Are All Prospects Worth the Sales Pitch?

sales pitchThe short answer: Yes.

Anyone in telecom sales knows the importance of prioritizing leads and allocating your time wisely. Of course there will always be prospects that are clearly worth extra attention and time. But no prospect should be ignored if you are still interested in growing.

The reasons are obvious: you never know who will surprise you, ignoring a lead may hurt your brand image, etc. But we have a prime example of the value of every lead.

A few days ago we were contacted by a company that wanted our gloCOM unified communications softphone app. They already had an Asterisk-based PBX system and were not interested in making any changes. They just needed that one last piece to tie the whole solution together.

Rather than writing them off as satisfied with another provider, the assigned Account Manager started a conversation to see where it went. In just 15 minutes the contact had become interested in our philosophy of “all the pieces” and signed-up to test Multi-Tenant PBX.

Moral of the story: Even a prospect that is 100% satisfied with their current provider can be swayed with even a short, open conversation.

So the answer is yes, ALL prospects are worth the sales pitch.

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Business & Social Media

As social media becomes increasingly predominant in day-to-day life, now is the time for businesses to begin taking advantage of this often underused platform.

business social mediaWith vast audiences that dedicate time and attention on a daily basis, social media gives businesses a unique opportunity to connect with customers.

Businesses of any size need to become more strategic and direct with social media marketing campaigns.

Wondering what to do now? Here are a few ways to get started:

Find your audience

Determine where your target audience spends its time on social media. Find out what platforms they use, what they do on those platforms, where they spend the most amount of time, etc.

Create a plan

Don’t dive into social media without giving it some thought first. Whether that’s creating a team dedicated to social media or purchasing a software that will bring all social media into one simple interface, organization will help.

Take advantage of options for business

Most social media platforms offer paid options for businesses. These will be much more effective than simply joining as any other users. For example, paid advertisements on Facebook will get more attention than a user profile. The investment will be worth it.

Get creative

Social media is no place for business jargon or paragraphs of boring text. Engage customers by getting creative with images, stories, or special deals. Social media gives business a unique opportunity to interact with customers personally.

Measure results

Similar to creating a plan, it will do no good to jump right in to social media without having a way to measure the results. Whether through trackable URLs or tools built-in to the platform itself, any successful social media campaign will track results and make changes accordingly.

5 Steps Toward VoIP

voip systemSooner or later, most companies will be ready for a new Communications System. Whether the company needs more features, is trying to cut costs, or wants to expand, a VoIP System is likely the best solution. Ziff Davis brings us 5 Steps to VoIP.

  1. Set Goals

    The first step is defining goals that fit your business and budget. This may be done in-house or done with a consultant or advisor.

  2. Set Expectations

    In addition to goals, your company needs to think about what it wants from the VoIP solution. Consider who will use the system and what features would benefit them.

  3. Define a Successful Deployment Plan

    Once your goals and expectations are defined, you can create a plan of action. Set a timeline and ensure that the entire team is on board.

  4. Choose a Method of Ongoing Operations

    Once the VoIP system is in place, you will need a plan for maintenance, back-up, disaster recovery, etc. Determine whether this will be done in-house or outsourced to a different company.

  5. Choose a Method of Support

    Finally, consider support options for your system and your users. This could be a full-time internal employee or outsourced to an external party.

These five steps will ensure a smooth transition to a VoIP System and guarantee maximum benefits from the move.

5 Ways to Validate a VoIP Purchase

voipWhat do you think of when you hear the term MARKETING? I think of drawing prospective clients in with features, promised benefits, and catchy phrases or images. But there is a whole other facet to marketing that we often forget: Purchase Validation.

Our advertisements and websites and other marketing techniques will not only be seen by prospective VoIP clients, but also by current customers, giving us the opportunity to validate and reinforce their decision. Combat buyer’s remorse and encourage customers to take pride in their VoIP purchase, thus telling others about it, through marketing.

How do we do this? Ziff Davis brings us 5 Ways you’ll Know that VoIP was the Right Decision which we summarize below:

#1 – COST SAVINGS

You likely promised lower costs to prospective clients, so now is the time to remind them how much they’re saving. Ziff Davis shares eight areas in which business save costs with VoIP:

  1. Monthly Line Charges – less than Legacy costs
  2. Domestic Long Distance – no longer an additional cost
  3. International Long Distance – lower rates and/or plans
  4. Enhanced Features – now FREE with VoIP
  5. Reduced Need for Toll-Free Numbers – no longer spend on Toll-Free
  6. Phone Systems – no large capital investment
  7. Less Need for TEM – less complex, less need for management
  8. Trunking – shift from PRI trunks to SIP trunks

#2 – EMPLOYEES LOVE THE NEW FEATURES

Users that had been using the same Legacy system for their entire career will be impressed with the vast features available with VoIP – and the easy learning curve. Ziff Davis gives us four of the most popular features among users:

  1. Visual Voicemail – users can access their voicemail anywhere with an Internet connection and easily share messages with others
  2. Ad Hoc Conferencing – advanced conferencing features such as drag-and-drop, recording, etc.
  3. Click-To-Call – simply click on a contact on a PC or mobile device to call
  4. Customization – users can control many features from their PC including ring tones, personal greetings, call forwarding, etc.

#3 – NETWORK IS EASIER TO MANAGE

The previous two benefits of VoIP will please management and employees, but what about the IT team? The following three examples will benefit IT:

  1. Streamlined Operating Environment – legacy systems involve two separate networks that need IT management, but VoIP converges them in to one network
  2. Self-Provisioning – VoIP is more flexible and user-friendly so IT will have a lighter workload and be less dependent on the carrier
  3. Budget-Friendly – due to the lower costs of VoIP the IT team will no longer be under budget constraints and can freely make changes without seeking budget approval

#4 – ACCESS TO A RICH ECOSYSTEM

While Legacy Telephony is a tried & true and long-lasting solution, VoIP is dynamic and opens the door to a large ecosystem of developers and innovation. VoIP will continually benefit users over time in two ways:

  1. Added features & functions that go beyond Legacy’s capabilities. For example, High Definition voice.
  2. Integration with other communication features such as video, presence, messaging, and ultimately Unified Communications.

#5 – STEPPING STONE TO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

While VoIP may be a passing trend that gives way to text or other methods of communication, it is the first step towards Unified Communications. Companies that purchase a VoIP System will be getting a foot in the door to Unified Communications and will be able to gradually add the other pieces.

 

In short, companies with VoIP will reap many benefits for years to come. We can use marketing to validate their decision and get them excited about the future. Want to read more? Visit Ziff Davis and 5 Ways you’ll Know that VoIP was the Right Decision.

2014 State of Unified Communications – Part 1

In April of 2014, InformationWeek conducted a Unified Communications Survey with 488 Business Technology Decision Makers in North America. The results are in and the news is good for Unified Communications. The market has seen significant growth over the past year. However, this means that user expectations are at an all-time high and vendors have work to do this year.

OVERALL GROWTH FOR 2014

Of all survey participants, 70% have a Unified Communications solution or plan to deploy one in the future. These systems are being used by vast numbers of users – 34% of those participants provide Unified Communications to 76% or more of their users.

These numbers have increased since previous years. The percentage of participants that have a UC solution has increased from 38% to 44%. Additionally, those that do NOT plan to deploy a UC solution has decreased from 32% to 30%.

unified communications

Image source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Not only are more companies using Unified Communications, they are also using their systems more extensively. The number of participants that provide UC to 76% or more of their users increased from 21% to 34%.

As could be expected with a growth in Unified Communications, the traditional desk phone is losing popularly. This year 14% of participants have no desk phones whatsoever. Only 30% have desk phones for 76% or more of their users.

PREMISE VS CLOUD

While there is no doubt that Cloud has made its presence known in the Unified Communications market, premise is still the more common deployment.

Companies with premise or premise-based deployments make up 64% of all participants. Complete Cloud set-ups account for only 3% of participants, though 17% have hybrid set-ups with some sort of Cloud component.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

According to the participants, this trend will not change in the near future. Of all participants, 52% envision themselves with all or primarily premise deployments two years from now.

However, this means that a large amount of the participants are still open to the idea of Cloud. While premise set-ups may be less expensive in the long run, Cloud Providers could, and should, promote the benefits of Cloud. Features like ease-of-use, mobility and BYOD, and a low capital investment may make the long-term investment worth the price.

COLLABORATION

A new buzzword has emerged in the world of Unified Communications: Collaboration. Companies that use Unified Communications have expressed great satisfaction with the increased ability to collaborate within companies and teams, whether in the same office or on opposite sides of the world.

The market study provided 12 ways that Unified Communications helps business and asked participants to name the top three for their company. The most popular response was “improve employee collaboration” with 62% of the vote.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Two of the most loved collaboration tools are audio conferencing and video. These tools give teams a way to effectively and efficiently communicate regardless of location.  Other tools that UC users enjoy are unified messaging, instant messaging, and the corporate directory.

Also check out Part Two where we discuss what users are looking for in Unified Communications today and Part Three where we discuss IT team’s responsibilities in Unified Communications and what to do when starting or expanding a UC solution.

Want to keep reading? Download the full report from Information Week

What are your thoughts on how the Unified Communications Market is going? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!