When I posed the question about selling VoIP to some VARs at a recent conference I attended, one reseller described selling this technology as a ‘race to the bottom,’ referring to cutthroat margins. As a result, many VoIP resellers are abandoning telephony in pursuit of more prosperous IT solutions such as BDR (backup and disaster recovery) and virtualization services.
When I shared this news with a channel sales manager at hosted VoIP vendor Velocity Networks, he even concurred that successful VARs can’t sell just VoIP anymore; it really needs to be part of a more complete offering.
That said, the decision to not sell VoIP can be just as detrimental to your business as trying to only sell VoIP — maybe worse. The truth is if you’re not offering it, it’s one more area you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to competitors that are more than willing to help your customers.
You’ve probably heard the advice that your customer wants one “throat to choke” enough times that the phrase has lost its impact. But, it’s so true. It’s a lot like the love-hate relationship many people have with Wal-Mart. Everybody loves to complain about how the big box retailer isn’t good for small businesses, but it sure is convenience being able to get the majority of your shopping done at one place.
Your customers are no different. If you insist on telling your customers that their phone system is not your thing, you may discover down the road that that their network won’t be your thing any more either.
So, what’s the answer to breaking out of the VoIP conundrum of needing to make healthier margins and protecting your business from competitors at the same time? Greg Bertschmann, president of Harbor Networks, found a viable resolution. Harbor Networks is a VAR-turned-MSP that bundles VoIP with a managed services offering and has been realizing healthy double-digit year-over-year growth ever since making the change. Check with your managed services vendor and/or value-added distributor partner and find out what kind of bundled VoIP/unified communications services they have available that will enable you to sell the VoIP solutions your customers need and earn the recurring revenue and healthy profit margins you deserve.