With roughly 200,000 office buildings in North America already connected to its fiber network, Lumen Technologies wants to introduce itself to the businesses inside those buildings — and show them how Lumen can change their businesses for the better.
“Those buildings contain thousands of potential enterprise customers who could have easy access to our network and our solutions. We just need to begin conversations with them,” says Regional Vice President Billy Parker.
Billy says Lumen’s “Assets on the Ground” initiative is taking a three-prong approach. It narrowed down its list of underutilized buildings to target the best prospects for potential growth. It identified larger enterprise customers who are aggressively pursuing network expansions in geographies where Lumen can link connectivity to new customers. And it carefully tracked individual markets, aligning fiber expansion in those places where new businesses are setting up shop.
“Once we get customers connected to our network, then we can introduce them to the wide array of solutions we offer,” Billy notes.
Tracking regional growth
One of those fast growth areas is Arizona, where new business applications were up almost 4% in 2019, according to the U.S. Census. Bob Interdonato is the local general manager for the region, and he works closely with Senior Manager Phil Panipinto, who leads the Desk Based Sales team in the area. Together, they closely review the buildings currently lit with Lumen fiber, and then start communicating with the best prospects.
Bob says a lot of competitors can offer fiber, but they often fall short when it comes to combining connectivity with our portfolio of enterprise solutions, like edge compute or managed security.
“There is no middle-man in the way when it’s our fiber. Competitive prices, great customer service, and around the clock support. We make it tough for new customers to say ‘no,’” he says.
One of those customers is the Valley Sleep Center, which operates a half dozen facilities in Phoenix area. “I chose Lumen due to the sales staff, the pricing, and the availability of the service at our location,” says Technical Director Gerald Fougner, who uses Lumen at the Center's Mesa location. “We try to avoid new ISP buildouts whenever possible as it takes time and can have complications.”
At the same time, Bob and Phil actively study business activity within key business corridors within Arizona, such as the growing data center activity taking place in the Phoenix suburbs. Working with colleagues in the Access Management team, they can identify new business park construction, determine how much it would cost to run fiber to the site, and how quickly we can get a return for our investment. Bob calls it “expansion with a strategic purpose.”
Partnership with Customer Success team
In the first quarter, this combined approach of targeting wired buildings and new expansion with powerful business solutions doubled overall productivity within Phil’s desk-based team on a sales dollars per representative basis. Phil also credits his partnership with the Customer Success team to keep everything laser focused.
“Customer Success does a great job taking care of the operational issues, while we focus our energies bringing on new customers and expanding our business,” says Phil. “They help us put together solutions and make sure the customers get the day-to-day care they need. We work side by side, so my team can spend more time selling.”
Beth Mitchell, vice president of Customer Success, highlights the natural synergies in place.
“Enterprise customers like talking to people who ask the questions that matter, like tell me more about your business, how do you measure success, and how can we help you achieve it. This commitment to listen and learn allows us to understand what solutions fit their individual needs, but more importantly, how we can get them access to the right services,” she says.
Billy admits he is not surprised the Assets on the Ground strategy has gotten off to a good start in 2021.
“There are a lot of shiny towers out there filled with mid-market enterprise customers. But there is only one Lumen, and our network and our set of solutions can shine just as brightly,” he says.