One question was why I would suggest that the agent NOT ask for the bill. When selling IP Communications, it isn't about cost savings. It's about productivity and efficiency -- in other words, Saving Time, which is more important than money.
The sale doesn't come about due to a bill review. It develops from asking questions about how the phone is used, what applications are important, and what is the makeup of the work force. I know that sounds counter-productive and uncomfortable, but the way to a high value sale of IP Comm includes Hosted Email linked to the Hosted PBX for Unified Messaging.
Many applications can hook into the Hosted PBX system like CRM systems. Domino's uses that combination - PBX + CRM - so that your Caller ID pulls up your customer record. It makes for a better customer experience - for directions for the driver; for what your favorite items are; for couponing; for loyalty rewards; and notes about what a lousy tipper you are!
Why Hosted Over Premise?
In multi-location businesses, a hosted PBX solution has many advantages over a Premise-based PBX beyond the addition feature set. In some cases, the premise PBX may be the answer, but when selling IP Comm, the question then becomes what added capabilities would you like to have? IVR? ACD? Voicemail-to-text? Call Recording? Mobile extensions? In an IP world, these can be added as an overlay through a SIP Trunk.
To be successful at this, you have to drink the kool-aid. I think Broadsoft-based Hosted PBX will be a game changer for the SMB space. There are 400+ Broadsoft based service providers. If they all peered for HD Voice, BAM! I'm psyched about it! And so should The Channel. But to sell it you have to know it and use it. Period. You can't have a POTS line at the office. It's the Enthusiasm for IP Comm and it's myriad of possibilities that will make the sale easier.
Afterwards I was discussing the call with a Channel chief who was on the call. He mentioned that more education is certainly needed in The Channel, if agents and VAR's are going to transition along. AT&T wants to close the PSTN in 5 years. The Cloud is here. Small businesses are already online buying phones and call paths from FreedomVoice, RingCentral, Speakeasy and Packet8. The time is Now for Agents and VAR's to educate themselves about IP Communications and The Cloud.
I was reminded that I talk in too many acronymns and that I have more technology background that most other agents. I have to remember that when speaking, because not everyone understands what 1U, pizza box, ACD, LNP, CAPEX, and some other buzz terms are. (Good reminder going into ITEXPO and CVX where I am talking in 4 sessions!)
So the big take-away today was that agents - especially members of TCA - are interested in learning about IP Comm (and how to sell it). And TCA is uniquely positioned to do more on the education front with the cooperation of our vendor members.