Smartphones and social media have opened people’s eyes to the power of modern communication, creating more reseller opportunities at the lower end of the PBX market.
Paul Burn, Head of System Sales at Nimans, says more intuitive ways of keeping in touch has raised expectations based on integrated, instant communication inside and outside the office.
“Everyone is more technology focused than they have ever been,” he pointed out. “This is due to the popularity of the social tools we use to keep in touch such as Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter. This makes us more inquisitive about the technologies we can also use at work. There‘s now much more awareness and desire. In the past you would have had to be at work to come across computers but today a lot of people’s social life is built around fairly sophisticated technology. If people are using more technology tools in their social life then they become more interested in how they can integrate them into their working life. Can my smartphone integrate into my phone system? This is one of the more common questions posed that opens-ups more general technology conversations.”
Paul added: “There’s no doubt that the technological aspects of social life create the opportunity to discuss technology in a business environment. It opens the doors to end users gaining a greater understanding about interactive communication – at their desk or away from the office.”
Paul feels the sub 50 extension arena can be split into two sections, the 20-50 user segment and those below. “There are two slightly different models. Resellers in the sub 20 arena have to overcome the main obstacle of replacing a phone system that in theory still works fine. There has to be tangible benefits, perhaps an added new dimension or if a product has reached the end of its natural shelf life.
“When you enter the 20-50 user arena some of the value-add messages become more prevalent as it’s where applications really do tend to kick in more, based on quicker ROI, where higher numbers of users multiply the overall benefits. In this slightly bigger sector you start to come across businesses that have greater operational challenges that a system can solve. Perhaps there are people working out in the field or from home. Companies integrating databases into their day-to-day work require applications that can slot around these requirements.
“As you get smaller, businesses generally want a phone system to be just that; answer, make and transfer calls. At that point everything becomes price driven.”
Demonstrating how a new phone system can save time and money, helps ‘turn on’ today’s SME’s – increasing profitability and efficiency. Basic CTI integration is often a great starting point, according to Paul. But when they realise the associated costs, in some cases their enthusiasm will start to waver, he warned.
Paul concluded: “However resellers should hold their nerve. End users may not be able to afford something right now but what they do want to know is that the basic platform they are putting in is capable of doing something extra further down the line. For example if it can perform 10 key tasks it’s important that an end user understands this. Right now they may only want it to do 2 but they don’t want to have to replace the system for the other eight in a couple of year’s time. The strongest reseller message is to deliver a solution that is flexible – capable of matching your customer’s needs now and also when their business evolves, it keeps pace.”