As purveyors of all things communication for your SMB clients, you’ve no doubt heard about the benefits of VoIP, but those benefits can be magnified for businesses that find they have to manage communications for multiple locations using hosted systems or premises-based IP systems with SIP trunks. That’s because taking a cohesive approach to communications needs can mean reducing monthly phone bills while making a workforce more efficient and productive. Plus for channel partners there is a tremendous opportunity to leverage their customer base and realize further business gains by adding this offering to the mix.
So what does VoIP for multi-office businesses mean for customers? Whether it’s the cost savings or scalability that drives SMBs to explore new communication technology, the advantages of the cloud are numerous and many businesses are starting to pick up on the trend. Businesses with more than one location, or simply a scattered workforce, will immediately notice the benefits of a cloud-based phone system’s features and cost savings. With a hosted PBX, for example, employees can work outside of the office or while on the road and still be connected to the business phone system. Other benefits of VoIP for multi-office businesses include:
- Dramatically reduced telecommunication costs through, among other means, free office-to-office calling, including offices in other countries
- Reduced operational headaches by enabling centralized billing through one provider, as opposed to different carriers in each market
- Increased productivity by creating a unified office that connects disparate offices and telecommuters
Together with their trusted service provider, multi-office businesses can hugely benefit from the simplicity and security of a hosted cloud-based phone solution, which enables them to realize financial savings and better unify their voice and data communications. That’s where you come in.
Adding VoIP to Your Sales Mix
Offering VoIP to the SMB marketplace has broadened the outlook for revenue growth for channel partners. But it comes with the challenges as well, the biggest one being how to sell to customers profitably and how to present these new offerings. The challenge for some has been finding the right business model and partner to help them along. Fortunately there are now providers that will enable channel partners to profitably and reliably offer cloud telephony solutions.
Most VoIP providers will offer the same suite of features, but the difference is in the quality of service (QoS) and additional professional services that they can provide, making them a true partner and not simply a supplier of products and services. Channel partners will want to carefully evaluate the end-to-end experience for their customers, as well as the channel partner program itself to ensure that customer service and ongoing administration of the product ensure a smooth experience. Keep in mind, however, that not all VoIP offerings are equal. Look for VoIP providers that can explain and offer QoS in addition to professional services for set up and monitoring to provide a complete solution.
The Case for Bundling Services
According to Cloud Adoption in Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses, a survey sponsored by Amdocs Inc. and conducted by Coleman Parkes Research Ltd., 74 percent of SMBs would prefer to engage with their primary service provider for cloud solutions. That means huge opportunities for solution providers to capitalize on the strength of their customer base as they begin offering cloud solutions as part of their portfolio. Channel partners who become a one-stop shop for all SMB communication needs, focusing on what SMBs consider essential such as bundles with cloud-based and traditional services, as well as a unified invoice, can be highly successful.
The lesson here: Don’t overlook the tremendous value of your customer base, especially when looking to offer additional services such as hosted VoIP for the multi-office business.
TAD NIKOLICH is SVP of business sales at Voxox, a VoIP and unified cloud communication solutions provider in San Diego, Calif., and a brand of Telcentris Inc. Nikolich has successfully built and led several top-performing sales teams and understands the technology nuances that underpin the rapidly evolving telecommunication industry.