VoIP is one of the latest technologies creating a buzz in the business world, along with cloud computing. Companies are upgrading to VoIP systems in droves and you may have wondered what all the hype is about. So let’s take a moment to understand what VoIP is and what it is not.
What is VoIP?
First of all, VoIP is not a single piece of software or hardware. It refers to a whole bunch of protocols, standards and services that can help improve your business communication.
Typically voice calls are transported through copper wires laid between users. The copper network is called the PSTN or POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) and has served us well for more than a hundred years. But it is old, analog and hasn’t changed much over time. It is sadly out of place in a world of users who prefer email, instant messaging and texting to communicate.
This is where VoIP comes is. It allows us to route voice calls over the Internet instead of needing dedicated copper lines. It is much more modern than the PSTN and brings voice calling in line with other 21st century technologies.
What is Hosted VoIP and SIP?
You can bring VoIP into your organization in one of two ways – using hosted services from an external provider or deploy your own SIP trunks. Smaller companies generally prefer hosted VoIP while larger corporations select SIP trunks but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Businesses just choose whichever option suits them best.
An external provider will deliver hosted VoIP services through your Internet connection. You don’t have to maintain hardware or worry about software updates. The vendor takes care of everything.
SIP trunks are similar to the existing PRI lines that enterprises use for voice calling. The big difference is that SIP trunks are not physical wires and they send voice signals through data networks.
How Can VoIP Help My Sales Team?
VoIP can help every part of a business whether it is the sales department, customer service groups or internal project teams. All business users and employees depend on phone calls to some extent. Some may use it more than others but voice calling itself is crucial to a company.
So what can VoIP do for your sales team that your current phone system cannot?
VoIP Gives Location Independence
One of the biggest handicaps of the PSTN is that phones – and by extension users – are limited by location. You can’t take your landline with you. If you’re away from your desk, potential customers can’t reach you. Even if you have multiple devices – say a landline and a mobile phone – the people calling you should know where you are and call the correct device.
VoIP gets rid of all that. Users can make and receive calls from anywhere. Your sales representatives can be on the road or simply away from the office but customers can still reach them by phone. Sales agents can choose which device they want to answer calls on, depending on the time of day or whichever one is closest to them at the time.
Mobile phone running low on battery? Take the call on your computer. Travelling to a conference? Contact customers from your hotel room with any mobile device. Just imagine how much more effective your salespeople can be with such flexibility!
VoIP Integrates with Enterprise Systems
Sales teams typically use several types of software to track and plan their work. VoIP systems integrate with other business software pretty easily. For instance, Salesforce is a popular CRM service that many organizations use. You can integrate your VoIP system with it so you can share data between the two.
With a regular landline, a sales agent has to look up and write down customer information and then make the call. They have to constantly switch between a computer, the phone and even pen and paper to finish tasks. VoIP makes it easy. A salesperson can call a customer directly from inside Salesforce, without losing their place in the software. At the end of the call, Salesforce can automatically capture call details like time, duration etc.
VoIP Makes Advanced Features Easy
When was the last time you used conference calling for your teams? Do your teams try to avoid using voicemail because it takes too long to retrieve messages? VoIP makes all these features more accessible to users. Your salespeople can get their voicemails delivered straight to their inbox so they never forget a customer. The entire team can access a group inbox so that customers reach someone even if a particular person is on vacation. And that’s just the beginning of what you can do with VoIP. Upgrade to VoIP and see what a difference it makes to your sales teams!