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International sales and marketing

BY BIRGER G BARLI

We all know that in order to succeed puter systems had to be developed to the sales organisation to estimate the
in communication business, excellent handle orders, technical implementa- total deliveries in order to plan all the
technical solutions are important, but tions and invoicing. sales and marketing activities.
it is the fulfilment of the customers’
This article describes the main phases Another important part of the analyses
total requirements that makes it a
in the sales process, how the work was was to collect information from similar
complete success. The services offered
organized, general description of ser- arrangements. In the early phase of the
have to be according to customers
vices, prices and conditions. project, experiences from Calgary were
requirements, the sales personnel must
used to estimate the needs, and later, a
be skilled and professional, the price
close collaboration with France Telecom
level has to be acceptable, and lastly, 1 Requirement analysis Olympic Project was established.
deliveries have be according to agree-
The analysis of total needs for telecom- Because of the short period of time (two
ments.
munication services for the Olympics years) between the Olympic Games in
Very early in the process we realized was made in co-operation between NT Albertville and Lillehammer, we esti-
that our knowledge of the customers, and LOOC. LOOC had the responsibility mated the needs for telecommunications
their requirements and needs, was very for all user groups inside their own orga- not to be too diverging. Some of the ser-
limited. When the Norwegian Telecom nization, and they were also responsible vices had different technical solutions,
Olympic Project was established in for telecommunication services to NRK and the availability and price levels had
1989 the work with the requirement ORTO ’94, the police, the International of course influence on the choice made
analyses started in co-operation with Olympic Committee (IOC), health care, by the customers. These factors were
the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing media villages, etc. NT was responsible taken into consideration, and we devel-
Committee (LOOC) and later NRK for deliveries to LOOC, the media cus- oped a table of figures comparing the
ORTO ’94, the host broadcaster. tomers (press and broadcasting), spon- Albertville figures with the result of the
sors, the Olympic villages, and of course requirement analysis we had carried out
When we had obtained a general
all establishments outside the venues. together with LOOC. We also had to cor-
understanding of the needs, and after
The analysis was a continuing work, rect for additional countries that partici-
the overall service and product strat-
started in 1989 and completed in the pated in the Lillehammer Games. As the
egy was decided, the work started to
summer 1992. During this period, 5 ver- Olympics were approaching, we realized
describe in detail the services to be
sions of the document were distributed, that some of the needs were underesti-
offered from NT and at what prices
due to changes in needs. mated. This was first of all international
and conditions. We also had to estab-
video circuits and telephone services out-
lish an organization that was able to The analysis described the telecommuni-
side Olympic venues and sites, but also
communicate our telecommunication cation services each user and user group
ISDN was underestimated. Generally, the
solutions to all groups of “Olympic required at each venue or site. The result
estimated figures were very close to the
Customers”, and of course, we had to of this analysis was used to plan all tech-
services we installed and delivered. One
be able to understand correctly the nical investments and developing of
surprising factor was, however, all the
returned orders from all our interna- telecommunication infrastructure and
orders from customers close up to the
tional customers. Routines and com- solutions. But it was also very useful to
start of the Games. This was not in accor-
phase

analysis & planning presentation customer influence & follow-up operation phase

Operation
Establishment Teleservice
Specific. and follow-up and operation of centre:
of support system committee 080 - sales
Product leaflets and other - booking
presentation material - order handling
- hire
Routines for handling Establishment
activities

Follow-up of customers - payment


orders, invoices, etc and operation of
- specific. of solutions - etc
booking office
Questionnaire &
- contract negotiations
Rate Card
- order handling
Service offers Distribution of
and prices Questionnaire &
DM
Rate Card DM
Production of Rightholders
Requirement analysis Press

Olympic
Committees

1992 1993 1994

Figure 1 Sales process – NT Olympic Project

65
dance with France Telecom’s experi- TeleMobil, Norwegian Telecom and tomers also needed specific information
ences. We were told that in France, 95 partly Norwegian Telecom International. on the equipment in order to make inter-
per cent of the total orders (including LOOC, NRK ORTO ’94 and NT agreed face to own equipment or to train their
deliveries from Telecom Service Cen- to establish a common booking office for own employees.
tres) were received before January 1. broadcasters. It was the first time in any
When the customers returned the order
Olympics that such an agreement had
forms to the common booking office or
2 Sales process – activi- been made. The broadcasters were very
address, the form was split and sent to
satisfied with this solution. The office
ties and organization was situated in Oslo, in the offices
the responsible supplier. In the Norwe-
gian Telecom Olympic Project all orders
It was very important to inform the cus- belonging to NRK ORTO ’94.
were registered in a computer system
tomers as early as possible that NT was
These three organizations developed a (TOPKIS) with all information necessary
responsible for telecommunication ser-
common description of all services and to implement or install the services.
vices and what kind of services were
products offered to the broadcasters.
offered. This also included having to When the first orders and basic in-
“Description and Rate Card” including
describe the services correctly (as they formation about the customer were
common ordering forms called “Ques-
would be delivered two years later!), and received and entered into the system, the
tionnaires” were worked out. These doc-
decide the price level and strategy. “A process of “influencing” the customer
uments were distributed to all rightholder
Guide to Telecommunication Service” started. If the customer’s orders did not
broadcasting companies in May 1992.
was developed as the first and general correspond with our expectations, the
description of services and prices offer- For press companies, a common booking Account Manager took necessary actions
ed. This description was later supplied by office was established in the press sec- to ensure that the understanding of our
“Product Description” leaflets, contain- tion of LOOC, and likewise for the services offered was correct. NT did also
ing more specific information on the ser- Olympic Committees. The Rate Card and participate in meetings with the largest
vices and equipment. These documents Questionnaires for these categories were media companies, Olympic Committees
were distributed to the customers and distributed in February and March 1993. and sponsors arranged by LOOC. An
handed out in presentation meetings. These documents were based on the doc- important part of this were the OBAC
uments for broadcasters but adjusted for meetings with the rightholders twice a
“One stop shopping” was defined as a
press and Olympic Committees. year from 1991. In addition to the formal
critical factor in order to succeed in the
meetings, “post” and “pre” meetings
handling of all international customers. In addition to the more general de-
were arranged to discuss agreements and
First of all, the different Telecom compa- scription in the documents mentioned
deliveries of telecom services. In the
nies within the Norwegian Telecom above, “product leaflets” were develop-
planning phase of any Olympic Games, it
Group decided that Norwegian Telecom ed. Due to the fact that some of the speci-
is very important to work hard to con-
Olympic Project should co-ordinate all fications were changed during the pro-
vince the broadcasters and the main press
the sales and marketing activities within cess, these documents included detailed
agencies that the services offered will
the company group on behalf of TBK, and updated information. Lots of cus-
satisfy the need for telecommunication
services, and of course convince them
about price level and conditions. We had
some disagreements in the early planning
phase, but with a few exceptions the
prices were never changed. NT also suc-
ceeded in the work towards the Norwe-
gian Government to avoid VAT on inter-
national telecommunication services,
which was strongly demanded by the
broadcasters.
It was a major challenge for Norwegian
Telecom to handle all the international
customers in a professional way within
the time limits and available resources. A
sales organization was established with a
Sales Manager, 9 Account Managers and
a secretary. The customers were seg-
mented into different groups: Broadcast-
ing, International Press, Olympic Com-
mittees, Sponsors, National Press and
Organizations. In this way the Account
Managers gathered experience and knowl-
edge within one of the customer segments.
Most of the contact between an Account
Manager and an international customer
was of course by use of telefax and tele-
phone. All the major companies visited
Figure 2 Participants in the OBAC meeting

66
Lillehammer during the planning process, price based on three weeks rental and the (2B+D) was offered due to the fact that
and meetings were held to discuss special possibility for additional weeks. the PBXes installed were not equipped
customer demands and implementation with Euro-ISDN interface. It also
details. English was defined as a “project 3.1 Telephone services appeared that very few of the customer
language”, but we really did have some requested 30B+D. The ISDN services
NT and LOOC established a special
language problems, especially with cus- were primarily used for data communica-
Olympic Network (ON) in the region
tomers in Japan, but none of these prob- tion and transfer of pictures. But NT also
covering all Olympic venues and sites
lems caused any serious disagreements delivered ISDN for 7 kHz high quality
where telephone services were de-
according to completion of deliveries. In sound for commentary use and ISDN for
manded. Basic elements in the Olympic
addition to meetings, discussions and monitoring of venues and buildings.
Network were PBXes delivered by TBK
telephone calls, two Direct Mails were ISDN applications like EuroFile (file
and Centrex services implemented in
distributed to the customers in 1993. The transfer), videophone and Fax Gr. 4 were
NT’s Olympic switches forming a hybrid
main message was to remind them of the demonstrated at our Telecom Service
Virtual Private Network (VPN). In addi-
progressive increase of prices in the time Centres at IBC and MPC.
tion, Centrex was delivered as part of the
leading up to the Games and also to
Olympic Network through NT’s public
describe the latest changes in, or addi-
switches in Lillehammer, Gjøvik and
3.3 Leased Circuits and
tional, services offered.
Hamar. This was to cover all needs out-
Data Communication
The sales team worked very closely with side the Olympic venues. The agreement Leased analogue circuits were offered as
the Olympic Business Office (OBO). As with LOOC regulated which customer Class T telephone-type circuits according
opposed to NT’s ordinary organization, it could be connected to the ON. to CCITT M.1040 for national installa-
was only the Account Managers that had tions and CCITT M.1020 for interna-
The Olympic Network users were offered
direct contact with the customers. The tional circuits.
a 5-digit number plan with no traffic
idea was to have only one “access point”
charges on telephone calls within the net- Leased digital circuits were offered with
to our organization to avoid misunder-
work. Calls out of the network were transfer rates from 2.4 kbit/s to 2 Mbit/s
standings and multiple handling of cus-
charged according to normal traffic char- for national use and for international con-
tomers. Based on forms printed out from
ges. A switchboard operated by LOOC nections 64 kbit/s, nX 64 kbit/s and
the customer data base (TOPKIS) OBO
was installed at each venue. All lines 2 Mbit/s.
was able to implement necessary infor-
were enabled for direct dialling out and
mation in all other computer systems to Other services offered like Datapak
direct dialling in. The customers were
establish the services, including invoic- (X.25), Datex (X.21) and Telemax 400
also offered two types of switchboards,
ing systems. As described later in this (X.400) were requested on a very limited
ICAT (based on a PC) and a simple
article, all of the services had to be paid scale.
switchboard solution by use of ASCOM.
before any deliveries could be made. The
terms of payment are described later in Main Centrex services offered in the 3.4 Mobile communication
this article, but they imply that the first Olympic Network: services
invoice had to be issued at the time of
- Call Transfer Major investments and installations were
ordering. The invoices were produced by
- Call Hold made before the Olympics to satisfy the
OBO, verified and distributed to the cus-
- Call Waiting demand of mobile telephone services.
tomers by the Account Manager. The
- Call Forwarding Three different automatic cellular sys-
invoicing and payment process was com-
- Fixed Destination Call tems were offered: NMT 450, NMT 900
plicated and probably the most time con-
- Three Party Services. and GSM. Two types of NMT 900
suming part in the process. This was also
mobile telephone sets were offered for
due to the fact that we did not have “state
Additional services could be ordered, and rental: TBK Fighter and TBK VIP. The
of the art” or flexible invoicing systems.
adjustments to special customer demands equipment was offered as a “package”
OBO handled a total of 14 computer sys- could be made upon request. Our experi- including subscription for three weeks.
tems in order to register the implementa- ences after the Games are that most of
Two types of paging services were also
tion of all the different telecommunica- the customers only needed basic services
offered: Paging Numbers and Paging
tion services. One month before the for their operations. Because of the lim-
Text. Paging Text was the most popular
Games started, 12 people were working ited time to train personnel, only a few
service, and it was also possible to send
at the Olympic Business Office. As men- customers were using the additional ser-
text messages by help of INFO ’94,
tioned above, they worked in very close vices offered. But NT decided very early
LOOC’s Information system, available at
co-operation with the sales team, espe- in the process to implement “state of the
all Olympic sites.
cially because of changes in orders close art” services in the Olympic Network,
up to the Games. reflecting the services to be offered in the
near future.
3.5 Broadcasting services
3 Telecommunication In addition to the Olympic Network, ordi-
NT had the responsibility for all transfer
of video and audio signals from all
services nary subscription was offered at all sites.
venues to IBC, from sites outside venues
This section gives a short summary of the to IBC and international transmissions
main telecommunication services offered
3.2 ISDN from IBC.
by NT for the Olympic Games at Lille- Euro-ISDN was introduced for the first
VANDA, a one way transmission of a
hammer. All services were offered at a time in Norway as a commercial offer
video signal and two associated 15 kHz
during the Olympics. Only Basic access

67
Table 1 Services delivered
Number NT own Total
ordered needs audio channels, was offered in the fol- according to the date of validation of the
Audio occasional lowing video formats: order as follows:
3.4 kHz 16 16 - PAL 625/50 - 10 per cent discount on catalogue
15 kHz 4 4
Coordination circuits 4 4 - NTSC 525/60 prices for orders placed before January
Total 24 0 24
- Digital Component Video 1, 1993
- 34 Mb/s (DCT-coded video).
- Catalogue prices given for the
Audio international
Olympic Games for orders placed
3.4 kHz 60 60 In addition, HDTV was offered upon
before July 1, 1993
7.0 kHz 9 9 request. However, HDTV transmissions
15 kHz 13 13
2 x 15 kHz 1 1
were solved by offering rental of fibre - 20 per cent surcharge on catalogue
Coordination circuits 68 68 circuits with the customers’ own equip- prices for orders placed between July
Total 151 0 151
ment connected. 1, 1993 and December 31, 1993
Occasional VANDA for transmission - 40 per cent surcharge on catalogue
Audio national
from outside the venues to IBC was prices on orders placed after December
3.4 kHz 157 50 207
7 kHz 232 36 268
offered by renting of mobile satellite 31, 1993.
15 kHz 36 10 46 buses. The service could be booked
2 x 15 kHz 21 21 through our booking office at IBC. It was On receipt of an order, the customer
Coordination circuits 189 189
also possible to book capacity for inter- should pay 20 per cent of the charges for
Total 635 96 731 national VANDA transmission from IBC the services featured in the order confir-
and MPC based on the “first come – first mation, within 30 days at the latest. No
Data communicat. services
serve” principal. agreements were considered valid until
X.25, 2.4 kbit 2 2
X.25, 9.6 kbit 2 32 34
the amount due was paid. The balance
Commentary and co-ordination circuits
X.25, 64 kbit 1 1 (80 per cent of the total amount) plus
X.28, user ID 3 3
were offered with the following qualities:
deposit on terminal equipment and pre-
X.21, 9.6 kbit 1 1
- Audio 3.4 kHz w/3.4 kHz feedback payment of traffic were charged in Octo-
Total 9 32 41 ber and November 93. Immediate pay-
- Audio 7 kHz w/3.4 kHz feedback
ment was required if the order was
ISDN
- Audio 15 kHz w/3.4 kHz feedback placed after October 1, 1993.
ISDN, Attendant services 28 28
2B+D 229 60 289 - Audio 2 x 15 kHz w/3.4 kHz feedback Prepayment on traffic was balanced and
Total 257 60 317 the remaining deposit, if applicable, was
- 4-wire co-ordination circuits.
reimbursed after the expiry under the
Leased int’l digit. circuits condition that all sums owing to NT were
64 kbit 10 10 Occasional Audio International was also
paid. In the event of damage or loss of
128 kbit 6 6 offered at the quality of 3.4, 7 and 15
512 kbit 2 2 equipment, NT deducted from the depo-
kHz.
2 Mbit 6 6 sit the sum necessary to cover expenses.
Total 24 0 24 4 Prices – terms If the customer at any time cancelled his
order/request, the amount due for pay-
Leased int’l anal. circuits and conditions ment at the date of cancellation was kept
M1020 - Eur 21 21
M1040 - Eur 1 1 The telecommunication services offered by NT to cover expenses.
were based on a minimum of three weeks
Total 22 0 22 Due to the principle of no deliveries
rental. The rental period could be
before payment, the amount due to NT
Leased nat’l anal. circuits 94 94 extended by ordering additional week(s).
after the Games was less than 0.2 per
Some elements that were evaluated when
Leased nat’l digit. circuits
cent of total income.
the price level was set were:
2.4 kbit 1 1
19.2 kbit 3 3 - Price level in the Olympic Games in 5 Delivery of services
9.6 kbit 3 3 Calgary, Albertville and Barcelona
64 kbit 4 4 After implementation of all services in
128 kbit 3 3 - Ordinary telecommunication prices in the different computer systems at the
2 Mbit 12 12 Norway Olympic Business Office, orders were
N x 64 kbit 160 160
Not specified 71 71 routed to DSOL (Surveillance and Oper-
- Cost of development and constructions.
DDI/DDO 29 29 ating Centre for the Olympics) for instal-
Total 380 0 380 lation and implementation. Circuits and
The development costs were fairly high,
configurations were tested by installation
Paging services 945 98 1043 but it was very difficult to exceed the
personnel and completion messages were
price levels set by telecom companies
Mobile telephone services 1033 46 1079 sent back to DSOL. The Account Man-
responsible for past Olympic Games.
agers were also involved in the quality
Olympic Network 3686 224 3910
Terms of payment were adapted and control of configurations and physical
Public network 1100 1100 adjusted from Albertville 92 and the installations to ensure the best possible
main principles were as follows: delivery. After all, it was the Account
VANDA international 27 27 Managers and service personnel who
The charges for the products and services
would welcome the customers to the
VANDA national 95 26 121 offered were subject to price increases
venues, and if any mistakes were made,

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ANP Stichting Algemeen Nederlands Presbureau, Den Haag: FLT Press, Stockholm:
“We also want to extend to you our congratulations for a splen- “Thanks for a formidable OL and a by all means perfect service.
did job done and thank you for your co-operation.” From now on in Sweden we don’t talk in national terms when it
comes to i.e. Olympic medals – we talk in Nordic terms and
M.L. Weydert, Associated Press, USA:
consequently we count Nordic gold medals. We did win a lot in
“... I’ve been coordinating the setup of our Olympic facilities
Lillehammer ...”
since 1984 and can say, without exception, that Lillehammer
was the best ever! To those of us who were there, the 1994 Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, China:
Winter Olympics were almost magical. Not only have they given “We are impressed by your excellent telecommunications ser-
us pleasant memories that will stay with us for a long time to vice and equipment and we will cherish such nice impression
come, they have set a standard by which we will judge future for quite some time to come, perhaps until the next sporting
Games.” event which offers state-of-the-art service and equipment, as
good as we used in Lillehammer. Thank you very much for your
The Sankei Shimbun, Japan:
cooperation and help.”
“Thank you so much for your cooperation. We could succeed in
covering the XVII Olympic Games. We were very happy to Sportinformation AG, Zürich:
know the power of high technology by Norwegian Telecom “At this moment, we want to thank you very, very much for the
Olympic Project. Please say hallow to your all staff and come to perfect service from you personally and from Norwegian Tele-
Japan for next Olympic Games in Nagano.” com.”
Allsport UK, London: Commercial Communication Studios GmbH, Frankfurt/Main:
“Many thanks for all the services provided during the Olympic “... I want to thank you once again for all the effort, flexibility and
Games, and the support that your team gave to Allsport in Lille- dedication you put into your work with us. It really was an abso-
hammer. The telecommunication facilities were excellent, and lute pleasure to be working with you.”
we, as a sports photo agency, had a very successful operation
Axel Springer Verlag AG, Hamburg:
because your facilities worked so well. So thanks again.”
“We have had a nice time in Lillehammer. Everything was well
Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich: organized. Thank you very much for your help that we could
“I can confirm that these Games have been one of the most cover the Olympic Games with success.”
successful ones ever. Especially the very friendly, always
Fédération Francaise de Ski, France:
cheerful atmosphere attributed to this success. You and your
“Thank you very much for your so much appreciated and helpful
staff made work in and around the IBC so much easier. Please
cooperation. These XVII Olympic Winter Games were a huge
accept our sincere thanks for the excellent work you have ren-
success and all the French officials, athletes and coaches will
dered to ARD and ZDF.”
keep wonderful memories of them.”
Deutsche Presseagentur GmbH, Hamburg:
AT&T, USA:
“The cordial welcome we received, the perfect organisation, the
“It was a pleasure dealing with you during the Lillehammer
technical support we received previous to and during the
Games. I hope the USA can do as good a job as Norway!”
Games – all of these aspects contributed to make our stay in
Norway most enjoyable. This was reflected in our products to APC:
our clients, too. It was a great pleasure to cooperate with you.” “I would like to thank you very much for all your kind assistance
and cooperations during the time of preparations and the time
Knight-Ridder Inc., Miami, Florida:
of the Games itself ... We are really proud that we could enjoy
“Thank you again for your kindness and professionalism before
and experience working with you and your company. Thanks
and during the wonderful Olympic Games in Norway. You and
again on behalf of all the APC marketing agency.”
your countryment should feel proud of the great accomplish-
ment. It was the best Olympics ever.”

Figure 3 Some of the statements made by our international customers after the Games

these people were responsible on behalf Table 1 is a summary of telecommunica- involvement in the Olympics. The
of Norwegian Telecom. tion services delivered by NT for the answers were analysed by Norsk Gallup,
XVII Olympic Winter Games. and the result was nothing but sensa-
The very first customer arrived in Lille-
tional. The total score, on a scale of up to
hammer in August 1993, and the com-
pany was of course CBS. Only a few oth-
6 Conclusion 100, was 10 points better in many of the
customer relationships than other
ers started their work at the venues With regard to sales, NT really did suc-
research shows for general deliveries in
before 15 January 1994. Due to the fact ceed in offering the services requested,
this market in Norway.
that many of our customers ordered addi- and the total income was higher than esti-
tional services or changed orders, NT had mated. The question was: Did we suc- From March to August 1994, the NT
a huge amount of work to be done very ceed in fulfilling the customers’ demands Olympic Project received letters from
close to the day of the Opening Cere- and expectations for telecommunication over 60 international customers. Figure 3
mony. Most of the customers arrived be- services? shows some of the statements.
tween January 25 and February 10. The
In May 1994 Norsk Gallup carried out a A small company, in a global view, has
most hectic time in the Telecom Service
Customer Satisfaction Monitoring taken a considerable step forward in the
Centres was between 10 days before the
involving 300 Olympic customers asking process to state the position in the Inter-
opening of the Games and three days
various questions relating to NT’s total national Telecommunication market.
after the Games had started.

69