How to Sell… UCaaS

ucaasIn our previous blog series on 3 Steps to Telecom Success, we discussed a number of things that you can do to realize sustainable growth, increase your profit, and increase customer loyalty. One of the overriding themes was adding more cards to your deck – bundling more services into your existing offering.

Perhaps you have made the decision to add Unified Communications, mobility, or something else to your solution, but what’s next? How do we sell this new service?

Our next series is on “How to Sell…” We will cover UCaas, Mobility, and Integration to start. If you want to learn about how to sell other services, please give us your suggestions in the comments below.

In the meantime, we’ll start with how to sell Unified Communications as a Service.

What is the main reason your customers do not purchase UCaaS? According to the research, it’s probably a lack of information about how UC will benefit their company and how to make the transition.

An Osterman Research study found that 48% of businesses do not understand how UC will benefit their business. They may understand and even want Unified Communications, but are unable to make the leap to the direct benefit to their business. Research also shows that “39% of businesses are intimidated by the migration process.” They may need a little hand-holding to get started. (Source: www.eweek.com).

In the face of these facts, your best tool will be education. If you want to sell UCaaS, you have to teach your customers about UC, thus assuaging their uncertainties and fears.

Benefits

Start by showing what UCaaS can do for your customer – what value will it bring to their business. Be careful not to confuse benefits with features. Features like presence and click-to-call and instant messaging are important and you will want to show those too, but not quite yet. Benefits are big picture values like:

  • Saves time so you can focus on selling
  • Eases stress in the office
  • Supports productivity in workers
  • Enables you to provide better customer service

These are all about how UC will improve the day-to-day lives of your customers. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what issues they face, where are they wasting time everyday, what frustrations do they express. They will identify with these benefits and instantly want to know how to attain them.

Features

Which brings us to features. You have explained what they will get from Unified Communications, now show them how they will get it. Go back through your list of benefits and add at least one feature that supports each. Those are the features that you will show your customers. Some examples are:

  • Click-to-call
  • Drag-and-drop conferences
  • Presence
  • Call transfers
  • Screen-share
  • Voicemail to email
  • Fax to email
  • Multichannel communication
  • Video calling

The list goes on and on. You will know best what types of benefits and features your customers would value.

Transition

Finally, show a clear transition roadmap to your customers from the very start. You now know that they may have fears when it comes to migrating, so bolster their confidence right from the beginning. Take care of as much of the transition from your end as you can so that they have less to worry about. If you are confident, they will become confident as well.

With all three of these areas, demos will be your best friend. Rather than trying to explain the benefits and describe the features over the phone, get them on a free demo and illustrate it. Once they get started, they won’t want to stop.

As you go through the demo, use clear, specific examples to make your points – things that they will immediately identify with and latch on to. For example, you could say “Have you ever been on the phone with a colleague and needed the quick input of someone else? How did you handle it? Did you have to hang up and then come back to the call later? Shoot an email and wait for the response? What if it was as easy as grabbing that third person with your mouse and dragging them in to the call?” as you are doing just that in a demo. If they have ever faced that problem, they will be sold.

One more selling technique to consider: UC makes it so even the smallest businesses can act like enterprises. This is a huge selling point if they fully grasp it. Show your smaller customers that they will have the same capabilities and tools as large enterprises, leveling the playing field for the first time.

If you are interested in learning more about UC and/or selling, we have a few more blog posts that may be of interest to you.

As always, feel free to reach out to us if you want to chat with an experienced account manager.

Stay tuned for next week: How to Sell… Mobility

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It’s a Small World After All (Bicom in Montenegro)

bicomAs many of you know, last month we held our annual Bicom Systems conference with staff and partners in Budva, Montenegro. Part of the weekend was spent cruising around the beautiful Bay of Kotor.

Funny story – while on the boat, someone noticed that the safety equipment was from the North of France – near where another staff lives. It seemed quite a coincidence. But then a partner from Italy, also on the boat, noticed that it was manufactured by an Italian company (Eurovinil Survitec Group). Just a week beforehand, Eurovinil had signed up for PBXware.

Small world.

Speaking of Montenegro – our 2017 Conference was a blast. We got down to business the first day and all attendees say they learned more than ever before. (You can now view and download our conference presentations.) The weekend was spent seeing the sights, relaxing, and getting to know one another. We hope you will join us next year!

bicom

Breaking the Silence on Skyswitch

skyswitchThough we have discussed our competitors a number of times on this blog, it is never something that I like to do. I am a firm believer in “rising above,” especially in a professional setting. But the “marketing” efforts coming out of a company called SkySwitch have pushed even me to the point of breaking my silence.

SkySwitch is again using the search phrase “Bicom Systems” in an attempt drive traffic to their website. (A piece of advice – if your own brand name is not bringing in enough traffic, there are thousands of industry-relevant keywords to focus on before resorting to other companies’ brand names.)

This time they are proclaiming that “it’s time to cheat on Bicom Systems.” At the risk of stooping to their level of using immature, inflammatory language in what should be a professional setting – dare we throw out the phrase “if they will cheat with you, they will cheat on you.” Of course business partnerships are not really like marriages, but trust is an important part of both. Our advice to you: choose a partner that values integrity and trust.

As far as I can tell, SkySwitch is claiming that subscribers of all major communications providers (the document I was given is clearly not specific to Bicom Systems) should switch to them on the basis of nine reasons. I will respond to each of these as concisely as possible and include evidence so you can come to your own conclusions. (Yes, we are confident enough in our own solutions and partners to transparently discuss potential issues.)

1. “You know there are problems before you (SIC) provider does”

Their first claim is that your business may be in trouble and no one will notice. Bicom Systems developed SIP Monitoring and SIP Security modules for this exact purpose. Issues will not only be identified, but even fixed automatically.

2. “No escalation procedure in place”

You can see our escalation procedure here: www.bicomsystems.com/support (I guess SkySwitch didn’t do their research before putting pen to paper.)

We whole-heartedly agree with their claim that “problems happen”. No provider is perfect and bugs will arise with Bicom Systems or SkySwitch or any other provider. However, after 15 years of experience, our team of technical support engineers and telecommunications experts responds to support tickets quickly and efficiently. But don’t take our word for it – check out our customer reviews here: blog.bicomsystems.com/customer-reviews.

Going one step further, SkySwitch claims that your platform is “connected to many carriers and third-party providers.  While most problems within your service provider’s own platform should be easily solved, those that originate outside their platform may require cooperation among a number of companies.” On the contrary, Bicom Systems partners typically do not require other carriers or third-party providers as we have all of the pieces in-house, thus avoiding many compatibility issues in the first place.

3. “Poor Processes = Poor Performance”

“There are reasons to have solid procedures in place when customers report issues or open trouble tickets.” Again, see our support procedures here: www.bicomsystems.com/support

Our support team put together efficient support and escalation procedures years ago. This is not something that occurs naturally in a company, but rather something that needs dedication, organization, and experience to perfect.

4. “Poor SLA Delivery”

We sign an SLA (Service Level Agreement) with all of our partners. You can see it here: www.bicomsystems.com/files/public/corporate/SLA.pdf.

May we also point out that we have more staff in our Support Department than SkySwitch has total staff. Our support team is spread across three continents for maximum reach and availability.

5. “Data Leakage Among Clients”

SkySwitch expresses a concern that data may be leaked between partners in the absence of a true multi-tenant platform. Fortunately for us and our partners, Bicom Systems actually developed one of the first multi-tenant platforms with unlimited extensions and tenants. We guarantee 100% scalability and elasticity to our partners and resellers, so of course we have the same capacity internally by default. Learn about our Multi-Tenant platform here: www.bicomsystems.com/products/multi-tenant-pbx

See our Privacy Policy here: www.bicomsystems.com/legal/policies/privacy_policy

6. “Tax Compliance Failure”

Our partners typically use our in-house billing software and integrate it with the Tax Provider of their choice. Again, we are more than happy to work on an individual basis and develop custom solutions when necessary. Read more in our TELCOware manual.

7. “More Iron to Support Growth”

SkySwitch points out an interesting difference between hosted and cloud solutions. “In a hosted solution, there is often hardware and servers specifically dedicated to servicing a particular client. Servers may need to be added to address the growth of that client or support premium features such as on demand call recording.” Not to worry, Bicom Systems offers true, high-availability cloud solutions that support scalability – both up and down – with just the click of a button. Read our definition of “cloud” here: blog.bicomsystems.com/what-is-cloud-communications

And we’ll add here that we are not limited to the cloud, but also have hosted, premise, and even Key Systems. Growth can happen however is best for your company.

8. “Insisting on Long-Term Contracts”

We offer our hosted and rented solutions with 30-day contracts. It never occurred to us to make them longer – to date no one has stopped paying.

9. “Provider Diversity is Met With Dismay”

On the contrary, many of our customers come to us from legacy situations. We always value the knowledge gained by working with other providers. With partners around the globe, diversity is no stranger to Bicom Systems and we have developed custom solutions to ensure compatibility with third parties many times.

In conclusion, if you are interested in Bicom Systems or already a partner and experiencing any issues or discontentment – just give us a call. To date, we have not lost any of our partners to SkySwitch. We are happy to chat about what’s going on and work together to a solution. It is not unusual for us to develop custom solutions for individual partners to ensure they are getting exactly what they need. Check out some examples here: blog.bicomsystems.com/category/custom-work 

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Can Your Mechanic Do An Oil Change? (Thirdlane Support)

thirdlaneWe have been working with a company that was wavering between PBXware and Thirdlane. They have demos running of each option and are testing all of the features before making a final decision.

When testing inbound faxing (fax-to-email), the company ran into an issue on the Thirdlane demo. They reached out to Thirdlane support – it is worth mentioning here that their support department is just one person – who had no idea that their system even included inbound faxing. So much for troubleshooting the issue.

Fortunately, the testers were savvy enough to resolve the issue themselves, but left with a feeling of wariness about the utility of Thirdlane support.

Our Account Manager on the case made this poignant comparison: “If you bring your car in for an oil change only to find that the mechanic didn’t even know your car had an oil filter, you will be peeling out of there faster than you can say ‘rip-off’.”

In all seriousness, no platform is perfect and you are going to need support well beyond the initial purchase and installation. Don’t settle for anything less than an experienced, knowledgeable, and dependable team of support professionals.