Understanding and consulting on the 'bigger picture' and the business significance of call management is where channel partners can gain a real competitive edge, claims Simon Whatley (pictured), Sales Director at Tollring.
In the last 18 months Tollring has doubled in size, doubled profits and boosted its headcount by 25%, and has been recognised in the European arena for IT and software excellence.
The company attributes its success to a policy of leading with the business solution, which is a proven way to increase margins and double system sales volume, according to Whatley.
Tollring estimates that historically a 14% attachment rate would have been an average figure. Whatley explains: "Today, among our most successful channel partners, 100% of systems are now sold integrated with call management, CTI and call recording products.
"All our fully integrated products - call logging, call recording, contact centre analysis, CTI and automated dialling - share the same common business reporting too. The real value of our icall suite lies in the central 'holistic' view of the individual elements working together, providing the insight required to increase productivity and ultimately profitability."
The MD of one of Tollring's larger resellers testified: "Over the last two years our new system sales have doubled and our software sales to existing customers have too. With a customer base that is already recording and statistically aware, there is a real demand for better functionality and reliability."
But Tollring estimates that at least 50% of their resellers opt to sell phone systems rather than solutions. Reasons may include fear of over-complicating the sale or the risk of increasing the price in the quotation and losing to a competitor on price.
The question is whether such products should be considered as options or necessities, says Whatley, who strongly believes that as managers become increasingly accountable for company expenditure, selling the cost-justification model gives solution partners the advantage, differentiating them from those strictly meeting a list of telecoms requirements within a specific budget.
He said: "Every company is looking to win new and retain existing business by using business intelligence, which is exactly what call management delivers. Call management provides relevant and valuable business knowledge to managers across the business, tailored to their role and specific requirements."
Whatley also noted that where call management gets 'really interesting' is when external data widgets are used to pull data from other sources, to blend relevant telecoms and non-telecoms data.
"Tollring recently installed icall suite for an estate agency, which demonstrates the value of call management working alongside their business systems," said Whatley.
"An industry such as this relies on the phone for day-to-day business to operate. It is critical that information on the database is up to date at all times and integrating call management with their CRM delivers significant business efficiencies. Calls are matched against the database, calls are routed to the right people and agents are able to view, monitor and report on their sales and lettings calls."