On LinkedIn (in the Hosted PBX group), the question was asked, "What's the biggest challenge you face selling your solution to end users and/or channel partners?" Here are some of the answers.
Can the end user trust the service delivery of the provider? This is a big question because there have been some failures in VoIP delivery over the years. VoIP has taken somewhat of a reputation hit. Quality of Service is very important going forward. Resilienct, Dependable, Reliable, Secure, and Quality - key words to ease the customers' minds.
This dovetails into the problem of selling this solution. Hardly any two offerings are alike. Sure, the Broadsoft based providers have similar features, but they package them differently. This means that a channel partner has to learn not just a new product, some technical info, but specifically the difference between two ITSP offerings. IN telco world, the only difference between CLEC Integrated T1 bundles was how many minutes. See the disconnect?
Plus PRI is a standard. SIP Trunking is a garbage can of 30+ RFC's that get implemented differently by every carrier and vendor resulting in inter-operability issues never faced before. PRI was plug-and-play. SIP trunk is plug-and-pray.
Sales are slower with Hosted VoIP. They certainly can be. It's a purchasing shift for the end user. How many salespeople are enthusiastic about this incredible solution? How many can do Solution Selling to match up the correct pain points with the appropriate ITSP and network design?
One person mentioned that "We have found the hardest part is getting them to switch. Even though they will be saving a lot of money, it's hard to make the switch. Companies really worry they will miss calls..." As a sales trainer, my reply is that you failed in the sales process. It is a challenge, but if you progress through the questioning, the discovery, the obstacles, and still have hesitation, did you do testimonials? Demos? Did you undercover what the true objection is?
Another issue is "Will your company be around next week?" Handling that unasked question might be significant. Remember that SunRocket and others cratered leaving customers stranded.
Finally, Hosted PBX and UC Solutions are not replacement services. The customer isn't asking for Cloud or UC or some other buzz term. They have a business to run and just want the phone and email to work. Selling the same old way with next gen services is an uphill battle. The thinking that got you here, won't get you there.