Get Your Sales and Network Operations Teams in Sync

Get Your Sales and Network Operations Teams in Sync blog header

Friction between sales and network operations teams can be problematic for ISPs, and can hurt a company’s growth and revenue plans as well as internal morale.

Of course, workplace conflict is not specific to regional operators. In fact, inter-office troubles are responsible for around $360B in losses for all companies US-wide.

Miscommunication, competing priorities, and lack of direction are all factors that can lead to conflict in the workplace. For ISPs, the potential for a disconnect between network operations and sales can be especially damaging. Let’s look at some common triggers for this rift and ways in which they can be avoided or healed, with a little help from Preseem, of course 🙂

A woman is on a Zoom call with friends

Measure Access Point Capacity Accurately

One of the key flashpoints in friction between sales and network operations teams is access point capacity. What might seem like a relatively simple question—how many more subscribers can Access Point X handle?—can be frustratingly difficult to answer. The same goes for determining whether or not a given AP is oversubscribed.

That’s because generating these numbers has traditionally meant synthesizing complicated airtime and subscriber usage patterns to come up with an approximate value. An ISP might have just one RF expert in the organization who can do these calculations, often using multiple specialized tools. Even then, the number might be based on “feel” or intuition more than hard data. Or, it might be based on misleading data, such as capacity being determined by whether or not customers on an AP have been experiencing issues.

This is where the friction comes in—sales teams don’t like being told that they can’t sell into an area or neighborhood where they know demand exists, while network operations teams don’t want APs getting overloaded or congested. This ongoing tension can affect financial planning, revenue, and employee relationships, to name a few negative consequences.

The good news is that a solution now exists. Preseem’s data modeling and analysis do all that complicated math in the background to produce an Available Subscriber Capacity score.

Available Subscriber Capacity scores can be used by network operations teams to see if an AP is oversubscribed.

This simple metric shows how many subscribers an AP can handle or by how many subscribers an access point is oversubscribed.

Bonus: Download our free eBook on capacity planning and the RF environment to learn how to implement a capacity planning strategy that can help your ISP grow while improving subscriber QoE.

Real-World Example: Vistabeam

To find out how this has successfully reduced tension between sales and network operations in real life, read our success story on Vistabeam. The Nebraska-based ISP had an internal system where capacity was determined by whether customers on an AP were experiencing issues or complaining about poor internet, as opposed to it being a data-driven decision.

This led to inefficiencies like having 90 customers on an AP where there had been no complaints but then marking a same-model access point with 20 customers as “at capacity” because of latency or other issues. This affected financial planning and company performance, as projected customer counts for each AP consistently came in under target.

As a result, this meant that AP capacity planning and reporting was based on gut feeling instead of facts. This led to conflict between management, sales, and networking staff as they discussed which APs could be used.

With Preseem, however, “We now have empirical data that replaces feelings,” said Vistabeam CEO Matt Larsen. “There is one place to point to that is an authority on whether we can sell more capacity on this access point or not.” Click the link above to get the full story.

Grow Your Business Strategically

Another advantage to having a simple subscriber capacity score is that it’s now easy for ISP sales and marketing teams to pinpoint areas that are primed for new customers to be added. If you know, for example, that an AP can handle 16 more subscribers, then you can target that area aggressively with door hangers, yard signs, social media ads, discount offers, and lots more marketing techniques.

Tower climber making adjustments to a network tower

(Check out our Best Practices for Success webinar recap for some great marketing tips from successful regional operators already using Preseem. You can also watch our recent webinar with Ping Marketing CEO Evan Galvin for even more ISP marketing insights.)

Subscriber Capacity scores that show that there’s room to add more customers are great for sales and marketing, but what about negative scores, i.e. when the AP is overloaded? That’s where your Access Network Operations team can help you out.

Use Data to Improve Your Network and Upsell

A negative capacity score could mean that the access point needs to be upgraded or split. If that’s the case, that means your ISP can now target equipment investment to the areas that need capacity the most, not areas where new customers can already be supported.

A negative score could also mean that you have one or more customers on an AP who are affecting the score due to poor RF conditions. We can look to Vistabeam again for a real-world example of this. In the success story linked to above, they explained how they had an AP with a minus-2 capacity score, even though only 14 subscribers were on the access point.

By digging into the RF and Business Value scores included in Preseem’s Fixed Wireless Plus, their network operations team was able to isolate one subscriber with low signal strength that was chewing up capacity. By removing that one customer, they were able to double the capacity on the AP, all without needing any specialized RF expertise. This is also great news for the sales team, who now have an AP to fill with new customers!

The Business Value score mentioned above identifies CPE Radios with the biggest negative impact on a fixed wireless network’s most valuable asset—airtime. Many dimensions are simplified down to a single score that can be used to prioritize improvements. These then enable regional ISPs to sell larger plans and support more subscribers per AP.

Resolving conflict between teams at your organization can help improve communication, increase trust, and reduce stress and tension. For ISPs, it can also improve the experience for subscribers, clean up the network, and help grow the business.

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