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Which Telephony Platform
Should You Sell?

Which telephony platform should you sell?
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Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Diversify to win.

You are probably already selling a well-known brand like Cisco BroadWorks or Avaya or Mitel and you have probably lost business opportunities because your price was too high or your competitor was able to turn around quickly and adapt their solution to meet the customer’s special needs.

You probably wished that you had another offering to beat your emerging competitors. There is no system that can meet all needs. The best strategy is “Diversify to Win”.

What if you can find a system that adds value to your current well-known brand while offering a standalone alternative when needed? It would be the best of both worlds: Enhance the features of your existing brand or replace it to compete against newer technologies.

Eggs in a basket

How to Select the Best Telephony Platform?

You should look for a platform that will enable you to develop longer, more profitable relationships with your customers that increase your profit margins. Here are the most important features to look for when shopping for a telephony platform to resell.

1

Self-Service
For Quick Deployment and Ease-of-Use

2

White Label
For Flexible Brand Display

3

Robustness and Reliability
Product Architecture is Important

4

Serve Users Everywhere
At Work, On the Road and in Public Places

5

Business SMS
To Meet New Business Communications Demands

6

Business Mobility
For Business People Who Work Everywhere Even While Driving

7

Call Management
To Keep Busy People Productive

8

Accessibility
To Make the Workplace More Inclusive

9

Application Development
To Address Vertical Markets & Special Opportunities

10

Integrations
To Provide True Unified Communications

Self-Service

For Quick Deployment and Ease-of-Use

Some hosted PBXs and unified communication platforms require a lot of manual actions for their deployment, configuration and support. This translates into expensive staff added to your fixed costs. Recent telephony platforms have automated all tasks related to customer account creation, provisioning and support and offered them as a self-service.

Customers should be able to go online to create and configure their cloud phone system including porting their existing phone numbers and ordering new ones, enabling SMS and 911 services, fully configuring their virtual receptionist with greeting messages and menus, even ordering the SIP devices of their choice and have them delivered fully configured and ready to go out-of-the-box.

The platform you select should provide an easy-to-use portal to enable your customers to manage their users and services themselves. The portal must provide online context-sensitive help and how-to tips to assist and guide customers if needed.

Additionally, the Web should include a customizable service for chat and support by email or phone.

It is important to select a platform that will help you recruit more customers and make more money without increasing your operating costs.

Finger pointing and selecting option

White Label

For Flexible Brand Display

Your customers are the most important assets of your business so it is normal that you protect them and keep them with you. Product branding is key to your service differentiation and company growth.

You need the platform to clearly display your brand because it is how customers recognize you and appreciate the special care that they get from you. But remember that branding does not stop at the display of your logo on the product web pages.

Branding is also showing your colors and your company domain on all customer communications. It is the integrated billing system that uses your merchant account to collect online payments so that your name appears on the credit card statements of your customers. It is also the possibility for you to have your own network of agents to sell your services and get rewarded for it based on your business preferences.

Good platforms offer branding that goes way beyond logo and corporate colours.

Reseller-ready platforms show your prospects and customers that you are the manufacturer of the products and services that you sell. And to a certain extent, it is the case.

Finger pointing and selecting option

Robustness and Reliability

Product Architecture is Important

Look under the hood and ask about the overall product design and architecture. Look for openness, scalability, redundancy and security. Architecture will tell you if the platform is

  • designed to scale and accommodate your potential business growth;
  • open to integrate new features and technologies;
  • flexible to build and run custom applications for vertical markets and special opportunities.

Ask if the platform is built using standard communications protocols to insure its interoperability with other UC and collaboration platforms.

You may want to have your platform interoperate and work hand-in-hand with your Cisco BroadWorks, Avaya or Mitel telephony product. You may also want to go after customers who use Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite, Salesforce or other CRM and contact management systems.

Many vendors claim on their sites that their products have the scalability, performance and reliability to handle high call volumes, very few actually use automated stress testing tools to support their claim.

Stress tools generate large volumes of concurrent calls soliciting different features and functions of the telephony platform while measuring response times, resource usage and data accuracy.

Automated load tests are more stressful on telephony platforms than real calls. Without them, it would be foolish for a manufacturer to claim that its platform is robust, reliable and efficient.

Server with cables

Serve Users Everywhere

At Work, On the Road and in Public Places

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to abandon offices and work from our homes. It made us realize that the workplace is no longer within the office walls. The workplace is everywhere. At home, at airports and hotels, in the car and sometimes at the company offices. The best phone system is the one that accompanies its users everywhere they go. It provides interactive access to all office communications tools in the most efficient way.

  • At the office, it must provide productivity features such as click-to-call, voice dialing, web texting and easy call management in addition to the traditional hosted PBX features.
  • In public places, it should enable users to access and manage all their business communications on their mobile devices without compromising their privacy. All user calls and text messages must display the user’s business number to keep the personal mobile number private.
  • While driving, the ideal telephony platform should provide a safe hands-free communication interface to access and manage office communications.

Businessman on the phone in airport

The fact that you have all these features in your telephony platform does not guarantee your business success, but it does give you a clear competitive advantage.

Businessman working in restaurant

Business SMS

To Meet New Business Communications Demands

Business people know that it is now possible to send and receive text messages on their office number. They also know that business SMS is not a gadget. It is a powerful communication tool that provides real benefits to their business activities.

Business SMS solves one of the biggest challenges of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). BYOD enables employees to use their personal mobile devices at work while protecting the security of corporate data and the privacy of employees. In some cases, BYOD was implemented to stop the nonsense of having employees carry two mobile devices, one personal and one for work.

With business SMS, employees no longer need to divulge their personal phone number in order to text business contacts. Employees use the same office number for their phone calls and text messages without ever sharing their mobile number.

Imagine how important this feature is for organisations with a mobile workforce like real estate agencies, law firms, insurance companies, accountants and financial advisors. It will not take long before everyone starts asking for business SMS. Your existing customers will want to have it.

It is important that you give it to them if you don’t want them to start shopping elsewhere for providers that offer it.

Make sure that your next telephony solution has business SMS. Without it, you would be at a disadvantage.

Businessman texting

Business Mobility

For Business People Who Work Everywhere Even While Driving

Business mobility used to be a matter of providing smartphones to mobile employees so they can handle phone calls and access their work emails while out of the office, in restaurants, airports or hotels. But things have changed.

Nowadays, business mobility must also answer the needs of employees who want to keep working while driving. They want to access and use their office communications tools without compromising their safety or violating state laws. Employers can be held responsible for the safety and security of their mobile workforce. They may enforce the use of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa or Google for hands-free, eyes-free communications, these are not business assistants.

They provide general purpose information such as providing the weather in San Francisco, the nearest Starbucks or the team that won the superbowl in 1999, but they fail to provide access to office communications tools such as the phone system to manage call forwarding, dial extensions, or listen to voicemail.

Business texting, employee safety and privacy protection have introduced additional requirements. It is important that your next telephony platform comes with a mobile app connected directly to the phone system, and a web portal that enables users to access and manage all their business communications and messages remotely.

Businessman working while driving safely

The demand for such enhanced mobility and virtual assistant services is increasing as executives and customer account managers realize the productivity gains that they provide.

Call Management

To Keep Busy People Productive

Call management is the most important feature of any telephony platform. Call quality, reliability, performance and call handling functions are among the minimum requirements. Like most modern hosted PBX systems, your next telephony platform must have at least the following functions and features:

  • Customizable and schedule-based auto-attendants and call answering services;
  • Call forwarding based on each user’s work schedule and call routing rules;
  • Call filtering based on caller identity, date and time of call and the user’s preferences;
  • Call distribution to groups of users or extensions simultaneously or sequentially;
  • Customizable call distribution to users based on a predefined duty agent schedule;
  • Call center functions with call queuing and call dispatching algorithms;
  • Call recording with flexible storage options (Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or FTP servers);

Your next telephony platform should not only have the above-listed functions but also make them accessible from different user interfaces: on the Web, the mobile app and the telephone with speech or touch tone commands.

Intelligent call filtering, accessibility and voice interface would not only be a great sales asset, they will also give you an important competitive advantage.

Business talking on the phone in office

Accessibility

To Make the Workplace More Inclusive

Workers with disabilities are an integral part of our society. They are active everywhere in government, public institutions and private companies contributing with their skills like everyone else.

To ensure that the workplace is inclusive, US and Canadian governments issued laws that require enterprises as well as IT and telecom vendors to integrate accessibility in their products and services. Whether you are a US or Canadian Company, make sure that your next telephony platform is compliant to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Accessible Canada Act (ACA).

It will help you be compliant with the law and qualify your company for the lucrative public sector market.

Keyboard with accessibility sign

The good part about accessibility is that integrating it isn’t just good for your business. It is also the right thing to do.

Application Development

To Address Vertical Markets & Special Opportunities

Most telephony platforms offer the known “horizontal-features” such as auto-attendant, “findme-followme”, simultaneous ringing, voicemail by email, and mobile apps, but telephony is now used in different sectors that require different functions. This is where telephony platforms with an open application development environment stand out.

They enable resellers to go after lucrative vertical markets where custom applications are key success factors. Look for a telephony platform with a built-in development environment that will enable you to easily and quickly build and deploy custom Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications without affecting the stability and performance of the main hosted PBX functions.

The selected telephony platform should enable you to go after untapped business opportunities:

  • real estate agencies and brokers where mobility, intelligent call distribution and property marketing are key requirements;
  • dental and medical clinics where appointments by phone can be an unmatched advantage;
  • law firms and financial advisors that require advanced time logs and call recording.

Having the flexibility to build custom solutions will help you win more business where others fall short.

Employee meeting

Integrations

To Provide True Unified Communications

Office phone systems have evolved considerably over the last two decades. They moved from proprietary standalone voice-only systems to open communication and collaboration platforms. They adopted the Internet with voice-over-ip and moved to the cloud away from the office server rooms and cables.

They integrated with other business communication tools such as emails, contacts and CRMs to provide new productivity features. When shopping for your next telephony platform, pay attention to its current and potential integrations.

  • Does it enable users to access their contacts to call them or recognize them when they call?
  • Does it log calls and voice messages with the company’s CRM contacts?
  • Which integrations have actually been implemented and tested in real-life environments?

An open IVR development will give you the tools and freedom to go after markets that your competitors cannot reach.

Make sure that the telephony platform has successfully integrated the most popular productivity and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite and Salesforce.

Puzzle pieces

Why Product Matters

Business presentation

The success of a reseller business starts and ends with the product sold. Selling the right product will make or break your business. These are the things to look for:

  1. The product you resell needs to solve the right problems at the right price
  2. The product you resell needs to be customizable and brandable
  3. The product you resell needs to fit your company growth strategy

But before all that, remember what led you to build your business. What attracted you and what made it an opportunity.

The infographic below describes the top 10 reasons why new businesses fail. Knowing these elements can help you avoid business traps that can play a big role on the future of your business.

Startups Funding Graph

The Product Needs To Solve The Right Problems

A product that does not solve the right problems is guaranteed to not have enough traction, be outcompeted, have no market need and have bad timing. That’s already four of the top 10 reasons why products fail.

Our society and technology are evolving so quickly that the right problem changes fast. A big brand phone system might sound like a good solution, but since the Covid-19 pandemic, this hardware is sitting on an empty desk. Perhaps the problem is no longer just helping businesses communicate but finding an easy way for them to communicate and work from anywhere.

Steve Jobs once said - Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do. When choosing the right products, it’s important to believe that the product is a game changer.

Steve Jobs
Elon Musk

Now quoting Elon Musk - If you’re entering anything where there’s an existing marketplace, against large entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs... It can’t be a little bit better because...customers are always going to buy the trusted brand unless there’s a big difference.

If you plan on building your business around a hosted PBX solution, make sure that it’s much better than competitors.

The Product Needs To Be Financially Viable And Brandable

Businessmen in meeting

In the top 10 reasons for failure, the three major issues with reselling a product that is not financially viable and brandable is running out of money, not getting enough traction and facing pricing issues.

Financially viable products should not require a high upfront cost. This means that platform vendors that require large up front investments should be off your list.

Furthermore, if customers can sign up and manage their account online through a self service portal, then the plateform becomes even more viable financially.

A brandable product is user-friendly, simple and easy to use. Its interface and functions do not intimidate users but instead captivate their interest.

A reseller friendly product lets you put your brand anywhere on the product. It needs to be flexible enough to incorporate any specific functionalities that appeals to your particular clientele.

The Product Needs To Fit Your Company Culture

Business board meeting

A product that does not fit your company culture will quickly become an expensive burden for you. If you plan to focus only on marketing the product, then you will need a well-known hosted PBX solution.

But if you require the ability to adapt and readapt the solution and offer it to the market with your brand, then a flexible and customizable telephony platform is your best choice.

The vendor’s culture needs to fit your company culture. There are several big VoIP solutions offered by vendors that want to control and squeeze their resellers, before dropping them whenever it works best for them.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of big brand companies with a culture that consists in using small resellers to test products and marketing ideas before taking over their market.

You should stay alert to avoid these risky business traps.

Learn What Evatel Can Do For You

Evatel is the first cloud business phone powered by an intelligent virtual assistant. Its innovative open architecture is designed to provide scalability and feature extensibility.

Evatel helps unified communications service providers increase their revenues significantly while recruiting 63% more customers in the first 90 days.

Evatel has already been tested as a value-added service platform to enhance Cisco BroadWorks. It is already integrated with Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce.

Evatel was designed to be the best telephony platform for resellers. Learn more about it here.

Email or call +1 (514)765-8490 to discuss your preferred partnership.

You can quickly add Evatel to your product offering. It’s risk-free and there are no setup fees.

Fill the form to download the full White Paper

Which telephony platform should you sell Cover

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