The traditional “sales funnel” is much different than it was two decades ago, as the internet has changed the process entirely. In the past, sales representatives held the majority of the power because they controlled all of the information and the narrative.
Today, we live in the digital age — and B2B buyers have an infinite number of resources at their disposal to help them make informed choices. Buyers now hold all of the power. It’s important to keep this in mind when selling Unified Communications (UC) services, or any communications technology.
UC Sales Funnel: The Breakdown
Here is a general breakdown of the UC sales funnel, and some tips for positioning UC throughout the process:
If one thing is certain about the modern sales funnel, it’s that the top has gotten much wider over the last several years. Your customer, in other words, could very well be speaking with 10 or 15 other providers, all of which are sending informative marketing materials and vying for their attention on a daily basis.
It’s hard, in other words, to fake it in this space. If you want to advance a buyer, you’ll need to first team up with a UC provider offering a superior product. Expect that your customer is web-savvy, an expert researcher and someone who will be able to quickly sort through and identify the best products on the market. Millennials, for instance, now make up the majority of the U.S. workforce and have very different purchasing processes than previous generations.
With UC, this should include Full Spectrum support, or the ability to offer both cloud and on-premises solutions; a powerful and robust platform with centralized voice, video, fax, presence and text tools; around the clock support; and a leading global network.
Once it’s clear that the buyer is interested in the service, this is a good time to start asking the customer questions. When you work with a full spectrum provider, you can avoid a hard sell and instead focus on asking how you can help the business achieve its goals. For instance, ask about specific security or connectivity requirements, or the size and scope of the customer’s network.
This is an excellent time to start talking about advanced features like software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). For instance, you could ask the customer how their applications tend to perform across all different branch locations. Then, you could lead into the benefits of supporting UC with SD-WAN, for enhanced and guaranteed network performance.
It’s also a good idea to offer the customer a demo at this stage, to ensure they are still interested in your product. This can avoid time waste, on both ends.
Consideration & Evaluation
Once the conversation moves to the advanced stage, and the customer is seriously considering your product, don’t lose sight of the fact the customer still holds the purchasing power. At this point, they are still just a Google Search away from finding a competitor with enticing services.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the sales funnel is that the process ends with the purchase — far from it. This is where the true test begins, as the communications provider will be tasked with setting up and deploying the platform across the country or the globe.
It pays to work with a robust cloud communications provider when it comes to the post-purchase part of the sales funnel. The ideal provider is one who will be able to seamlessly deploy the UC platform to any number of end users in a short amount of time. This will go a long way in solidifying your customer’s trust and generating a contract renewal, which is why it’s vital to partner with a team that has the wherewithal, and the product, to get the customer up and running quickly.
At this point, the transaction is complete, the UC platform has been deployed, and the customer is up and running on their new UC system. But for the UC provider, the sales process continues.
Remember that the key to driving renewals in today’s digital world is to stay in touch with the customer. You’ll want to send informative content, for instance, on ways to enhance the UC platform or maximize its performance and cost savings. Stay in touch about network performance, too, and make sure that all communications applications are performing as they were promised.
It will also pay dividends to work with a communications provider that is committed to excellence and innovation. The UC space is very competitive, and companies need to constantly work to ensure that they are putting the best possible product forward, and one that is better than the competition.