These tips can help fill your wallet with green.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

November 22, 2019

10 Slides

When it comes to selling unified communications, it’s a whole new ballgame.

In the second of our three-part series, “UCaaS/Hosted Telephony Spotlight,” we look at 10 dos and don’ts for selling UC, UCaaS and contact center. They range from solving problems and knowing your customer, to jumping on the cloud bandwagon.

Studies show that companies are ready to spend a lot on digital transformation, said Cherie Caldwell, global director of collaboration strategy and business development for the Cisco Global Partner Organization.


Cisco’s Cherie Caldwell

“IDC predicts that this spend in 2019 alone will be close to $17 trillion,” she said. “In the collaboration market, this digital transformation equates to customers moving to cloud-based, hosted or hybrid, unified communications (UC-UCaaS-CC) solutions. These solutions, and designs, will not only replace their antiquated on-premises solutions, but possibly change how they conduct business. This shift to UC-UCaaS-CC has generated tremendous opportunity for Cisco collaboration partners.”

Cloud adoption has completely changed the buying dynamics, said Mark Sher, Intermedia‘s vice president of UC products and marketing.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“No longer are we talking about hardware and maintenance, software and upgrades or outgrowing a solution,” he said. “The cloud changed the conversion to user subscription fees, reliability and support. When selling a solution, it must be assumed that some part of the customer’s workforce will be either mobile or work at home. It’s critical to understand how the solution will tie those users to the corporate communications platform and their customers.”

Also, with changing weather, wildfires and other business-impacting events, solutions must have a built-in business continuity aspect, Sher said.


Intermedia’s Mark Sher

“For example, a UCaaS solution should natively allow workers to work from different locations, or with or without power at a moment’s notice,” he said.

Also, with millennials now making up more than one-half of the workforce, understanding their definition of work and the workplace will impact the solutions you offer and how you deploy them, Sher said.

Lisa Del Real, RingCentral’s vice president of global channel programs and operations, said when it comes to UCaaS and CCaaS, customers are getting much larger.

“Cloud communications used to be seen as a primarily SMB solution,” she said. “That’s no longer the case. The beauty of the cloud lies in its flexibility and adaptability for businesses of all sizes, and enterprise customers are now realizing the power of UCaaS and CCaaS for achieving their unique business objectives.”

In terms of what customers are looking for, RingCentral is seeing significant demand for true agility in contact center and UCaaS, Del Real said.


RingCentral’s Lisa Del Real

“For instance, businesses with large inbound contact centers are finding that their customers want to be able to communicate at any time, from any platform — be it email, [text message], social media or phone,” she said. “The flexibility of cloud contact center allows these businesses to do that. Furthermore, companies are also seeking ways to unify an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce. UCaaS solutions allow remote employees to collaborate with their colleagues as effectively as if they were in the home office.”

In terms of obstacles, “we’re all creatures of habit and we like to stick to our comfort zones,” said Steve Smiley, Avaya’s vice president of product management for private cloud. Implementing technology can be challenging and some people adopt a “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality, he said.

“That leads to what I call the cheeseburger paradigm,” he said. “We all like a good cheeseburger, but if we never eat anything else, we’ll never know the joy of a great steak, a slice of halibut or a smoked pork roast from the BBQ. I think getting customers out of their comfort zones is mostly about understanding their business objectives and demonstrating the meaningful use cases that can come from a new solution.”

If a salesperson can demonstrate the hard dollar savings or compelling business value, the customer normally can be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, Smiley said.

Laura Padilla, Zoom Video Communications‘ head of channels and business development, said when so many customers are on social media and messaging apps, it has become more difficult to capture executives’ attention.

“So much ‘noise’ makes it hard to gain awareness as a sales professional,” she said. “As a result, you have to be smarter, more relevant and make every touch point count. Also, if you understand the customer’s pain points and the leading technologies, you can rise above the noise to be viewed as a trusted adviser.”

Scroll through our list of 10 sales do’s and don’ts to give providers a competitive advantage. Then, check out part one on game-changing innovations.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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