Tag Archives: UC

The Top 5 Things You Must Know as a Partner for Unified Communications Rollout

For partners, a unified communications rollout can be a challenge. The actions you take to help establish a rollout can be the start of business relationships that last long after the individual partner has retired. Help build those relationships with the top five points to know to make a unified communications rollout work.

Unified Communications Rollouts: What You Need to Know

Make sure everybody is involved. Before you’re even in a position to start a rollout, get ready in advance by bringing in perspective from all the major stakeholders. You may not use all of that perspective, but by getting it, you increase the chances of spotting problems before they crop up, right in the earliest stages.

Be ready with an answer. It’s a safe bet that your customer will ask a lot of questions in the earliest stages, and that’s just what you want to happen. All these questions help suggest issues to watch for, and again, the kinds of things you can head off at the pass later, and establish your reputation for being knowledgeable in unified communications.

Know what’s available. A unified communications rollout can be a big process; it’s easy to overlook some key points. Consider adding lesser-known technologies like redundant connections to fuel stability. This makes the rollout go more smoothly and work better down the line.

Prepare for the worst. Light Network’s VP of engineering, Ryan Harrelson, makes one point crystal clear: “Overall deployments of midmarket customers never go as easy as planned.” Keep this in mind, watch out for things like number porting and the development of design documentation, and be flexible so you can address issues that pop up.

Engagement, always. Get regular feedback about the process, and then be available to make the desired changes. Don’t just take that feedback from one or two sources, either; try to get a complete cross-section or even poll the entire user base. These points help build engagement and reinforce your positive image.

What to Do When You’re Ready for a Unified Communications Rollout

Don’t leave your next rollout to chance. Prepare by considering what we’ve said here. Then, get in touch with us at MicroCorp. We can help you deploy unified communications and UCaaS to ensure your rollout is as smooth as possible.

What are the ways to boost your UCaaS sales?

Four Ways You Can Improve Your Ability to Sell UCaaS

What are the ways to boost your UCaaS sales?There’s little doubt that the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market is swelling. An Infonetics report suggests the market will hit $88 billion by the end of this year. That’s a lot of room for opportunity, but how can partners get their hands in the pot? A few tips should help pave the way – check out these four options for boosting your UCaaS sales.

How to Drive Your UCaaS Sales

Protect the customer. The amount that downtime costs a company varies. Boosting your UCaaS sales, therefore, can be as easy as calling attention to your protective measures. Focus on your security, your highly-trained staff of problem solvers, and your quality of service (QoS) agreement if you have one. If you don’t, making one is a good plan; that guarantee, complete with remedies for failure, can smooth over a lot of concerns.

Support remote workers. More and more companies are embracing the remote worker concept. UCaaS is a great tool to keep remote workers working, so draw attention to that point and show how you make remote working, well, work! Point out how a customer’s remote-working employees can use UCaaS tools to stay connected to each other and the wider office and improve accountability.

Adjust your sales tactics. Understand one thing about the sales environment today: sales tactics that were a requirement 20 years ago like cold calling and telemarketing are mostly illegal today. “No soliciting” signs on business doors, the federal Do Not Call list…these add up to outdated tactics. So adjust to focus on social media interaction, qualified leads, and the like to keep up. Those more modern channels present an opportunity to interact with (and possibly become) thought leaders in the UCaaS world.

Get to know your customer’s true needs. The only way to ensure a truly successful UCaaS sale is to get inside your customer’s business, understand the issues and obstacles at hand, and then recommend the right UCaaS solution for the job. Sales reps who are uneducated about UCaaS and just sell to sell won’t get as far as a knowledgeable partner devoted to truly understanding the customer’s pain points.

Make Those UCaaS Sales with a Little Help

Sometimes, making UCaaS sales can be as simple as adding some new products to your lineup. We here at MicroCorp can help on that front; we’ve got a range of UCaaS services ready to offer from some of the best brands in the field. As a master agent, we’ve got the contacts you need to get the best product in place. Just drop us a line and let us help you get started.

Do you really dig into your customer's needs before suggesting a UCaaS solution?

How Agents and Partners Can Leverage the Rise of UCaaS in the Enterprise

By Ryan Harrelson, VP of Engineering at Light Networks

Do you really dig into your customer's needs before suggesting a UCaaS solution?

Unified Communications (UC) is a service that grants users the ability to work with each other across any platform from anywhere. It eliminates obstacles in productivity, making it easy for enterprises of any size to enjoy frictionless interactions regardless of location. Perhaps that’s why, here at Light Networks, we’re inundated with an overwhelming number of UC projects. In fact, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is — without a doubt — our fastest growing cloud and carrier service.

As an agent in the partner community, how we approach customers is exceedingly important. We often remind our clients that, while they may overhaul their communications systems once every 5 years, we design and deploy solutions across multiple providers and multiple customers on an ongoing basis. That’s why we’ve made it our objective to look beyond the marketing side of a product. Unfortunately, not everything you hear about UC platforms is what it seems.

Fill the void

To resolve this issue, agents need to think about how they’ll fill the void between the strengths and weaknesses of these providers, and what the customer desires. This can become even more challenging as companies transition from a small business to enterprise territory. Personally, I don’t see many enterprise customers getting excited about new features. Rather, they seem focused on talking about the total cost of ownership, and they’re looking to get rid of on-prem servers, which pose both a risk and a responsibility.

When an enterprise purchases an on-prem solution, you have no option but to purchase features for the entire organization. In reality, though, the majority of an organization’s employees aren’t superusers of any particular product. For the most part, they only use a tool for its core functionality. For example, 99% of what I do personally with UCaaS at Light Networks is make and receive phone calls. It’s not as if I’m playing around with advanced features on a regular basis.

It is still important for us to show our customers the “sexy” products and features sets end users want to see. As the saying goes: “sex sells.” It is even more important as an agent to pay attention to effectively using the customers’ budgets to give them what they need by reducing the management footprint. This increases an organization’s ability to satisfy the needs of their external and/or internal customers. Further, it helps agents provide additional services that can help customers succeed and make the agent more valuable, while increasing wallet share in a single customer.

So, how?

How can partners distinguish the marketing fluff from important concepts they need to sell to customers? We recommend an approach that’s a bit different from our competitors. At Light Networks, we aim to spend time understanding our customers’ environments and solutions that can work for our customers, instead of merely taking end-users at their word and assuming they know exactly what they need and exactly how to use it. It’s the whole trust-but-verify model. It’s wonderful when a customer says they can do X, Y, and Z, but we like to do a full review of usage to ensure they are not missing anything that they may not recognize is required.

If someone tells you they’ve got the greatest solution for your business, you don’t just go all in right away. You install and test it before you make a full-blown commitment to it. It’s more about being diligent in your practices and not rushing through the sale and trying to get ink on paper. It’s about taking the time and spending it with your customer to ensure all of the features they want are actually required.

Engineering First

And if you’re wondering how Light Networks has been so successful in the marketplace, it all starts with us being an engineering-first firm. When one of our client principals or account managers meets with a customer, they ask a ton of questions and gather plenty of data. Then, they bring that information back to our engineers to find out what they think. If our engineers say we need more information, we’ll schedule a secondary call. But if they say some of our providers might have certain solutions that fit perfectly, we dig deeper to find out if those providers are truly viable.

Every provider will tell you they offer the best services around. And it’s not that they’re lying  — at least hopefully not. For the most part, they likely believe their product is better than the competition. However, I feel like it’s our responsibility to be honest and upfront with our customers. Otherwise, what are we doing?

It’s imperative to understand your customers’ situation first, before recommending a solution. So use your experience, and make the best recommendation based on your customers’ needs.

Talking Unified Communications Trends with Star2Star

Despite the proliferation of unified communications (UC) technologies — and the partners selling them — we continue to see some partners slow to adopt UC. Why? And what are some trends in UC that partners should watch out for as technologies like SD-WAN advance? We asked these questions, and more, of Colin Johnston, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Star2Star Communications. See our exchange below to get the scoop on what Johnston has been noticing in the channel, and how Star2Star reacts.

Keenan: What are some of the more prominent trends you are noticing with unified communications lately?

Johnston: The largest and most recent impact on the unified communications space would have to be SD-WAN, which has taken the industry by storm. As an innovative solution provider, Star2Star has already been implementing voice-optimized traffic shaping since its inception through our patented StarBox® Cloud Connection Manager (CCM), so it’s interesting to see how SD-WAN has become such a hot topic. The ability to now incorporate a solution that handles all data traffic is a great step forward for UC.

Keenan: How would you address partners that have not yet adopted UC?

Johnston: Partners that are currently managing their customer networks and not actively selling a UC solution are leaving money on the table. In almost every case, partners that sell UC can offer a superior service to their customers at very competitive price points that allow for significant revenue margins.

As our world moves toward the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, the choice that some channel entities will have to make becomes clearer. Sell UC; it has and will continue to become the way we communicate and stay connected in the future.

Keenan: How is unified communications impacting other technological developments in the channel?

Johnston: Communication Enablement Platforms (CEP) have become a huge springboard for growth in tech. They encompass everything from the Internet of Things (IoT) integrations to Point of Sale (POS) software. It seems like every technology solution is somehow attempting to incorporate unified communications into their various platforms.

UC has become the glue that connects modern business platforms together. It allows for better customer service, more informed decisions, and better data and metrics to plan and predict company decisions. And there’s much more than just these benefits; the true potential of Communication Enablement Platforms has yet to be seen.

Keenan: Are there any specific trends in security you’re noticing?

Johnston: There has been a focus on security from the very beginning with UC. Take our StarBox® CCM: it acts as a firewall and monitors data traffic as it goes through the system. Our new hosted solution, StarSystemTM Hosted, also comes with built-in security with TLS encryption for call data. In the general market, the recent developments with utilizing blockchain for voice data also come to mind when thinking of specific security trends.