Videoconferencing is no longer a wish-list item: it’s a front-and-center, necessary tool. We’ve all had to become at least proficient with it, if not master it, just to participate in everything from simple staff meetings to major trade conferences. And for managed service providers (MSPs), leading with video collaboration can be a vital tool in generating new, lucrative sales opportunities.
Understanding the Shift to Video Collaboration
For the typical MSP selling cloud services, sales have traditionally focused on delivering networking technologies like unified communications and contact center or on categories like security. However, “traditional” sales approaches, while comfortable, do not necessarily move the needle anymore. The business world has gone through amazing changes over the past year, which have compelled companies to transition their businesses to virtual work environments. Video collaboration came to the forefront as an indispensable tool to keep people’s businesses – and, in many cases, even their personal relationships – viable.
Leading With Video
In this context, it makes sense for MSPs to re-evaluate their sales processes – particularly those currently offering unified communications to their customer base. Collaboration features have sold for years under the UC umbrella, albeit as a proverbial “bell and whistle” addition. These tools were commonly used to better support team activity across dispersed offices, branch locations, or overseas subsidiaries.
In the new, hybrid workplace, fewer employees than ever will be located together in brick-and-mortar offices. Customers and vendors also have limited ability to visit physical locations. The dynamic has totally changed, making it essential that technology sales adopt a video-centric proposition.
Integrations Are Becoming a Key Focus for Contact Center Technologies
According to statistics from Time Doctor, a provider of contact center analytics, 62% of organizations said the biggest challenge in the future of contact center will be navigating the integration process. Contact center technologies that seamlessly integrate with back-office solutions such as CRM systems allow agents to access crucial customer information, including previous interactions and order histories.
These integrations allow agents to resolve issues more quickly – fostering richer and
more satisfying customer experiences. In addition, as a greater variety of omni-channel
communications become the norm in contact centers, embedded applications and/or easy integration with collaborative and video-based platforms such as Microsoft Teams will become more vital.Partners offering these advantages will have a competitive edge.
Video as a Competitive Differentiator
According to business communications blogger Gautam Seth of Dreamcast, “videoconferencing solutions are a major part of the corporate world today...The working environment in today’s world is moving towards a model where multiple offices and remote workers are becoming a prominent part of most corporations, which creates the requirement of a fast, reliable, and flexible mode of communication like videoconferencing.”
The advantages of feature-rich, cloud-based video engagement have proven undeniable throughout the pandemic, making it a much easier sell in 2021. Few technological disciplines areas immediate and personal as video, whose broad capabilities allow for more seamless collaboration compared to audio calls. “This instantaneous and effortless communication has effects that carry over into the productivity and performance of the employee,” adds Seth.
Effective screensharing, for example, lets multiple workers collaborate on a document or review an image and come to a consensus in real-time. This type of streamlined workflow was barely possible with audio-only calls. And when workers collaborate through a prolonged series of back-and-forth emails, it creates frustrating periods of downtime as team members wait for each other to respond – often between conducting other tasks.
In addition, the ability to observe visual cues enhances communications in subtle but deeply comprehensive ways. We all know emails and texts can lack nuance, causing messages to easily be misconstrued without the emotive accompaniment of facial expressions or tone of voice.
The Role of Video in Unified Communications
A year after the shift to remote work, employees are acclimated to features like screen-sharing, break-out rooms, and pervasive chat, which are in continuous use all day long. Even the ability to manipulate virtual backgrounds or raise an electronic hand in a remote meeting are everyday occurrences. Now that these functionalities are familiar to customers and recognized as an essential part of their workflow, channel partners need to make video collaboration services a priority when selling business communications systems. Channel partners who front-load their pitches with the benefits of their videoconferencing tools will find greater success than partners who still treat video like a “nice-to-have,” secondary offering.
Offering video collaboration is only the start. Ideally, these essential capabilities should be integrated into a unified business communications solution, conducted from a single interface that can address an entirety of business needs. Fragmented, single-purposes solutions cause unnecessary friction that can be avoided with a holistic, top-down UCaaS solution. Add to that features like persistent rooms and ongoing, drop-in-drop-out collaboration capabilities, and all-in-one unified communications solutions can transform business operations for customers, while benefiting channel partners by building trust and loyalty in their customer base.
Video conferencing offers an ideal “foot in the door” for channel partners who can then begin to demonstrate the value of a truly unified communications solution. Then, by expanding their offerings into UCaaS, channel partners can center themselves directly in a customer’s ecosystem, becoming a one-stop-shop for their needs. To learn more, download our exclusive guide.