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January 2010 | Volume 13 / Number 1
On Rad’s Radar

Why You Are Going to Need the Channel?

Hello VoIP providers, all 1,000-plus of you in the U.S. How are the sales going on your hosted PBX (News - Alert)? Not so good, huh? But you are selling that SIP trunking, right? Sure.

PRI replacement sales lower the customers’ bills. But you forgot something: It is lowering your revenue as well. Quite a bit too. It’s a commodity. Any panel I have heard about SIP trunking talks about cost savings (read that as less money for the carrier and the agent).

SIP trunking is the first step to hosted PBX. In the case of BroadSoft (News - Alert), there are 180-plus features on the softswitch. Add in the open API, XML on IP phones, the toolbar, and the Xtended App Marketplace, and that SIP trunk is the doorway to functionality for the customer. The SIP overlay on the trunk can add immeasurable value and productivity to businesses on top of their current PBXs.

Here’s the rub: This isn’t a T1 sale. It won’t happen right away. It requires sales skills. No order-taker can sell it. It isn’t price driven. It is driven by understanding how the business uses the phone system and is a solution to provide ways for the business to improve productivity or efficiency or add functionality (like remote workers or voicemail-to-email or IVR or ACD).

This sale won’t happen until the salesperson has an interview with the business owner or manager to explore how the company uses the phone system. It will take about 90 days to close – in some cases longer.

In many circumstances, the VAR or IT consultant will be the person who makes the recommendation to the business owner to look at SIP. Once the IT team gets a hold of the data on the hard drives for virus removal, software updates, whatever, the owner will listen to him about other IT topics. Telecom and IT are merging. The channel will be the avenue for most hosted PBX sales. It also will be the avenue for most SIP overlay sales.

Why? Because selling software and IT services is different than selling plug-and-play telecom services. VoIP is an application. Software sales people will do a better job selling it than traditional telecom people. Even some interconnects will have issues because they are moving from selling hardware to selling the invisible. Not the same mindset or sales skills. IT

Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (

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