Business Challenge: A1 needed to empower sellers to work together on high-value activities like relationship-building — but siloed data and repetitive reporting tasks stood in the way of driving its billion-dollar business
From homes to offices to cities, technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence are transforming the way we live and work. At the enterprise services division at A1, a leading provider of telecoms services in Austria, the aim is to help businesses drive their digital transformations. Whether companies are looking for traditional telecom services or the latest digital capabilities, A1 must effectively co-ordinate sales activities to convert prospects into clients.
Georg Schaller, Sales Information Management Leader at A1, tells us: “We offer a wide range of services — from simple leased lines all the way up to smart city solutions. Negotiating these kinds of enterprise contracts can be a complex process, and to help us win new clients and retain existing customers, it’s crucial for our sales teams to work together effectively.”
In the past, A1’s employees relied heavily on email and phone calls to develop opportunities and drive negotiations. The challenge with this approach was that data on prospects was siloed in individual sellers’ mailboxes, which made it difficult to transfer knowledge to other teams as a sale progressed. In addition, A1’s sales teams needed to spend significant amounts of time each week preparing pipeline reports for senior managers, which reduced the time available to cultivate relationships with prospects.
A1 was confident that managing its sales activities in a more centralized and automated way would make it easier to share information about opportunities internally. The new way of working also promised to empower sales teams to spend more time on higher-value activities. To achieve its goals, the company decided to deploy a sales pipeline management application.
“We knew that designing a sales pipeline management application from the ground up would be too complex and procuring an enterprise-class tool would be too costly,” Schaller explains. “When A1 merged with a business that was already using Domino as a rudimentary sales tool, we immediately recognized there was another way. We decided to use the digital workflow capabilities of Domino to accelerate the development of a sales pipeline solution.”
Just like a decathlete needs to perform at a high level in a variety of disciplines, Domino has proven it has the versatility and agility we need to drive our billion-dollar business.”
Enabling collaboration across the sales cycle
By embracing the Domino platform, A1 dramatically reduced the cost, time and complexity of developing a sales pipeline management application in-house.
“One of the things that we value most about Domino is how agile and adaptive it is,” says Schaller. “Domino offered us the business logic we needed to rapidly start designing digital workflows to support our sales processes. The platform was easy to integrate with our systems of record, which include spreadsheets, databases and line-of-business applications. And because we have the flexibility to export data from Domino to spreadsheets, slides and emails, we were able to automate many of our sales reporting processes. To date, the solution has integrated seamlessly with everything from our Microsoft Exchange servers, Teradata analytics solutions and cloud-based applications to our legacy SAP and Clarify systems.”
After a successful proof-of-concept exercise, A1 took advantage of the seamless scalability of Domino applications to roll out digital workflows to support sales teams across all its subsidiaries.
“Every sales team works slightly differently, and Domino makes it straightforward to adapt our digital workflows based on individual requirements,” explains Schaller. “In a previous role, I worked as a sales representative for more than 10 years, so I was already familiar with the kinds of information our people needed to work effectively — but I knew that the most powerful way of finding out how well the platform was working was to ask our employees themselves. By travelling around the business and discussing our sellers’ experiences using the Domino platform, we uncovered opportunities to enhance the solution, such as creating additional data views to answer common questions from sales managers.”
Today, teams across A1 use the sales pipeline application to support their day-to-day activities — from looking up client contact details to generating detailed reports for decision-making. And because all teams are using the same platform, it’s easier than ever for employees to collaborate on sales opportunities.
“Although we did have a central repository for client data before we deployed Domino, our siloed way of working made it extremely difficult to keep the information up to date,” says Schaller. “Today, our sales pipeline application actively prompts users to add information, which helps us ensure that we have accurate data to drive timely, well-informed decisions.”
Driving efficiency and delivering results
More than 900 employees across A1 now rely on the company’s Domino application to coordinate their sales activities.
“Whether it’s our pre-sales teams calculating on costings and working on tenders, our post-sales teams helping to fulfil orders, or our managers overseeing the entire process, Domino is at the heart of practically everything our people do,” says Schaller.
“Whereas in the past our sales teams would have to spend large amounts of time each week building sales reports, our managers can now generate them in the application with the click of a button. As a result, we’ve unlocked enormous operational efficiencies — freeing our sales teams to focus on building relationships with prospects. Most importantly, our sellers now have a centralized platform to collaborate on opportunities, which means we can bring together talent from across the organization to help close deals.”
As part of an international group with operations throughout Europe and in Mexico, A1 must meet regulatory requirements such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which mandates financial disclosures from corporations to prevent accounting fraud. Using Domino, A1 was able to quickly and effectively roll out changes to its business logic to help ensure compliance with the new regulations.
Schaller comments: “For example, if our sales pipeline application detects that an employee has exported more than 50 lines of data to a spreadsheet, it automatically alerts their manager to investigate further and confirm there is a legitimate reason for the activity. The regulatory environment is always changing, and we need to be agile to meet emerging requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]. Thanks to Domino, we can make the necessary updates to our application without any downtime — enabling us to meet our regulatory obligations with no interruption to the business.”
The majority of A1’s sales representatives use iPads while they work remotely with prospects. Looking ahead, A1 plans to utilize mobile support in Domino 10 to enable its teams to access their applications securely from their tablets.
"The secure mobile support in Domino 10 has changed the way we do business,” says Schaller. “Our teams are able to access databases and systems from anywhere at all times, bringing our whole organization closer to digital transformation."
A1 has trusted Domino to drive its business for more than 15 years and is confident that the solution has delivered a significant return on investment. Despite supporting a range of complex use cases, the solution requires a team of just three full-time equivalents (FTEs) to manage and develop — including all training and help desk-related tasks.
“We have upgraded our Domino platform a number of times over the years,” concludes Schaller. “Every piece of information we put into our sales pipeline management application on day one is still accessible — whether it is stored in our production applications or in archive applications, which also run on Domino."
“Without a doubt, Domino is unbeatable when it comes to total cost of ownership, especially compared to enterprise-class ERP applications that perform similar functions."
Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, and listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, A1 Telekom Austria Group is a leading provider of digital services and communications solutions in Central and Eastern Europe. The largest member of A1 Telekom Austria Group, A1 serves private consumers, small- and medium-size businesses and enterprises across the country, including approximately 6.1 million mobile customers and 2.3 million fixed-line customers.