BigData or I know what you did last summer. Learning to sell a cloud PBX

    Every year, the sale of cloud services and services is becoming an increasingly time-consuming task. The SaaS telephone market is gradually segmenting, and this is a sure sign of the maturity of this market itself. Bright and difficult times are coming for service providers: a clear and understandable demand for cloud solutions has formed, a potential client will be heated by a boiling information field. The need for the formation and stimulation of demand for virtual telephone exchanges flowed smoothly into traditional marketing and now the service provider that sells better than others, and not the one that is more technologically advanced, is successful. In our blog, we already wrote that the question “to be or not to be a cloud-based PBX in the operator’s product line” has lost its relevance and the answer is obvious - “Of course to be.” Therefore, the main problem today is building an effective business model at the start of sales. We, as a vendor and developer of our own PaaS platform for telecom operators, turning gray on the telecom field, are ready to share our experience and understanding of the market.

    The telecom operator that launched the new service must understand and feel the product, understand which CA and which offer it will go to, in other words, it must be able to sell. Sometimes such a skill comes too late or does not come at all, especially if sales are single. There are cases when cloud-based phone services launched with fanfare were blown away during the year, right up to the project collapse due to unintelligible financial indicators. This is completely wrong, because everything related to the clouds should be sold “whistlingly”, but for successful sales a correct and deep examination is required.

    An operator introducing a new service is likely to have no such expertise. The question arises - how to get much-needed experience? The answer is simple: the vendor should have experience, provided that the vendor does not sit around collecting money on technical support and one-time license sales, but actively monitors the market and is directly involved in the business of its client. The ITooLabs business model has historically been shaped this way. And just about her we would like to tell. It is likely that our experience, our business model, will be useful to colleagues and partners and competitors, and someone will take it into service.

    Business model

    We initially assumed that it wasn’t very right to give a rather complicated technological solution to the clumsy hands of a partner novice without further sales support. We make money TOGETHER with a partner, not ON a partner, and this makes great sense: one-time shipment of licenses, no matter how attractive it may look, from the point of view of reducing OSes, significantly increases business risks in the future. We are interested in our cloud PBX being sold, rather than looking at the world through the eyes of another, half-forgotten, landing page. We are interested in the market reaction to the product and we want to develop it on the basis of a live picture, and not just roadmaps born in the depths of the analytical department. This is how the ITooLabs business model appeared, a kind of cloud know-how: we collect all statistics on already deployed telephone exchanges (the so-called “Big Date”), we constantly monitor and analyze the activity of existing users, form a practical, rather than theoretical, vision of the needs of “end users”. Such expertise is priceless and we share it with our partners with the best of intentions: take our knowledge, develop your service, and we will help to do this.

    Schematically, the interaction scheme “We are our partner operator” at the level of movement of funds looks like this:

    What do we offer? Let us outline the main points worked out over the years by the vendor-partner interaction scheme:

    • ITooLabs works on the revenue sharing model , i.e. we do not sell licenses in packs of a thousand or more, but offer, without the cost of implementation, launch a cloud platform and deduct a percentage of the revenue. This significantly increases the confidence of the partner and he understands that this guarantees the demand for the service. No one will claim royalties where the product does not enter the market.

    • Since the very first launch of the service, we began to accumulate and analyze the activities of end users. This is a truly unique experience and it can only be obtained in the only way - to study user experience. It should be noted that such an approach is rare in the Big Telecom, and we think that we are one of the few who can do this.

    • We do not just analyze user experience, we analyze the sales technologies of existing partners. We look at the most successful projects, identify trends and techniques. This expertise is very important for sellers, they can use the already prepared “Sales Book” and not waste time searching for the best ways. Paths exist and are confirmed. The invention of the next bike is hardly justified.

    • We train the engineering staff of operators. One of the prerequisites for success is a properly configured and stable service, and technical support is the service with which the client will interact throughout the entire period of his client life. Techies are simply obligated to radiate calm and competence.

    • We analyze and use all the collected information to develop and implement only the required functionality, we improve the platform, starting exclusively from the real needs of the market. Therefore, our partners can be sure that if the button is on the left, and not on the right, and with the next update a new feature appears and the old one disappears, then this is a well-calculated and justified step.

    • We integrate with third-party services, both client and operator. We offer our customers integration with the most popular out-of-box CRMs, and we give our partners-partners the opportunity to use box integration with proven billing. That's right: everything starts to work out of the box and does not require tedious and lengthy development. Both we and the operator want to get the first money as quickly as possible. Time is running out. The ecosystem of IP and billing that has grown around ITooLabs is our pride and an additional source of monetization of the service for the partner.

    • In some cases, we offer operators not only to use our sales book, but also offer to jointly optimize business processes in the commercial service. It's funny, but sometimes the “big telecom” may not see the simplest things that interfere with the effective work of businessmen. There are examples when the most “big thing” brought cloud sales to Excel, and CRM was used only for mass products.

    Big data

    Within our company, the fashionable term Big Data has begun to sound more and more. It is clear that to operate with this word with full right is possible only when the “Date” is really “Big”. The number of large installations of ITooLabs Communications Server has exceeded 40, and the total number of platform users exceeds several tens of thousands. We mentioned this not to boast of achievements, but to make it clear that our “Big Date” is really significant amounts of information. In the field of cloud-based PBXs, we are perhaps the only ones who can answer the question “Why did a woman look for a red coat and bought a green bag”. If the readers of the blog are really interested, we will be happy to share the details.

    We in no way deny the effectiveness of sales of telecommunication software according to the “bought licenses and left to sell” scheme, and in many cases it is entirely justified, money is earned from support, after-sales updates, trainings, seminars and much more. All this works when the product is simple and clear and it makes no sense to run around the seller’s partner, blowing dust off him, he can do everything himself and is absolutely sure of success, since he decided to buy many, many licenses at once.

    In the case of cloud PBX services, the situation is not as simple as it seems at first glance: the PBX should not just ring (any PBX can do this), it should ring as the client wants it to. At the same time (paradox!), When you first contact the seller, even the client himself does not know what he wants. This is what is called an “asymmetric product.” The client cannot, and should not, have a good understanding of the service until the moment of its purchase, but the seller must know the service perfectly, otherwise the sale simply will not take place. Another thing is that when describing the functionality of the cloud with technical terms, the seller, in fact, puts the customer’s needs in the correct form “I want the electric woman to say“ Hello, you called ... ”when calling. It is at this stage that our business model is working out one hundred percent. The seller is very well prepared and knows that the real name of the “electric woman” is IVR, and the client, having heard from a friend about the fact that PBXs can now speak in different voices depending on the weather in Moscow, was guaranteed to get what they wanted. To do this, you need to be able to see and predict trends, and we are doing just that.

    In each new publication on our blog, we share the unique experience that we managed to accumulate over the many years of development and study of the virtual telephone exchange market. This experience is of real value and we, as the owner of this experience, are very interested in disseminating it, since both the vendor-developer and its partners-operators play one common, very interesting and attractive game - the development and promotion of cloud services, and cloud services are what are now forming markets and setting trends in the telecom business. We invite everyone to a discussion and will be grateful for any feedback and questions.

    To be continued…

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