Chances are that selling Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is easier than it was a few years ago.
Cary Wagner, Technical Operations Director and CEO of Pacific NorthWest Managed IT Services and member of The ASCII Group, says, “Objections in the last three to five years have really lessened, and the pandemic has made it even easier. With everyone joining Microsoft Teams or Zoom calls, people understand the value of UCaaS and realize it can provide the same level of ease when it comes to using their business phones.”
Types of UCaaS Offerings
Wagner, whose team sells software-based UCaaS rather than telecom-based offerings, finds that they provide greater flexibility. “Compared to telco offerings, changing vendors is relatively easy with software-based offering as it involves only moving the environment to another SaaS vendor,” he explains. He adds that although pricing and feature sets are similar across both types of UCaaS, “SaaS vendors tend to take care of their customers with a bit more zeal.”
“Also, I think it’s easier to explain how UCaaS works in the cloud versus a physical system,” Wagner comments. “People are getting more cloud-savvy, and many are having a harder time grasping telecom offerings since they didn’t grow up with POTS (plain old telephone service) lines and phones.”
“And, for those customers that require a little education and training, simply get away from talking bits and bytes and explain the feature and the value. Does anyone actually need to know how an SMS message is transmitted? I say no—they just need to know it works,” he says.
Tips for Selling Unified Communications as a Service
If you’re new to selling unified communications or if you haven’t been able to grow this part of your business, Wagner offers four suggestions:
1. Provide an SD-WAN offering if at all possible, or use SIP/lines rather than just cable broadband. “It will make the customer feel a lot better about reliability when it comes to the reliability of incoming and outbound lines,” Wagner says.
He also advises making sure your vendor has at least two data centers that you can make calls through. “I also recommend that the data centers be at least 1,000 miles apart, which really helps ensure you are going to get a ‘dial tone’ and the ability to make a call,” Wagner adds.
2. Even with SD-WAN, make sure to set up appropriate firewall rules to ensure the quality of service (QoS) for your VoIP traffic. Firewalls must be configured to allow legitimate traffic and protect VoIP endpoints and not let them become a way for hackers to gain access or launch a denial-of-service attack on the broader network.
“Too many times we find people have just started using VoIP and done nothing with their router or firewall and wonder why service isn’t as good as advertised,” Wagner comments.
3. Spend time with users and get them comfortable with the basics. “Nothing—and I do mean nothing—will ever replace hands-on service,” he says. “Leave a desk card with each user that points out features that aren’t always used and tend to be forgotten. This will absolutely minimize help desk calls.”
4. If you are using a vendor for the very first time, I recommend a one-year contract unless you can get it clearly spelled out that you can cancel for any performance reasons. Wagner explains that some ISPs are selling their own home-grown services and the contracts are very rigid and almost impossible to get out of.
“I highly recommend using well-known providers, and I would even do a little internet research to see if what you’re selling is the product you expect it to be,” he says.
Seize the Opportunity
Businesses are weighing their options for continuing remote work full- or part-time, and the availability of reliable communications and collaboration is a factor in that decision. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow your business by selling Unified Communications as a Service solutions.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members, including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.