Today, the success of commercial real estate is closely linked to telecommunications infrastructure. To fill these buildings with corporate tenants, building management has to be able to provide high-speed connectivity. For today’s modern enterprises, the ideal infrastructure is fiber connectivity due to its superior speed and bandwidth capabilities.
No business will move into a building that cannot provide connectivity. Therefore, to achieve the best return on investment – building management, commercial real-estate firms, and other enterprise organizations are eager to be in contact with network operators early in the building process. Being in contact early allows a chance to see who can serve the location and be terminated into the building at a reasonable price, and within a reasonable timeframe.
This poses a business opportunity for network operators looking to capitalize on OnNet, NearNet, and even OffNet locations to sell connectivity. However, this process moves quickly. Thus, providers have a narrow window to demonstrate their value to building owners, while also vetting the location to see if it will ultimately be worth it for them.
What Enterprises Need to Know Before They Buy Connectivity
When prospects reach out the network operator sales teams, there are three core capabilities they need to understand. These are infrastructure, product, and pricing.
Infrastructure: This refers to the type of connectivity provided at the location, as well as the proximity of that connectivity. Enterprise network management will need to know if the building can be equipped with fiber connectivity, fixed wireless, etc. They also need to know how close they are to existing infrastructure – i.e. are they OnNet, NearNet, or OffNet.
Products: Next, these prospective customers will need know what kind of products and services will be available through the network provider, such as what internet, Ethernet, VoIP, and other capabilities.
Price: Finally, prospects will need to get an understanding of how much it will cost to make this infrastructure and service available at their location. If the building is NearNet, but it will be capital intensive to build out the infrastructure to terminate into the building, it may not be a suitable option. However, in some instances, carriers will eat this cost should network sales teams determine the building will ultimately yield a high ROI.
Information Network Sales Teams Need to Capitalize on RFPs
When network sales and marketing teams are contacted by prospects, they need to asses and answer these questions on infrastructures, products, and price, in addition to understanding the value terminating into this location will bring to their overall portfolio.
First, to capitalize on this potential business, sales teams need current location data and visual insight. Current location data refers to having updated building lists for OnNet, NearNet, and OffNet locations, to determine the current level on infrastructure that can be offered to the proposed site.
Without updated and regularly maintained building lists, network sales teams will have to do hours of manual research to find this information, which prospects may not be willing to wait. Visual insight shows network sales teams the types of buildings that are in this proximity, i.e. schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, etc., giving a better understanding of where and if fiber connectivity should be built out.
Next, network carriers need visibility into cable networks (MSOs), local exchange carriers (LECs) and other potential partners that will allow them to serve certain buildings or organizations. This requires a database of fiber providers based on location, thus opening carriers up to connectivity across locations, not just through a few pre-existing relationships.
Finally, all of this information needs to be collated and formatted in whatever manner bests suits the prospect.
The Need for Transparency and Automation
While network sales teams have the means to get this information, it is often a highly manual task that requires hours of research, spreadsheet updates, and formatting. This manual work actually inhibits sales teams from sending out updated building lists to prospects on a regular basis, meaning that as new buildings go up, network sales are missing out on opportunities.
Network sales teams now require a higher degree of transparency when it comes to seeing who has what connectivity, where. Incorporating automation into the sales process can automate the collection, aggregation, and dissemination of this information, giving time back to sales teams to focus on finding legitimate opportunities on which to focus.
With increased automation and transparency, sales teams can respond to RFPs and prospect queries faster, and make informed decisions based on market intelligence and location, rather than just demand.
Today’s reliance on connectivity provides a host of opportunities for network sales teams. As prospects contact network operators to get an idea of infrastructure, service, and price, sales teams need to have this location data on hand to answer requests in a timely way.
Having this information automated and available also ensures that sales teams do not devote excess time to requests that will not provide value for the network. Therefore, as network reliance grows, sales teams will need to increasingly incorporate automation to provide transparency and greater opportunity.