The Most In-Demand Additional Options for Telecom Subscribers
March 14, 2024 · 12 min to read
Some telecom operators believe B2B clients are ready to pay only for calls. However, practical experience shows that businesses need more than simple telephony; they need a tool that helps them efficiently handle each call. Let’s break down what specific features clients want to pay for and how to sell these options effectively.
How Operators Sought to Earn From Additional Options
Operators started selling additional options long ago to boost revenue. Initially, they didn't succeed, but they learned to identify business needs better over time. To understand the reasons behind potential failures in selling these options and to see yourself on this path, let's explore how things used to be.
Stage 1: Value-Added Services
Towards the end of the 20th century, operators began offering clients services based on class 5 softswitches. With the purchase of a number, subscribers could set call forwarding, request a callback, set an alarm, or ask for the exact time.

Ultimately, it turned out that clients weren't willing to pay for these capabilities because of unclear value. They didn’t want to purchase an alarm because it could be set in the phone settings for free. Furthermore, activating these options was inconvenient, requiring entering a sequence of characters on a keypad each time.

In general, subscribers didn't want to deal with all the intricacies of value-added services, and operators started looking for other ways to sell additional options to businesses.
Stage 2: Open-Source Cloud PBX
Around the early 2000s, phone companies began experimenting with sales and offering clients simple PBX systems based on open-source solutions. Typically, such a service included only essential features: IVR, call forwarding, call distribution, and a few others.

Initially, these simple PBX systems were relevant, but over time, users needed integrations with CRM systems, call tracking, and other capabilities that open-source platforms could no longer provide. Configuring basic features was also inconvenient: users had to call the operator's engineers each time.

During this period, OTT operators emerged, understanding business needs and specializing in selling additional options. Traditional telephone companies adopted successful practices from their competitors, and PBX sales transitioned to a new level.
Stage 3: Advanced Cloud PBX Systems
At this stage, operators took past mistakes into account and started offering subscribers comprehensive PBX systems that differed from previous solutions in the following ways:
  • In-demand options. Modern cloud PBX features are developed based on market research and its needs.
  • Convenient function configuration. Users can now configure cloud PBX systems through web interfaces and mobile applications.
  • Scalable service. Comprehensive cloud PBXs can accommodate any number of subscribers.
Due to these differences, operators were able to increase revenue by selling additional options with cloud PBXs. Arguably, the most important reason for success was that subscribers understood the value of these features. So, let's further explore how companies decide about purchasing the service as a whole and specific options.
Digital Tide is a platform upon which you can offer a comprehensive cloud PBX. Your clients will gain access to an expanded set of features for handling calls effectively.
Why Customers Are Ready to Pay for Additional Options
Let's address one of the popular additional features in PBX systems: call recording. Using this feature as an example, we’ll explore why entrepreneurs are willing to pay for additional services:
  • Understanding the functionality. Call recording is a well-known feature, and managers have a good understanding of what it is and how it works.
  • Process streamlining. Entrepreneurs recognize that call recording helps them monitor employee activities and address potential communication errors with customers.
  • Financial benefits. Employees pay closer attention to customer communication, knowing each conversation is recorded. As a result, staff improves service sales, increasing company revenue.
Most Demanded Additional Options
Learn what customers are primarily willing to pay for to focus efforts on selling the most sought-after functions. The data in this section is based on the experience of Digital Tide, the operator’s partner.
Call Recording
Penetration into the active subscriber base averages around 50%, reaching up to 80% for some operators.

Call recording allows leaders to control their business by reviewing communications with customers anytime and thoroughly analyzing employee dialogues.

This option is a necessity that entrepreneurs have always desired. Previously, companies couldn't listen to employee conversations, making complete business control impossible.

An essential point for the telecom operator: call recording should be unlimited so that users don't worry about remaining storage space in the cloud PBX. Make access to recordings simple, eliminating subscribers needing to contact operator engineers or spend time searching for recordings in an FTP client.
Sales Department Tools
Penetration into the active subscriber base reaches up to 30%.

To increase sales conversion, companies need to handle each call correctly. For this purpose, the following cloud PBX features are suitable: notifications for missed calls, callbacks to customers, and automated SMS sending with employee contacts after the first conversation.

Entrepreneurs are willing to pay for these tools as their investment pays off when selling their services and products.
CRM Integration
Penetration into the active subscriber base is between 20–25%.

Many companies use CRM systems today, and their numbers continue to grow. Integrating with cloud PBX systems makes this tool even more convenient, offering companies various possibilities:
  • When making a call, a client's card with their name, status, and other details will appear on the screen.
  • No more manual creation of contacts, tasks, and deals – all information will automatically appear in a CRM system.
  • Call recordings will immediately be uploaded into a CRM system.
  • Clients can be called by simply clicking their number on a CRM card.
  • A customer’s call will immediately be directed to a client manager.
Penetration into the active subscriber base ranges from 25% to 30%.

Statistics allow managers to understand a company's situation with a few clicks. For instance, they can now see the trend of missed calls and promptly address why staff missed calls frequently in the previous month. Without this feature, companies could only guess how efficiently their employees worked.

The main difference between statistics and call history is that, in the former, managers see an overview of call activity overall. At the same time, in the latter, they can delve into the details of each call.
How to Sell Additional Options and What Not To Do
Experience has shown that the optimal solution is selling option packages. Include the most demanded cloud PBX features in the basic package: call history, call distribution, call forwarding, and voice synthesis. Collect the remaining options into packages and begin selling them additionally.
Examples of feature packages
How not to sell. Some companies sell each option separately at a low price. The logic behind this approach is that a subscriber purchases the basic PBX functionality and gradually adds inexpensive options, increasing the monthly service payment.

This scheme is suitable only for companies willing to hire specific PBX sales representatives. Typically, operators have a different situation: reps accustomed to selling only telephony and internet services handle the sale of additional services.

Why selling individual cloud PBX options isn't suitable for operator sales representatives:
  • Insufficient motivation. Since the price of an individual option is low, a rep won't receive significant bonuses for its sale. It's more enjoyable for employees to sell option packages because they yield higher rewards.
  • Limited knowledge. Operator reps typically specialize in selling internet and telephony, leaving them with little time to delve into each cloud PBX function. Sales reps find it easier to understand the value of packaged options without delving into the details.
Another wrong approach when selling options is focusing on an IVR. Despite its popularity, only up to 25% of subscribers use this function. Companies noticed that many customers dislike listening to voice menus during calls because they want to connect with an operator faster.

Also, don't display a list of all cloud PBX features to subscribers, as numerous options may be associated with complexity. As discussed earlier, explaining the value of ready-made function packages to customers is better without diving into the details.
Digital Tide will help you create cloud PBX feature packages, customize the product, and handle other essential aspects. You can focus solely on sales.
Let's summarize what was previously described:
  • 1
    Customers are willing to buy only full-fledged cloud PBX functionality. Operators previously attempted to sell value-added services and open-source cloud PBXs, but these attempts were unsuccessful.
  • 2
    Companies are ready to pay for services that bring them financial benefits, streamline their processes, and have precise functionality. If business leaders see the cloud PBX helps them not miss each call and handle it perfectly, they're ready to invest heavily in the service.
  • 3
    Experience has shown that companies primarily need call recording, sales department tools, CRM integration, and statistics, so pay special attention to these options.
  • 4
    Don’t sell features separately; instead, bundle them into packages. For example, add the most in-demand options to the basic package, allowing most subscribers to access necessary functions at an acceptable price.
  • 5
    Avoid emphasizing an IVR — despite its popularity, only a few customers use it. Also, refrain from presenting the list of PBX functions; instead, explain the values of complete option packages to subscribers.
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