This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
Statistics for the first half of 2011 revealed that while many businesses reported increased revenues and profits, unemployment remained over 9 percent. Globalization was mentioned as a contributing factor, and some analysts predicted that unemployment levels would remain high. The term associated with this latest economic model is the “new normal”. Frankly, nothing is new, and change is the true definition of normal.
A few analysts concluded that increases in productivity explained these contradictions, and I agree. Businesses utilizing new technologies are simply more efficient and require fewer employees to compete in today’s global economy. The industrial revolution that began in England in the 18th Century displaced workers – their new normal. As the revolution continued businesses adapted and prospered. Employment returned to conventional levels, plus the overall standard of living improved significantly.
To compete effectively, today’s resellers must also become more productive, plus sell the concept to their customers. Begin with a full audit of your operation. Create a checklist to include billing procedures, VoIP, UC, fax and all the technology currently being used. Make sure your staff members are engaged from the onset and contributing their views to assist with the analysis and get trained in the process. This is particularly important for the sales and technical teams so they can transfer this knowledge to customers.
Determine if your current infrastructure maximizes productivity or whether is it time for some changes. This is simply a cost/benefit decision. One example would be staff mobility. Can your staff work from home or on the road and be fully productive? Home workers generally put in more hours per week than office workers plus are happier and cost the company less – everybody wins. If your current infrastructure does not support this model completely, what needs to be added or updated? Certainly technologies like VoIP, FoIP, UC and CRM present many opportunities for increased productivity.
The next step is to extend this project to existing customers. Statistically, opportunities for upgrading existing infrastructures are much greater than start-up or green-field sales, so it is an excellent starting point. Plus it is a great customer retention tool.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi