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Mobile World Congress – well done on all the innovations, but let’s keep it real

7 mars 2024

Mobile World Congress 2024 was one of the biggest technology events I have ever attended and was a reminder of the current scale and speed of change in the technology space. From the established brands with massive booths to the clever start-ups testing their vision on MWC visitors, some impressive, often mind-blowing innovations were on show. However, without wishing to detract from the achievements of all these innovators (and we like to think we are one of them), all of us — whether new or old players — must remember why customers buy from us.

They do not buy contact centre services, call recording, CRM integration, fixed mobile convergence, meeting and collaboration and group messaging. What they buy are tangible outcomes, such as higher sales revenue, lower churn, greater staff and process productivity, workplace flexibility and business continuity. This is more true than ever in an economic environment where technology investments are not about selecting the new and shiny just for the sake of it: business users want solid added value outcomes.

The value-price-cost equation

By focusing on those outcomes and comparing their value with the price charged, that cost is a small fraction of the budget created. Conversely, buyers will often reject a proposal or delay a deal because there is no budget. However, where the full value of those outcomes has been understood and appreciated by the customer, the budget is self-created as long as the price is lower and the net cost is negative. Of course, cash flow and breakeven dates have dominated capex deals in the past, but in an increasingly SaaS world, that challenge is diminished, with MRR being a key driver of a seller's business value.

So, in practice, this means vendors and the channel addressing a couple of essential points:

Understanding the difference between the price and their cost -  price is the number that appears on the invoice; the cost, however, is the value of the outcome minus that price, and for most products in the business tech sector, the goal is to create the biggest negative. How do your products perform in this calculation? How realistic are the product developers and innovators about the balance between ‘cool’ and ‘valuable’? Do we know the markets in which our sales will come easily?

The ability of salespeople to help prospective customers identify the ‘negative cost’ - When compared directly with the value of those outcomes, the price charged is a small fraction of the budget created. Therefore, the key to success is simply the skill and depth of the engagement with the customer.

So, in my opinion, in 2024, essential activities must be sales team training, detailed customer-level adoption training, and honest account management follow-up, with vendors collaborating more closely to achieve their goals. Plus, we need to keep it real and concentrate on what business customers need, which might include some of the awe-inspiring new technology debuted at events at MWC or new features from Enreach for Service Providers, but the bottom line is that customers will only buy when the value is understood. Achieve that and we all win: the reseller, us technology vendor and — most importantly  — the customer.