SIP: We’re Talking Telecom, not Cappuccino
Author: Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing at Edgewater Networks
For every blog we write, we take into consideration the fact that it’s important to know who’s going to be reading the post. What information are they looking for? What terms should we use? Does it matter if we use a specific image to explain a concept? We’ve found that the language we choose does matter, and the research we’ve been doing may affect your sales and your bottom line. Here’s the scoop.
VoIP and Telecom: Language Matters
Recently, Edgewater Networks’ VP of Marketing, John Macario was quoted in an IndustryView Report published by solutions reviewer Software Advice. The report itself focused on the use of jargon when speaking to businesses about taking on VoIP solutions and how that affected overall VoIP adoption.
In short, the study found that respondents (composed of a random sampling of VoIP consumers) to the survey were 13% less likely to consider purchasing a VoIP solution if they were spoken in technical language that consisted of too much industry jargon. Another finding showed that 11% were less likely to commit to buying a VoIP system if it was explained to them in jargon- even if it was explained to them that it would be a more cost effective solution in the long run. So the question is, why? Since the VoIP and telecom industry have specific terms that are associated with them, wouldn’t these individuals know and understand everything that was being said to them? Technical terms shouldn’t matter that much, right?
Telecom Professionals are as Diverse as the Solutions Presented to Them
Here’s the bottom line. If you are a service provider or a network carrier, you need to be speaking to your customers (and potential customers) in their language. This is especially important as you may be speaking to various stakeholders at your customer’s company and they may need “translations” or iterations of the information you present.
According to John, “most business owners think that SIP is something you do with a cappuccino.” At first, this may come across as humorous, but it’s actually something that service providers should take into consideration. The language being used with your potential customer (or a representative of his company- and we are not talking about his barista) will be crucial to making the sale.
Speak in Their Language to Get Your Point Across
In many SMBs, especially in smaller ones, the business owner may or may not have an IT specialist to help him decide on the telecom solution that is right for him. John actually confirms this in the report as he speaks about a recent survey that his team conducted: “…33 percent of the companies we surveyed with less than 50 employees said they didn’t manage IT at all—they didn’t have anyone on staff, they didn’t outsource it, but just hoped that the technology would work.” This statement shows us that explaining the technical “specs” of a particular VoIP system to a small business owner with no technical background and no time or interest in the technicalities of such a system is like explaining the specs of a car to a schoolteacher who just needs his vehicle to get to school each day and back and doesn’t have an interest in cars.
The point here is that your potential customer is making a decision based on the needs of his business and the money he will save. He’s not really interested in the technical information and frankly, he won’t understand it.
So How Should you Explain Your VoIP Offerings to Potential Telecom Customers?
As with all customers in any industry, businesses looking for a VoIP solution are all different and have different needs. On a very basic level, telecom customers need to know what the solution can do for them and need to understand how it’s used. In the report, John says that larger companies need to understand the more technical aspects of the service since they need their VoIP or SIP trunking solution to connect offices or facilities in multiple locations. On the other side of that coin, with smaller businesses, the decision maker may not even know or understand what current telecom solution is in place. When speaking to these individuals, it’s important to keep it simple and use what he calls “usage-based definitions,” explanations in simple language that describes how the solution is being used or how it needs to be used or improved in order to make it more effective.
Gaining the Trust of Your Potential Customer
It may just be “another industry blog post” to some, but for the Edgewater Networks team, each blog post we write and each piece of educational information we provide to you is crafted with care and with the understanding that we need to be writing “in your language.” In order to be reaching out to your customers more effectively, you need to be doing the same thing.
Over the last few months, we’ve been writing a lot about Hosted PBX as this is becoming increasingly popular with our customers. We’ve found that our customers are not just interested in this technology because of what it is, but because Hosted PBX fulfills the needs of different customers based on the fact that various deployments and options are available. However, not all of our clients understand this technology on the same level, nor do they have the same degree of expertise or experience with this particular technology.