Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Hosted Voice for IT VARs

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 18-Apr-2018 10:12:01

Are you an IT VAR looking for a good deal on a world-class, hosted telephony brand?

Best of Breed

Jola is a channel-only supplier of Broadsoft hosted telephony solutions. Our packages come with 45 features as standard and a range of cost-effective add-ons. By packaging the common features, we made it easier for our partners to meet the majority of requirements, with the ability to bespoke solutions with add-ons.

Managed Billing

If branching out into telephony for the first time, do you have an adequate billing system?

To save the cost of new billing software and additional resource, Jola offers a fully managed, white label billing solution for both Jola and non-Jola services. We have developed a cost-effective front-end to the market-leading platform aBILLity™.

Our billing platform can be programmed to invoice any product you require and data can be pre-loaded. Our specialist team does the legwork for you; managing ‘back office’ processes to ensure customers are billed correctly and processes run smoothly. Our system provides real-time analysis and fraud prevention, with a data export facility to common accounts software.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

Hosted Telephony Facts and Fiction

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 18-Jan-2018 10:24:29

The opportunity

According to Statista in 2017, the European mobile VoIP market was estimated to be worth 10 billion pounds. As SMEs come out of contract with traditional telephony suppliers, they are researching the potential cost savings and benefits of moving to a hosted solution. Often they will turn to trusted IT and telecoms providers for help.

Facts

50% cost saving

SMEs can save up to 50% on their monthly phone bill by moving to a hosted solution. They can avoid up-front costs entirely by paying for the service and devices on a per-seat-per-licence basis. Unlimited calls to both landlines and mobiles are often included and inter-company calls, across multiple sites are free.

45+ features as standard

Many hosted telephony packages come with inclusive features such as auto attendant, busy lamp fields, Office UC (instant messaging, presence and video), Go Integrator, shared call appearance, voicemail, call forwarding, redial, DND, call pickup, hunt groups, hot-desking, call waiting and music-on-hold. Additional features such as call recording, conferencing, screen collaboration, CRM integration, call reporting and real-time statistics can be added on a per month, per extension basis.

Facts.jpg

Benefits

Hosted telephony systems offer the ability for SMEs to work remotely as if in the office, using other devices as their desk phone. Companies can port their existing numbers to avoid changing their business contact details and can benefit from advanced call routing and management features. Office UC allows employees to use tablets, PCs and mobile phones instead of, and as well as, a traditional handset. They can see who is free to take calls from their directory and make and take video and voice calls, whilst sending IM messages.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

3 reasons hosted telephony deals are lost

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 19-Oct-2017 11:39:32

Adoption rates of hosted telephony are increasing as SMEs look to reduce the costs and complexities of business telephony. Here are the top three reasons why you may see deals go from 90% on the forecast to 5% at the last minute.

They are still in contract

They have reviewed potential suppliers, had a demo and were pleased with the proposal, but realised that they are still in contract with their existing supplier. There were significant cancellation charges, which is why the sale was lost. This puts the existing supplier in a good position to negotiate a reduction in fees by upgrading the system themselves and takes you out of the running. When quoting a new opportunity, it is important, to check the existing supplier contract for penalties to save everyone time.

Decided to stay with the old platform

Customers are resistant to change and although the financials make sense, the team may not be completely on-board with the perceived hassle of moving phone systems. It is important at this stage to understand the resistance and where it is coming from. If it’s the Office Manager for example, sit with him/her and talk about their day to day concerns and see if you can allay fears. Demonstrate new functionality to encourage advocates rather than resistors. Ensure the new system meets all the requirements of the old system and involve the right people in the changeover process and the deal could be salvaged.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

Hosted voice platforms are all the same

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Sep-2017 09:59:43

Resellers looking to add hosted voice to their portfolio often feel that hosted voice propositions are all the same. Is this the case?

Inclusive Features

Each supplier packages their offering differently. Some have stripped out basic features to offer an attractive headline price.  When you start to add key features back in, you may see a very different price per seat. Others have bundled in all the common features and have competitive add-ons to customise offerings. In either case it is important to know what your customers expect as standard and what options they are willing to pay for. 

Free Calls

Which suppliers include free calls to UK landlines and mobiles? Is this something your potential customers will require? Is there a licence-only price without calls? Are you able to pool allowances across customer sites and what happens when an individual user or customer exceeds the Fair Use Policy?

Call Director

What happens if your customers lose internet connectivity or power? Can customers dial out from their mobiles? This is a useful benefit for customers concerned about reliability. Some suppliers offer an ‘Anywhere’ feature so you are never without a phone system.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

Hosted telephony debate

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 23-Aug-2017 12:42:58

Jola recently took part in a live, streamed hosted telephony debate with two other suppliers.

The debate raised some interesting points.

Connectivity

Companies of all sizes are moving to hosted solutions, as they are more cost-effective. Concerns about reliability of internet connections has largely gone away, due to the availability of fast, reliable circuits such as FTTC and EFM.

If the government gets behind it, 5G could quickly start to take over from direct internet connections like ADSL2+, fibre broadband and Ethernet. 4G is already being used in areas of poor connectivity and there are portals available to monitor usage and reduce bill shock. 5G is a way off, but does present an opportunity for the channel and a threat to fixed-line carriers.

Choosing suppliers

There was some debate around how many current hosted voice suppliers there are in the market, however the point was made that there is a huge choice of suppliers and solutions to choose from. When you compare solutions, there are big differences, even between vendors using the same underlying technology e.g. Broadsoft. Resellers require different levels of support and companies that can infill requirements on demand, such as white label billing, support, installations and portals have an advantage.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

What is Office UC?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 16-Aug-2017 21:00:44

Office UC is an application which allows you to make voice and video calls over the JolaPhone network via a softphone which is available to download on a PC, phone or tablet.  It comes as standard as part of Jola Premium Broadsoft hosted telephony bundles.

What is UC Team?

UC Team is an option which also includes conference calls and the ability to share your desktop for collaborative working.

How do I make and receive calls?

Calls are made and received via the application, as if you were sat at your desk using your handset. You have the option to call from the app, call from your IP phone or video call. You can easily access your voicemail from the dial pad too. You can mute callers and adjust the volume of the call, transfer calls, put callers on hold and show or hide video.

How do I manage calls?

Answer or decline calls by clicking the green or red buttons. If contacts are already in the directory you can see who is calling before you answer without having to recognise the number. Call waiting allows you to put one call on hold and answer another call. Calls can be transferred blind or attended if you need to brief a colleague before transferring a call. Call Move can be used where users have Shared Call Appearance or Call Director where active calls on a desk phone can be transferred seamlessly to a smartphone via the Call Pull button.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

Why sell hosted voice?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 19-Jul-2017 18:37:00

Demand

According to a recent report by Zion Research, hosted voice services are set to grow rapidly over the next few years, reaching £112 billion globally by 2021. Demand from the SME market is growing and they are turning to trusted IT and telephony suppliers for help.

Technology

The cost of dedicated, private circuits for connecting businesses securely to the Internet has reduced dramatically. SMEs no longer have to rely on broadband with best-efforts fix times, fast fibre broadband is widely available and secure, reliable circuits with dedicated bandwidth are available for less than £200 a month in some areas.

Hosted telephony solutions are feature-rich with auto attendant, busy lamp fields, Office UC, Skype for Business plug-ins, Go Integrator, shared call appearance hunt groups, hot-desking and music on hold as standard at the fraction of the cost of managing legacy systems.

Cost savings

Budgets are tight for many businesses so when phone systems come out of contract the ability to pay per seat per month for a hosted solution that includes calls and does not require hardware costs upfront or ongoing maintenance costs is very attractive, especially when supported by their existing supplier.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

How can I compete?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 07-Jul-2017 14:10:44

'How can I compete?' is a question we get asked regularly by new hosted voice partners. They understand the value of the market, they have experienced a rise in demand for the product and know the alternative solutions they are up against. We recommend the following;

1 Focus on your USPs

Why do your customers choose to buy from you?

By identifying why existing customers buy from you and how they first became a prospect, you can start to list types of organisations you already have an advantage with. Have you developed an expertise in any particular type of company or sector that you can leverage? This might be a piece of software, an accreditation or just knowledge of how their business runs and how they buy. Also you might be surprised at how willing some sectors are to recommend you to other companies in the same field. 

We partner with companies who are known locally as experts in their field. Customers choose likeminded companies they trust with their IT, who are on hand to resolve issues quickly, should anything go wrong. Companies are also recommended by local trade associations or networking groups they are members of.

We help partners to identify their USPs and focus on uncovering opportunities within their sphere of influence, tailoring solutions to exactly meet requirements. We built our solutions to suit any pocket, with all the features you would expect included in the licence and a few more besides. Optional extras such as hardware, to amplify ring tones in loud environments, PCI & FCA compliant call recording and CRM integration software can be added as required.

2 Support the product

Use the research you have found on competing solutions and your own USPs to sculpt your proposition and promote this on your website. Make sure your staff are fully briefed about the product and have materials to hand when enquiries come in. Support your sales people so they have the knowledge and tools available to demonstrate products and can put together professional competitive proposals. Imagine your materials being reviewed at board level against competing offerings, do they stand out for all the right reasons?

3 Stay close to your customers

Your customers already have a relationship with you. Regularly communicate with your customers so that when they are ready to upgrade their telecommunications you are best-placed to help them make the transition. You need to be competitive on price but your customers already value you beyond supplying a basic commodity. Compelling propositions often include a better solution that meets all current and future requirements and saves them money.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

Why are IT companies getting into telecoms?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 06-Jul-2017 13:18:12

1 Increasing demand

IT companies are trusted suppliers and are seeing a rise in demand for hosted telephony and mobile data from their customers. Cloud-based services fit well with their skill sets and 4G is starting to replace satellite and broadband, especially in areas of poor fixed-network coverage. These new products offer recurring revenues and increased ARPU.

2 Simple propositions with management portals

Hosted voice is contracted usually on a per seat per month basis although bundles with handsets are also available on longer contracts. A large range of features are included with premium licences and options such as call recording, CRM integration and call reporting are easy to add as required. Mobile data SIMs are available on 30 day contracts and come in a range of sizes with bolt-ons as required. White label management portals are available for both.

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Topics: Hosted telephony

How to sell hosted voice

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 18-May-2017 11:08:07

Demand

The global VoIP services market is set to reach £108 billion by 2021, according to a recent report by MarketResearchStore.com. SMEs are turning to trusted advisors, amongst their current suppliers, for help once they have identified a need.

IT and Telecoms companies are looking for reliable suppliers who can provide not just market-leading solutions at the best possible price, but also support to ensure customer requirements are uncovered and addressed to their satisfaction.

Recommended sales approach

Don’t be tempted to reel off all the features. A good place to start is asking questions. What’s their current situation? How do they currently manage calls?

What problem is the customer trying to solve and are they aware of the problem? What is causing them headaches with their current phone system?

What’s the implication? Agree with the customer what the problems and deficiencies of the current situation are really costing the business.

What’s the need pay-off? How valuable would a different solution be to the business? Can this be quantified?

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Topics: Hosted telephony

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