24 February 2016
Growth-minded IT resellers are facing a choice:
Either focus on their core business proposition, the one in which they are experienced and expert
Or diversify to include new services and products, such as telecommunications
Opting for the first will require the reseller to look for innovative ways to make much more of their existing customer base. While the secondopens up a world of new sales prospects, and the ability to sell bundled packages to established and new customers.
Naturally, for many the second option is the most attractive. A wider customer base means more salesopportunities and a better chance of growth in a competitive IT and tech market. But there are barriers to success in the telecommunications market. Breaking through them is a matter of mindset and working with a supportive provider.
Diversify and grow
Between 2014 and 2015 there was a 32.2% increase in public cloud infrastructure spend. In comparison, non-cloud infrastructure remained absolutely static*. Cloud tech is the future. And if you are already selling cloud solutions, it makes sense to build bundle deals that also include cloud-hosted telephony.
It enables you to pitch to prospects with a more complete service offer, and to grow your bottom line at the same time.
Even if your lack of specific telecommunications knowledge is a barrier, your new telecoms provider should be able to help with dedicated training and accreditation, as well as product demos and advice.
The revenue picture
Despite the growth of cloud telephony, some IT resellers remain unconvinced of its potential to really make a difference to their profit margins. Voice revenues can seem unattractive to those with a history of selling IT products.
However, with typical margins standing between 30-50% on cloud-hosted telephony (and a typical ROI of less than six months), there is a strong case to look again at entering the voice market.
A business shift
Many IT resellers understandably feel that they are well set up for their current business proposition – and that taking on and selling new services would require too much of a big adjustment.
This is where the telecommunications provider relationship really comes into its own.
The right partner will guide you through the entire set up process. That’s not just the training, mentioned earlier in this post, but help in creating billing systems, consumer insight and marketing knowledge for shows and campaigns. It is a complete package that takes you from tentatively approaching a new market, to becoming a competitive part of it.
The aftercare issue
One of the biggest barriers to telecoms adoption for IT resellers is the need to provide their new customers with effective aftercare and support if there are line issues. This, however, needn’t be too much of a problem if you approach it in the right way.
Cloud-hosted telephony is a resilient system to start with. It combines fixed and mobile, enabling the end user to switch between the two. So if there’s a line issue on one the operative can move to the other. So far so good.
But what about the unlikely event of complete system failure? The reseller and user will both need to know when they will be back up online.
Choosing a provider that owns the infrastructure they are using is crucial. It means that there are no third parties to involve between the reporting of a fault and the solution. Also, it means you as a reseller can offer your customers solid SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
With the need for future ready telecommunications systems expanding all the time, and huge change predicted by 2025 for ISDN, there has never been a better time for IT resellers to expand into telephony. But as with any plan that yields big rewards, there are barriers to break through in order to get to the end result.
Adopting a can do mindset and working with a great provider will enable you to enter telecoms with confidence, and stay there for the long term.
*Source: BVP/Public data, 2016 figures as of January 28.
24 February 2016 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.