Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and CFO Timo Ihamuotila took to an early morning conference call to shed some light on the dramatic announcements that the company made today, and in doing so the pair let slip some details about the future of the company’s Lumia smartphone line.
Among Nokia’s plans were to go even lower than their recently-released Lumia 610 in terms of price, something that the Finnish company has apparently been mulling for quite some time. Elop also revealed that Microsoft was giving Nokia “specific support” to go even lower than they had planned.
Aggressive pricing and a broader Lumia product line could potentially go a long way for Nokia — especially in markets like China where tackling the low-cost segment is downright critical — but those don’t address some of the other issues that the beleaguered company is having. Towards the end of the conference call, CEO Elop pointed out that Nokia was still having issues with retail salespeople being either unfamiliar with, or reticent to recommend Lumia smartphones to potential buyers.
“The challenge in all of this is breaking through the strength Android and Apple have in a retail environment, ” Elop said. “We aren’t getting the traction we prefer.”
Addressing that issue going forward is going to be absolutely crucial for Nokia — after all, what good is a having a solid product line if the people on the front lines actually doing the selling won’t close the deal? Nokia’s approach to selling varies between markets — they rely heavily on promoters to capture consumer attention in China for example — but their plan to claw their way back to relevance in the U.S. hinges on an informed salesforce that can recommend Lumia Windows Phones as a viable option when it meets their customers’ needs.
Elop noted that there were a few ways to go about this, specifically by partnering up with carriers (as they had done with AT&T) and focusing on certain retailers. From there Nokia can work with their partners to “adjust” their messaging and better train salespeople, but Nokia still has a long way to go in fine-tuning their process. Hopefully it doesn’t take them too long to crack the code, because their competitors certainly aren’t going to sit and wait for Nokia catch up.