Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | April 24, 2012 |


UC Sell Job

UC Sell Job A good product or service can still sell itself and UC should be no exception.

A good product or service can still sell itself and UC should be no exception.

For whatever you think about selling tactics, just remember it's not about how many systems or products you sell; it's about how effective you are. With that said, I'll reveal what we did recently upgrading a multi-site customer's wares.

It's taken more than three years of repeating the message to our customer and it wasn't until earlier this year that we were invited to sit down for face-to-face meetings with the reluctant consultants, the COO, IT contractor and customer's management staff.

After reviewing the carrier bids, we discussed our recommendations: Give Verizon the boot and go with a fiber network solution offering SIP trunking--in the pure sense of not using a PRI--and dropping the hardware gateways for the internal interoffice communications (Intercom/Fax) and then use software and bandwidth through their IP-PBXs. The quotations included SIP trunk costs that, weighed against the upgrade costs, netted a return in just 14 months.

The attitude shifted into high gear, from, "It's not a priority," to "When can you get this done?"

That meeting was in January, and over spring break we upgraded the customer systems, made improvements to their infrastructure and for less than we quoted. We also delivered more software features with some help from the factory throwing in some incentives.

Whenever we are onsite, we use the opportunity to find out about un-met needs and any issues. The call center operators gave us some feedback, and the supervisor of the group pitched in with her ideas of what would be "improvements."

We installed Operator Console software and it was immediately welcomed. The operators like the flexibility of using their desktop and/or phone to transfer calls, make conference calls and other call handling features that people complain they can't master. The desktop console is just more intuitive with the labels and graphics than the hardware desktop console.

Next we installed a Supervisor Assistant client that shows agents logged in, status/presence and calls in queue, along with queue times. After one day of use the supervisor called in and said, "I love this software."

One of the key reasons she "loves this software" is the ability to chat. The operators now chat with their supervisor while on a call without leaving their desk or placing the customer on hold, conferring with their boss and then getting back to the customer.

Feeling pressure from the employees, we were asked by management to come in and install "the software" for other employees. We spent the next two days installing the client on desktops at all the sites.

Now for the record, the Telecom opex for this client is seriously reduced, as is the maintenance of the systems simply by reducing physical hardware (gateways) and replacing them with software. We've been called again, this time not to cut costs but to discuss UC and how to deploy it company wide with the "advanced" (paid for) features, instead of using some freeware teaser versions with limited functionality.

Unlike some companies that come up with ratios and other models to project a soft dollar cost benefit, I'm not going to venture there. We don't need to. The customer that sees value in the UC offering for their business will decide. This particular customer has transitioned their thinking from the cost reduction mode to a value-added mindset. The employees made the case and other than what I've written, I don't know (yet) what else was said.

We can deploy the UC package company wide with one IP-PBX or many, or using a server housed on site or at the data center.

With that I want to reminisce about times past. Long ago, we accepted customer Merlin systems as a trade-in offering discounts. We never had a problem selling any of that gear and we often took the gear to a customer premise, plugged it in and held a live demo that usually led to an immediate sale. Those days of easy dividends are past, at least for Merlin. That magic just isn't there for used telephone gear as it once was. Whatever trick or little bit of magic you can muster up in front of your customer; do it. Show them without showing them or selling them. A good product or service can still sell itself and UC should be no exception.


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