As an Interconnect or Managed Service Provider, you’re out there selling Unified Communications to your customers. It’s likely that they are able to quickly grasp the concept and envision how it can make a positive impact on their business. However, moving to Unified Communications seems like a really big deal – a disruption that could make for some difficult weeks before the company can begin to realize the many benefits that Unified Communications can bring.
You can create a much smoother experience for your customers by aligning with a robust, reliable platform. However, you still need to convince them to make the move from their old PBX to a cloud-based system that securely and seamlessly unites voice, video, data, IM, mobility and 3rd party applications such as Salesforce. One way to do that is to create a very clear roadmap for your customers, showing them clearly how to implement unified communications in their business.
Here is a clear strategy that you can walk them through to help them to see how quickly they can navigate implementation and get up to full utilization:
1. Start at the end. The strategy should begin with a full vision of what the business needs and what unified communications will look like within their environment. Don’t just consider the technology; evaluate the business needs of your customer – what impediments are muting worker productivity, and how could UC help to overcome these obstacles? Understanding what the business truly needs creates an opportunity to architect a solution that will have maximum positive impact. This will also enable you to create metrics the customer wants to measure to judge the effectiveness of the UC implementation.
2. Evaluate current technology and create a changeover timeline. Evaluating current technology and what upgrades are needed is the next step. From here, you need to develop a timeline for phasing in the needed new tech; are you ripping out the old and placing in the new, or will it be a staged rollout? Will SIP Trunking be a part of the solution? These are the types of questions that need to be answered in detail.
3. Upgrade the infrastructure. There will need to be at least some infrastructure upgrades to enable the voice and data networks to be truly merged and to ensure that other applications are seamlessly integrated. This is the fulcrum point in the move to unified communications. When the upgrades are complete, the customer is technically ready to go.
4. Educate employees. Most unified communications are fairly intuitive, but educating employees is imperative, just as it is any time new software is introduced. While employees may think they have a deep and full understanding, the likelihood is that they won’t fully understand the ins and outs of the new system. Training enables them to take full advantage of unified communications, and for the UC solution to therefore have maximum positive impact. This is good for your customer, which means it’s good for you.
5. Measure. Remember those metrics you determined in Step One? Now’s the time to set up benchmarks to measure against. Measure the effectiveness of the unified communications deployment will provide your customer with important data to justify the switchover, as well as demonstrate to him the value he’s deriving from the service your provide. It will also give you great data to use for your next sales pitch.