Channel Partners “UCaaS: Sales Boot Camp” Recap
On Wednesday, April 12 at theChannel Partners Conference & Expo, the gathering place for the technology services community, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Broadview’s Chief Operating Officer, Brian Crotty, joined three others during a concurrent education session titled “UCaaS: Sales Boot Camp”.
The global unified communications (UC) market will reach $143 billion by 2024, says Grand View Research. The explosive growth is being driven by international expansion, and an increasing need for real-time and efficient communication systems that enhance the inter-organizational exchange of information. Partners need to be ready to seize this revenue.
Below is a summary of what Crotty shared with partners about how they can prosper selling UCaaS.
Are customers' UCaaS needs changing? What are some of the latest trends?
Customer needs are always changing and UCaaS providers have to keep pace. We have seen a few trends that are defining our development cycle.
The first is an increase in knowledge about and demand for a secure platform. While most agents understand that systems hosted in the cloud are less vulnerable to local disasters, thefts and hacks, most do not realize calls and messages should be encrypted when carried over the internet.
Customers are also seeking platforms that have APIs, plugins and integrations available for CRM and other business applications. The desire to have critical software systems talk with the UC system stems from the need for richer reporting capabilities to help business leaders make well-informed decisions. Businesses want to see the big data and statistics that go as deep as which sales representative made the most calls on a certain day.
Additionally end users want to have more control over the entire UC platform and be able to easily make changes on the fly themselves, without having to involve others or place a service order like they did in the past. For instance, use call routing to seamlessly transfer calls from a desk phone to a home office to a mobile device without having to place a request and then wait for IT support when traveling. When the end user has control over features, and the easier the features are to both locate and use, the more employees will use the features and the sooner an organization will see a ROI for purchasing the UC system.
Another trend is the growing need for UC to support and enable true mobility so that employees can communicate and collaborate regardless of their location or device. As even more employees bring their own device into the enterprise, UC systems should offer universal access for employees working offsite so that it is easy to get more work done anywhere and employees can work the way they want to. Recruiting and retaining the growing number of millennials in the workforce requires businesses to cultivate a collaborative work environment and tools such as company-wide chat let them quickly communicate with anyone in the organization from any office location or device with both individual and group chat functionality.
How do you stand out in an increasingly competitive UC market?
Many businesses have bought a UCaaS solution simply as a phone system replacement and that is all they get, a replacement phone system. Broadview provides much more than a simple PBX replacement, where customers replace an old system and save a few dollars and get a couple of new features that few know how to use. The challenge is in the complexity of competitor’s portals; all are feature-rich, but if they are not intuitive, the vast majority of features will never be used.
Customers are realizing that the technology needs to be intuitive, even for non-technical users, to unlock the full value of UCaaS and have all employees using all of the features of the platform to improve the way they work and increase their own productivity. While most providers says they have online portals and that their service is easy to use, Broadview has truly simplified everything beyond what is provided in competitor’s solutions while keeping the complete solution affordable. For example, Broadview’s MyOfficeSuite online portalis totally different from competitor’s portals, designed for the non-technical user to control their entire experience in a point-and-click manner. With MyOfficeSuite, any employee can easily self-manage and update auto attendants, add call coverage options, forward phones, program speed-dials or even define who should cover for them during an emergency, all with point-and-click simplicity.
When a business just replaces a system, only small incremental gains are possible. However, when agents can offer their customers a way to transform how people do their job, that’s when customers see the big wins. One example we saw recently was a home improvement company that reduced the complication and time spent of a supervisor driving around in a van solving problems that a local tech could not handle by using our video conferencing feature to triage trouble from a smartphone.
Broadview’s entire OfficeSuite UC© system is controlled from the cloud, not by the phone, and that is inherently different than almost every other system in the industry. It means that features, profiles, account data, literally everything, is available on any device. So accessing our services, whether it be the phone service or video conferencing, or the online portal that allows the end user to control their communications, can be done from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. This is only possible because we own our own platform and utilize SilNet™, instead of SIP or open source for our advanced features. No phone reboots and no programming or data stored in the plug and play phones, just a UC system that helps reduce training costs, boost user satisfaction and drive a high ROI.
Are there particular verticals that offer lucrative opportunities for UCaaS providers? What are some examples?
Any organization with a distributed workforce — remote and mobile workers, branches, teleworkers, large sales teams — need mobility tools, like hot desking/hoteling and video conferencing services, that UCaaS can provide. For instance, realtors can showcase homes with a client before ever stepping foot in one with video conferencing. These same organizations are seeing the value in employees having easy access to their customers through advanced features like mobile twinning and soft phones. In addition, by using designated business phone numbers instead of their own phone numbers, the company saves sales when an employee leaves and the customer calls the business, not the former employee. An added benefit of 100 percent UCaaS systems is having all contacts, call histories and call notes stay in the cloud and with the business at all times.
Multi-site organizations, such as retail stores and non-profits, are also switching to UCaaS to eliminate the complexity and high costs of supporting multiple systems. No matter how many locations a business has, or where its employees work from, everyone is unified onto one complete system that can be managed from one platform. All employees can see the availability of everyone in the company, chat live with individuals or groups, dial anyone by extension, intercom coworkers and use any phone, at any site as their own. At the same time, regional managers can move from office to office and simply sign into any phone as their own and control all of their own UC features from an intuitive online portal. The central management allows for easy real-time, company-wide updates from anywhere without ever touching a phone or stepping foot in an office.
Regional healthcare facilities are using Broadview's highly secure infrastructure and comprehensive solution because it allows these HIPAA-regulated organizations to use OfficeSuite UC© from various devices without diminishing HIPAA compliance. With the increased patient and physician use of mobile devices, being able to support streamlined and responsive communications that improve patient care and satisfaction are a must.
Are there potential pitfalls to watch out for when pursuing UCaaS customers?
The goal of UCaaS should be about improving the way business is done, not just saving 10% on an organization’s communications costs. When speaking with a UCaaS customer, agents should be focused on talking business instead of just tech or price. While it is important to work with the head of the IT department, ultimately the CEO signs the order. Make sure the CEO, or senior executives, are active in all conversations and understand the business value, not just the technical benefits. Business leaders will appreciate agents demonstrating to them how the technology of the UC system will enable them to become more nimble in the competitive market and increase employee efficiency, which is much more valuable to an organization than a relatively small cost reduction. They will also be able to share with you the daily problems the organization is facing, and agents should work to solve those business problems with UCaaS services. A
gents should also consider involving finance or corporate reporting teams and sales teams so they can see the value of the system for themselves. Here are a couple of examples. If the customer is hiring hundreds of new employees, adding those employees on some systems might take hours or days. With other easier to use systems, maybe minutes. Seems like a small differentiation point, but to the end customer, that could equal thousands of dollars of labor. Another example is that the productivity improvements alone from a Salesforce connected UC system may justify a replacement or increase in spend. Imagine a sales and customer service team never having to search for customer data again. Instead it is presented to them when a call rings, and with company-wide chat, an employee can get answers from the company expert in seconds without ever picking up a phone or playing phone tag.