Unified comms for the SME market throws up a fundamental challenge for resellers about how best to educate their customers, according to Phil Adams, Systems Sales Director at Nimans. Adams says unless resellers “do their homework” and make customers aware of all the relevant applications and choices available, they will never fully capitalise on the huge sales potential available.
“It’s a bit like going into a restaurant and not having a menu to choose from,” he explained. “End users operating in the SME arena are not all telecoms or IT experts. They know what they need to know to perform their jobs. The problem that the channel has, in selling to that market, is the danger of assuming that the customer understands unified comms – and if they want it they will ask for it. But if you go out for a meal, you won’t know what choice you have to eat unless they give you a menu. That’s the challenge for the reseller. If a customer does not know how the right type of technologies can impact on his business, he is never going to buy it.”
Adams says the first ‘rule’ for a dealer is to fully understand the specific business sectors they are selling to and offer a range of appropriate solutions. He feels everyone has their own perception of what unified comms is and can do, as he emphasised: “The key for a dealer is to tailor services for specific industries and sectors which generate the biggest benefits and impact on the bottom line.
“There is a huge opportunity out there for resellers,” he continued. “Here at Nimans we have many specific products which have been designed for SME’s, for example a pure IP PBX offering from Swyx, systems from Avaya, Siemens and Panasonic and also the relatively new SV8100 proposition from NEC, all offering unified comms solutions.”
Adams points out that working from one single device and getting all mediums of communication, is as viable to a small professional practice as it is to a large corporate blue chip site. “What we have realised is the viability of unified comms is universal; there are opportunities for all businesses, although some will be better suited than others. A local steel fabricator or garage service station will have little use, but a recruitment consultancy with staff out visiting clients, interviewing candidates and working from home and office, then UC could be their life blood.”
Adams believes UC is a continually evolving process. “Those resellers that embrace consultative selling, investigating and understanding the business needs of their customers, are the ones being successful in today’s economic climate. The key is to offer a return on investment in a short period of time, suggesting technology and offering solutions which impacts positively on the bottom line and raises efficiency.”
Adams concluded: “I think resellers in general do understand unified comms but not all of them know how to position it and how best to convince a customer to buy. They need to inspire confidence and show and prove a ROI. Here at Nimans for example we are currently running dedicated UC For Business workshops, aimed specifically at the SME space, looking at how resellers should approach that market to maximise sales opportunities. UC is a growing market but for many resellers they are still at the start of a long and fruitful journey.”