Research reveals over 75% of new telecoms products fail

A new benchmarking study into the future of the telecoms industry by sales, negotiation and communication specialists, Huthwaite International, has revealed a staggering 88% of companies experience a new product failing each financial year, despite high anticipation. The study also revealed a crippling sector skills shortage is often to blame, with a lack in sales skills, strategy and the ‘over-hyping’ phenomenon affecting the success of quality new products launching to market.

In the last financial year, overall, telecoms companies struggled to launch 5.58 new products to market, no doubt costing the industry millions. On surveying senior decision makers within the telecoms sector, including network operators, infrastructure vendors, and new innovators in the market, Huthwaite’s research has unveiled that 42% of industry specialists believe products are failing once launched to market because customers are resistant to change, with a lack in competitive pricing (41%) following closely behind. The survey has also revealed that nearly a third (30%) of sales professionals blamed product specs not meeting the client’s needs and a sales force being resistant to change (29%) for a lack of success selling new products.

However, it appears telecoms companies are overlooking a crucial factor within the sales process. The research found that 43% of respondents considered the ability to solutions sell rather than feature sell to be the most important attribute in the perfect sales professional, but comparing this with just 26% of respondents believing the sellers’ inability to identify and address buyer’s concerns as being responsible for impeding sales of new products to market demonstrates a clear lack of strategy.

A systematic approach to sales strategy has been proven to improve sales; those with a systematic approach across every department are more likely to have grown their sales in the last financial year, with Huthwaite’s research finding that they report an average growth of 30.5%, compared with 22%, of those without a systematic approach to selling. Yet despite this, 37% still don’t have a systematic approach to sales across every department, and almost half (45%) of those surveyed would invest in better marketing as a solution to poor sales, demonstrating the focus remains on features rather than solutions.

Tony Hughes, CEO of Huthwaite International, comments on the report: “The telecoms sector is one of the most likely to see a huge amount of interest in new products initially, but with a quick drop off rate translating in few sales. By analysing the sales approach of such companies, we know that a systematic approach is especially important for the highly innovative telecoms market, with multiple product launches happening each year. But, despite this, 37% of companies still don’t have a systematic approach to sales across every department.

“It’s perhaps somewhat surprising that teams are not trained and upskilled in this way, particularly in such an innovative and fast-paced industry. Initial excitement around new products should not be to the detriment of an organisation due to an inexperienced salesperson falling into a product over people approach. We’re hopeful that our research will be able to guide industry leaders into implementing proven, systematic training techniques to ensure telecoms products do not fall flat when brought to market – but, whether they invest in the right kind of training, however, remains to be seen.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine