Email, webchat and other interactive features make near-constant real-time interactions with customers an expectation. Voice communications are an important part of a business and will continue to be for some time.
The big telecom companies are exiting the old analog copper landline systems. Internet connections will provide the communications backbone moving forward. Explain these changes, SIP calling and more to your customers for the biggest sales opportunities.
Read on to learn more.
Bye-Bye PSTN Service
The breakup of the Bell System a generation ago meant competition and lower long-distance prices. It also meant confusion, consolidation, and maintenance of the old switching systems. The present-day communications system is meant to be more resilient and robust than PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network.)
Some U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and European countries have already shut down their PSTN and analog service. That means lines like T1, E1, and others are on the way out, too. The complete deployment of digital service only is scheduled for 2025.
No one has given up voice communications. Businesses still need inbound and outbound calls. This is where SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) calling comes in.
What is SIP Calling?
SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is used to manage multimedia communication sessions such as voice and video calls. It defines the standard of establishment, termination and other elements of a voice call.
Use SIP to transmit information between endpoints. SIP can be used for voice, video conferencing, instant messaging, media distribution and other applications. SIP calling replaces traditional physical telephone lines.
A SIP trunk line gives you lines and telephone numbers, but with more flexibility and economy. With SIP calling you need an IP-enabled PBX (private branch exchange) system. You can use your existing internal phone system (with an adapter), a hosted PBX, an appliance PBX, or a software-based PBX.
What are the Advantages of SIP Trunking?
We mentioned flexibility and economy. Here are some specifics to share with your prospective customers.
Exactly What They Need
The old way of arranging trunk lines and DIDs (direct inward dialing) involves artificial limits on incoming and outgoing lines. SIP calling allows any number of lines, instead of some arbitrary number like 15, 23 or 30.
Use this guide to figure out how many channels (lines) your customer needs. If their needs change, don’t worry. SIP trunks allow near-instant changes. Add or subtract lines whenever your customer requests.
The monthly fee per line for trunks and DIDs is low, compared to traditional telephone plans. Call charges are low too. Choose a flat-rate per line or low-cost per minute blocks to share between lines.
Uncouple Phone Numbers From Location
SIP trunking means that your customers can add international, geographical and toll-free numbers quickly and easily. Add numbers to their SIP trunk and terminate them on their IP PBX. They can give customers local or toll-free dial-in options at a low cost.
Another advantage is that moving offices is no challenge. Change offices without changing telephone numbers and stationery. No complicated forwarding orders or charges, either.
Help Customers Compare SIP Trunk Providers
Customers need to understand how each provider delivers their service. If you are a reseller partner, you need to provide your customer information about the carrier and platform.
This is also important for you because if system services go down, it is your reputation on the line. Look for SIP trunks that work with all major IP PBX, IP gateways and open-source PBX projects. Insist on reliable Tier-1 networks.
Favorable Contracts and Terms
Most customers want to know the key components of the contract before making a decision. Make sure you can explain the contract and terms without legalese.
SIP trunks are extremely flexible. Help your customers choose a telecommunications contract to reflect the ease of use and portability of SIP trunking. Short-term, month-to-month or even no contract agreements are favored by customers.
Help your customers understand the level of support, network redundancy and network security that are included. Compare SIP trunking providers’ service level uptime, handling of network interruptions, network latency and more.
Some providers provide custom pricing specifically to the customer. Others have set pricing tiers. In the case of pre-arranged pricing, customers need to be aware of how flexible a plan is.
Not every customer will need every feature available. A pay-as-you-go arrangement is best for growing businesses. Many service providers allow a “try-out” period.
Help your customers find a free trial to get the right combination of features at the right price.
Help your customers with references. Ask the references to list the provider’s strengths and weaknesses. Check reviews and industry publications too. Many telecommunication companies have short histories. Look for companies with experienced people, not just a number of years in business.
Customer Information and Guidance
Take customers through SIP calling and all of their options to build trust. Not every plan from every provider is a good fit. Take the time to fill in customer knowledge. Telecommunications is an alphabet soup of confusing acronyms and it takes some time to understand everything.
The old analog copper lines are approaching obsolescence and will end soon. Instead of voice-only systems, new services are delivered via virtual lines over the internet.
Voice communications aren’t the only use of SIP. A SIP trunk provider may offer a range of services in addition to telephone lines and calling. Instead of being bound by physical copper wire, SIP calls can be delivered to any phone number, anywhere.
We hope these tips help you explain SIP calling and finding a reliable SIP provider to your customers. For more business advice, check out our hints on engagement letters.