Jim Sevier, Founder of Convergence Readiness, Inc.
“Unified Communications is a strategy that companies adopt in order to make communication more efficient. There are solutions that are unified in nature, but VARs should think of UC in terms of a strategy rather than a ‘box’ or application. So in reality, UC is a plan – a purposeful, well-articulated and documented direction a company takes to improve the way their departments communicate with each other, and to improve how they communicate to their customers. Part of this plan is offering new and more efficient ways to communicate and the technologies needed to do so.”
Benefits of UC
“The nice thing about Unified Communications is that there is no singular market it plays best in. It plays well in all of them. It is a solution that can span multiple organizations because the ability to better communicate is an issue with companies in many markets – and that’s the value proposition.”
What to Watch For
“One major problem is that businesses don’t really understand what UC is – there are so many solutions and targeted products out there that it sort of muddles up what it can do for their business. It sells better as a strategy than a solution.”
How to Make Money
“The advantage to a partner understanding the customer’s business is a two-fold benefit in selling UC. First you get to sell the right tools – phone systems, headsets, conference bridges, and everything else. These are the tools that you go to the job with. But as you come to understand your customer’s business, you’ll be able to prioritize what needs to be improved first, what needs to be improved second … and that’s what the UC strategy is about. For example, if your customer’s employees need help taking and placing calls more easily – you would provide a Plantronics’ solution. The second part to this – and the value to any reseller – is that the more they know about their customer’s business – how they do their job and what it takes to do their job — the more integrated they become in how well the customer performs. Once you really understand your customer’s business, your customer will come back to you because they know you can deliver the right solution to them.”
Marty Parker, Principle at UCStrategies.com
“We’re talking about building communications into the business process in the best way.
First, look at your own strengths in a particular vertical. Make a list of customers whose businesses you understand really well. Think about where communication occurs in their processes and how you can improve it.”
“Read case studies that demonstrate how an organization’s business process was improved by UC. There are thousands out there and you can even search specific segments of the vertical markets that you have experience selling into. Find case studies that fall within the vertical market and the type of customer you’re working with. Also, check out the marketing materials that vendors have on their websites. Your knowledge of the market, your particular customers, the case studies and vendor marketing materials are what you should use to start the conversation about UC with your customer.”
Talking to Your Customer
“Don’t wait for your customer to ask you about UC. Ask them about the processes they have and if they are interested in talking about how you can help them improve their communications. Have the case studies ready to show them how other companies have used UC to improve their business. Then look at what you have to sell, map it, and decide which pieces of technology to use. For example, you might have a customer who wants to lower their costs of calling into international conference calls. By using an AudioCodes Gateway to connect an Avaya Conference Bridge to Skype, you can change the business process (conference calls) by improving the communications (using Skype instead of more expensive telephony) to save money.”Learn more about this topic at scansourcecatalyst.com >Learn more about this topic at scansourcecommunications.com >Learn more about this topic at scansource.com >Learn more about this topic at scansourcesecurity.com >