more important than ever to be on the first page of their Google search. Social channels are a fantastic way to build your brand personality, attract new buyers to your website, and improve SEO.

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