The small and mid-sized business (SMB) segment is ripe for VoIP, and one good way to sell to it is through a larger push for unified communication.
Businessmen are already using unified communications whether they know it or not. They just aren’t doing it in a unified fashion. Instead, they and their employees are cobbling together services such as Skype, Google Chat, Facebook (News - Alert) Chat and other social services on an as-needed basis.
So the upsell to a unified communications (UC) platform is not a hard one, which is why the growth of UC is expected to grow by 10 percent a year over the next four years according to some estimates.
UC tools can show 104 percent ROI on average, and they can help reduce the average length of a phone call by 21 percent while increasing text-based communication between individuals by 320 percent, according to recent research.
While text-based communication can sometimes be slower than a call, the efficiency of calling is predicated on actually reaching the other person. This is in no way the norm, with roughly 73 percent of calls going to voicemail. Written communication is more efficient on average than calling, make no mistake.
Some estimates have shown that the average company with 100 employees could save up to 191 hours each day on a companywide basis by using UC and VoIP. That’s 6,207 eight-hour work days, the equivalent to adding more than 23 employees to a business for the entire year.
Business VoIP providers should stress four UC features that will entice potential SMB customers: presence, unified communication, video conferencing and instant messaging.
Presence does not always get talked about, but it can make a big difference in terms of productivity. Presence shows the likelihood that someone will be able to reach the employee by indicating if they are busy, away or present. Rather than reaching out to someone who may or may not be around, presence allows the person doing the contacting to pick a much better time for the interaction.
The unified nature of UC also is a selling point. The average employee is bombarded with messages throughout the day from e-mails, voicemails, text messages, video messages and social networks. Putting most or all of that back together into a single communications hub sells itself.
Video conferencing also is increasingly selling itself as businesses of all sizes realize that much of the face time of the past can now be done through video conferencing. The cost and hassle has come down, and UC makes it easy while not as piecemeal as the DIY options that SMBs currently are leveraging in many cases.
Finally, stress instant messaging in the sales process. IMs, as they are known, are increasingly taking a prominent role in business communication since many questions are quick and simple to answer but need a timely response. IM, although it can be abused, is nonetheless a great channel for that “quick question” in the age when workers are not all actually working from the same office all the time.
Taken together, business unified communications is an easy sell—and this makes VoIP an easier sell, since UC always includes VoIP.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey