shutterstock_363775298.jpg

Better Serve SMBs with Unified Communications

The unified communications (UC) market is growing and offers numerous opportunities for service providers who understand the needs and priorities of the customers most likely to be interested in these services, as well as those that can best benefit from them. Many of those customers are small to medium-sized businesses (SMB). If you’re not yet offering your SMB customers and prospects unified communication solutions, including SIP trunking, you’re missing out.

shutterstock_363775298.jpg

And it’s not just any unified communication solutions that will do. Cloud-based solutions hold the most promise because of their ability to meet SMBs much broader need for digital transformation. Here’s what you need to know to capitalize on a growing opportunity.


Icons-unique-needs.pngThe Unique Needs of SMBs

There are a lot of UC solutions on the market tailored specifically to the needs of enterprises, which can be defined as organizations with over 1,000 employees. Unfortunately, SMBs face much different challenges than enterprise customers and have very unique needs. Due to their size, limited resources, and often seasonal sales cycles, SMBs need UC solutions that are flexible, scalable and cost conscious — attributes associated with cloud-based unified communications.

To be competitive and grow their businesses, SMBs also need to be able to leverage the latest technologies and tools, including their UC solutions, to meet their business requirements for increased productivity, operational efficiency and more. However, many lack the technical and business know-how to do so. They need UC service providers who not only deliver services but can also serve as strategic partners to guide them in digitally transforming their businesses and using their UC solutions to work smarter and more efficiently.

These needs are reinforced in Gartner’s Market Trends: How CSPs Can Better Tackle the SMB Opportunity. The report provides important insights into some of the unique needs SMBs have compared to larger organizations in terms of keeping pace with digital trends. Among them:

  • Expand or improve sales and marketing effectiveness  
  • Business restructuring and implementing a new business model
  • Prioritize digital marketing applications and social media applications  

It’s in regard to these needs where cloud-based unified communications and the providers of these services can play essential roles.

Surprisingly, many companies are still using phone systems based on technologies from the 80s, which prevent them from keeping pace with competitors who are leveraging the features of more modern systems, such as voicemails delivered via email and voice/video conferencing, to work more efficiently and effectively. A 2015 study jointly sponsored by Edgewater Networks and Metaswitch Networks, The Small and Medium Business (SMB) Market for IP Communications and Unified Communications (UC), found that the majority of SMBs surveyed were still using aging TDM phone systems. The average age of in-service TDM systems was six years.


CD-Blog-Icons-6-28-02.pngOffering the Right Solutions for Each Customer

You know what your SMB customers need. They need solutions that are flexible, scalable, and capable of keeping pace with the ups and downs of seasonal business. They need to enable SMBs to take advantage of current business best practices, particularly those powered by digital trends.  They need to be easy to implement, easy to use and easy to maintain. They need to be cost effective. Cloud-based unified communications services meet all of these requirements.

Having a nimble, cloud-based UC solution makes integration and ease of use possible for SMBs to manage trends that were once considered to only apply to larger organizations. That includes mobility and the requirement for a communications system to more seamlessly integrate a corporate office with its mobile or remote workers, as well as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Like other cloud services, UC solutions, powered or enabled by the cloud are also scalable, cost effective and easy to use and implement.


CD-Blog-Icons-8-4-voice.pngSIP Trunks for SMBs

One analyst firm even predicts that SIP trunking will be an $8 billion industry by 2018.

Are there specific cloud-based or other UC solutions that may go over best with SMBs? Each SMB will have unique needs, but many may be well served by SIP trunks. SIP trunks have become increasingly popular across multiple industries, but SMBs have been slow to adopt them — meaning there’s a huge market waiting to be tapped. One analyst firm even predicts that SIP trunking will be an $8 billion industry by 2018, with business coming from both large enterprises and small businesses.

One of the reasons SMBs have been slow to adopt SIP trunking is that initial costs and the labor time for installing SIP trunks prevents them from seeing the long-term benefits. There’s where you can provide the education needed to seal the deal while positioning your organization as the ideal partner for providing the service. Among the benefits to promote are the following:

  • Ease of use and implementation. Many of the better SIP services offer an easy-to-use control panel, which enables even non-telecommunications professionals to make changes to the service and complete add-ons and moves. Make sure that yours does and provide your SMB customers with complete documentation for configuring their PBX.
  • Lower, more predictable costs. Various organizations have stated that businesses choosing SIP trunking can save as much as 60% compared to traditional telephone service. Most long distance charges in the US and Canada are eliminated, so monthly communications costs are predictable — an important factor for most SMBs.
  • Scalability. SIP trunks are sold by the channel, so SMBs can purchase exactly the number of channels needed. They can purchase additional channels on-demand, when needed, so they don’t end up paying for unneeded lines.
  • PBX compatibility. With an internet connection and a PBX manufactured in the last 10 years, SMBs have all the infrastructure needed to connect with SIP. If the PBX isn’t SIP enabled, all it takes to make a legacy PBX compatible with SIP is a small, inexpensive hardware device called an Analog Telephony Adapter (ATA).
  • Business continuity. Tier-1 SIP trunking solutions are redundant, meaning that in the event of a technical or power problem in one area, traffic can be rerouted so business operations remain seamless. If necessary, calls can be easily sent to other locations, home phones, or mobile devices.


CD-Blog-Icons-7-29-Quality.pngOpportunity Awaits

Businesses of all sizes are undergoing digital transformation, which is increasing opportunities in the unified communications (UC) market. SMBs, in particular, can benefit from the assistance of UC service providers in choosing and utilizing the right solutions. Is your company up to the task?

Learn how unified cloud communications can meet and exceed the expectations of your SMB clients today. Click here to download our How to Become a One-Stop-Shop for Your Customers by Offering UCaaS.

Learn how YOU can become the single vendor for your customers’ communication needs by offering UCaaS. Download Our Free Guide.