22 April 2016
As IT and telecoms technology converge, many IT resellers are seeing the benefits of adding telephony to their service offering. Features such as flexibility, cost-effectiveness and future-proofing have become basic customer needs, meaning solutions such as SIP trunking are now in hot demand.
Embracing a new offering naturally comes with a degree of risk. From gauging customer interest to its effect on a reseller’s business positioning, the move can sometimes seem like a step into the unknown. However, this needn’t be the case: the building blocks for both SIP trunking and IT are very similar. SIP installation often requires the same skills from IT network engineers, and customer service skills simply need to be expanded from the existing product knowledge base.
By having a clear strategy for change, IT resellers can successfully become natural SIP leaders. Having a reputation for IP telephony will help them compete against fellow IT resellers, as well as telecom specialists, to deliver the best SIP solution for their customers.
Knowledge is power, particularly when it comes to selling a new product. Knowing the ins and outs of SIP trunking will be essential for any service provider moving into this area. Yet, in order to do this, businesses need the right personnel. IT resellers have two options: to hire specialist staff or to upskill existing employees. While the former may be the quickest, it’s the latter that can pay off more in the long term.
Upskilling has the dual benefit of creating more capable teams, as well as lifting morale. Especially in times of change, by involving all employees in the telecoms move, resellers can expect more motivated sales, support and installation staff.
While the need for SIP trunking can spur on change, it’s having a clear process plan in place that will keep change sustainable. This means resellers need to have both the operational capability and expertise on hand to provide SIP trunking from the outset.
It’s all about getting the foundations right. By ensuring everyone has a clear understanding of how SIP trunking sits with other IT solutions, resellers can experience a smooth transition into telecoms. This means getting everyone up to date with new billing processes, as well as all the necessary legal detail. And, by gathering feedback from both staff and customers, resellers can continuously improve the process of selling SIP trunking.
Unlike many other product investments, the ROI for SIP trunking can be experienced fairly swiftly. By selling SIP trunking services alongside other cloud services, businesses can easily build a passive recurring revenue steam. Added to that, SIP trunking offers generous margins, meaning even the smallest customers have huge potential for reward.
The key to success, however, remains supplier choice and extensive planning. Resellers need to find a supplier that can assist them with installation, training and sales skills. Not having this assistance can lead to a sharp learning curve and a substantially longer wait for returns.
Every industry changes, and IT resellers are especially at the mercy of tech innovation. In order to stand out from the crowd, a strong strategy is needed. Non-specialist channel providers really do have the opportunity within their grasp to become IP-telephony leaders – it’s simply a matter of planning for change, positioning the new offering and making the most of the benefits of SIP trunking.
Getting people and processes right will ensure the potential for profit is met.
22 April 2016 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.