Selling 3CX Phone System
This document is intended to help you pitch and close deals when selling 3CX. It’s also a useful guide for IT administrators planning their PBX replacement and ‘pitching’ the new phone system to management. It’s important to understand why a customer wants a new system and what they will expect from it. Understanding the decision points that a customer goes through, the features required, the learning process on how to design good systems, and maximizing your sales is key to your success.
Why does the customer want a new phone system?
Phone systems are significant investments and most companies won’t rush into a new one without doing a lot of homework and without a compelling reason to do so.
Reasons for buying a new system
These are the most common reasons a potential customer would be looking to invest in a new system:
- They are moving to a new location or opening a new office.
- They are in need of an upgrade / replacement / repair / expansion and their current solution is too expensive to repair or no parts are available.
- The running and maintenance costs of the current system are too high.
- They want to leverage the mobility and flexibility features provided by modern phone systems such as the ability to work from anywhere, connect offices or integrate with other applications.
Identifying issues with the current system
To better identify the needs of the customer find out what issues they are having with their current system.
- Is the current system difficult to use?
- What requirements / needs are not met?
- Which features do they use most frequently?
- What are the current costs of calls?
- What is the overall cost of the system?
You will need to identify any preferred features that might not be available in modern SIP phone systems and tackle this up front. Consider how big a switch the phone system will be for the customer.
Expectations from the new system
The next step is to find out what the considerations are for a new system. This is important to ensure they are getting the system they really need. Ask if they:
- Are looking to have remote users and / or mobile users;
- Want to connect branch offices;
- Want high-end business features like auto attendant, call queues and hunt groups;
- Want to have better customer service using CRM integration;
- And how do staff actually use the system on a daily basis.
Understanding the reasoning behind the decision to upgrade to a new system is important, and after getting through the questions above you should have a better understanding of the timeframe that your potential customer is looking at. If a company is moving or opening a new office the time frame is simple and concrete; it will need to be set for the opening of the new office. Moves typically take 2-4 months, which means you have a set timeline to move the installation along. The sales cycle on this is longer so you have time to sort out the best time solution for the company.
Charting out the customer requirements
After finding out why a company needs the new system the next thing to identify is what specific needs they have for new features, phones and hardware. An important question to ask is which features on the current system does your customer use all the time. Basically, what would they not be able to function without? Find this out and you will avoid any distress during deployment.
Existing phone lines
- Do they have existing T1 / E1 lines that they wish to keep? - Does the customer have existing digital or analog phone lines? Do they wish to keep them? If yes, a VoIP Gateway will be required. We recommend that if there is good internet connectivity you attempt to migrate the customer to certified SIP Trunks, rather than installing a VoIP Gateway.
- Do they have existing SIP Trunks that they wish to keep? - Does the customer have an existing SIP Trunk? If they do, and it is not certified by 3CX, ascertain, if it is possible, that after the trial period the customer will move to a certified SIP Trunk. Using an uncertified SIP Trunk is a frequent cause of support issues that can not be easily resolved and will leave the customer unhappy. Better to manage expectations and explain in advance that using a certified SIP Trunk is better.
- How many inbound lines do they have and do they need more lines added?
- Do they need conference room phones?
- Do they need a door phone?
- Do they have a need for paging and intercoms? This is very often overlooked in modern SIP systems and yet popular with older legacy systems.
Remote offices or users
- Will there be remote users? Will they use 4G / Broadband?
- Will there be branch offices to add to the system?
Phones and Headsets
- How many extensions do they currently use? Will they need more? (3CX offers unlimited extensions.)
- Do they want to reuse old phones? If yes, what are they and is it feasible? Although it is tempting to tell the customer that they can use their old phones, be aware that old legacy phones will be harder to configure, have potential security issues and will never have the same usability as a modern phone. Manage expectations and explain that old legacy phones will only satisfy those with minimal phone usage demands. If it is anything less than 20 phones it will probably not be worth keeping the old phones.
- Which phone models do they like? Which users require executive phones?
- Do you require side cars?
- Rather than sell side cars propose a big screen with the web client for better usability!
- Do the users need headsets? This is a nice, high margin add-on sale.
- Are any users particularly heavy speakerphone users?
- Does the company still use fax?
- If yes, Outbound, Inbound or both?
- If Outbound, is it required? Can it be obsoleted? Fax is inherently unreliable, and even more so on SIP. If it's just a couple of suppliers that require it, maybe a few calls to those suppliers enquiring whether email with PDF will do and if so this can obsolete the need for having an ATA for outbound fax.
- Would the customer require CRM integration? With it the customer can deliver better customer service by having the caller ID resolve to a customer name immediately and in many cases logging the call to the customer record.
- If the customer wants this, check which CRM they use and if it is supported. If not, there is an upsell opportunity to develop the integration for the customer or having it developed.
Contact / Call Center functionality
- Does the customer want Call Center functionality? The ability to queue calls and route to agents?
- Associated reporting will allow the customer to monitor agent productivity and customer service.
Cloud or On-premise?
- Would they be more inclined to be hosted in the cloud? Not all customers have a real need for a cloud deployment. Installing 3CX on a mini appliance or as a virtual machine on an existing server is sufficient for many companies and can be much less expensive.
The Site Survey
Conducting a survey of the current network and office environment is integral to proposing a new phone system and providing an accurate quote. The main issues you will need to take note of during the site survey are the following:
- Do they operate an analog system or is it IP-based?
- Is the network VoIP-ready? At least for the LAN?
- Do they have PoE switches?
- Do they have a VoIP-friendly firewall? Can you get access to it to make port forwarding rules? Are you able to switch off SIP ALG?
- Does the customer have adequate internet speed to be able to support remote users, branch offices, or VoIP service providers?
- Do they have an existing server with enough capacity to add an extra VM already?
- If they do not have one already, does the server rack have room for another server?
- Do they have any existing SIP Phones that can be reused?
Planning the proposed system
Cloud or On-premise?
- Cloud is the buzzword these days, but does the additional cost make sense for the customer?
- If in the cloud: In a private cloud managed by the IT admin? This can be made into a unique selling point . Or in your cloud and managed by you?
- If On-premise: As a VM on an existing server? Or on a MiniPC appliance? Linux or Windows?
“Standardize, Standardize, Standardize”
- Try to get the customer to standardize on a certified SIP Trunk - which all your customers will use. You will have less issues and you can pick up commission!
- Standardize on one vendor if possible
- Avoid having to support old IP Phones
Which 3CX license?
Number of SIM calls
Next you need to know how many calls the customer will need during maximum usage so that you can quote the right 3CX call license. 3CX is not licensed by number of extensions but by number of concurrent calls - including internal calls. As a rule of thumb you can use the following formula:
Number of internal extensions / 3
For companies with call centers add the number of current external lines to that number. Therefore, companies with 50-100 internal extensions will usually require a 32 Sim Call license. 25-50 internal extensions require a 16 Sim call license. Anything up to 25 extensions can probably do with the 8 SC license, unless it’s a pure call center.
“Did You Know”
Which 3CX Edition?
Now you will need to quote the appropriate 3CX Edition. 3CX is available in three different editions:
- Standard – Includes most required PBX features.
- PRO - Adds Call Queues, CRM integration, Reporting, Call recording and other productivity features.
- Enterprise - Adds Call Centre features, Corporate Branding (Logo on IP Phone), Failover, Granular admin control, and more.
Find out more about the differences between versions from our features comparison page. You can upgrade a customer to a higher edition or additional sim calls at any point directly from your reseller portal.
Annual or Perpetual?
Annual licensing reduces the upfront cost for the customer. That said many customers still prefer a perpetual license. In this case try to include at least 2 years of maintenance.
The standard edition is free for up to 16 Sim Calls! It's a great way to get customers started!
Designing the Call Flow
Call Flows are important for most businesses as they map how a call is to be handled from the moment a call enters the phone system to the point where the caller hangs up. A well designed call flow is crucial for good customer service. This is the first impression your customer’s customers will have of the company. Analyze the current call flow and ask if it requires any changes. Designing a simple and straightforward call flow can be a nice add on service that can deliver very tangible results to your customer.
Now that you have taken the time to see what your customer needs, what they have already, and planned your proposed system it is time to put the quote together. Writing the quote should be a thoughtful process. There are many small things to consider that might not have been immediately thought of.
- Do you have to remove and dispose of the old system?
- Did you take into account the time needed for installation? You need roughly one minute to unpack and assemble each phone. If your customer requires 60 new phones that is an extra hour of billable time.
- Will there be a need to work outside of normal business hours? Often businesses can’t afford to have their communications systems down during office hours and would then require you to deploy the new system after hours or on a weekend.
- Have you discovered if the system is powered by Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches or will you need to purchase AC adapters for the phones?
- Does the customer require any training on how to use the new system? Remember to allocate enough time for user and admin training.
Did you include a support agreement?
Support agreements are a key piece of recurring revenue that you should not miss the opportunity to have with your customers. Locking customers into these agreements is what traditional telephony resellers have been profiting from for years and you should be too. Support agreements aren’t simple cut and paste products. They can be customized for each individual customer’s needs. Some of the items that can be added to the agreements can be:
- Emergency support
- Set number of maintenance hours per month
- Extended hardware warranty
Annual contracts are the best options. Try to get one whenever possible and ensure it is an automatic renewal. In the end you decide the contents of your support packages. They can be as comprehensive or simple as you want to make them.
Did You Offer a Leasing Package?
Leasing is a good option to help close sales. Customers are not having to buy phones outright and can easily upgrade after set term periods have expired. This allows them to get financing easier and it preserves their line of credit. Instead of having to pay thousands in one initial payment, you can offer them the ease of low monthly payments. This makes it more affordable to the customer and gives more revenue to your business.
Did you include training?
Training is the last major time expenditure for each customer’s installation. It is essential to ensure the system is used efficiently. If you install a new phone system and leave the customer to sort it out for themselves chances are they will not be as happy with the system because they won’t know all the functionalities.
To save you time on the phone it would be beneficial to provide some print materials for your customers to reference once you leave. The take home materials are important for later reference, but it is still good to conduct training when on-site. Taking between 10-20 participants at a time and walking them through the features that they will be using on a daily basis gives them the tools to be able to use the system you deployed in the most efficient way. This involves mock video and audio conferences, accessing voicemail and setting up meetings.
Admin training is just as important. Take some time to sit with the person that will be in charge of setting up extensions and the behind the scenes actions, if that isn’t you, and get them trained so they won’t need to call you as much when changes need to be made. The same goes for the receptionist. They will be dealing with more of the features the system has than the average staff member. Just like the admin training, this will give them the tools to be confident with their new phone system.
So now you have the quote for the customer, it's time to sell 3CX and make sure your quote wins! Besides the usual demo of the system it’s important to have the customer understand the key selling points of 3CX. This will increase your chances of winning the sale.
3CX Key Selling Points
3CX is not the leading PBX without reason. Highlight its key selling points to win the deal!
- Unbeatable Price
- Open Platform - Don’t get locked in
- Easy to Deploy - Cloud, On-premise
- Easy to use and manage - Low administration
- Mobility – Work from Anywhere
- True PBX & Advanced Customer Service functions
- Tried and Tested
A key selling point document and presentation can be found here for you to show before the demo.
“Did You Know…”
Demo 3CX in action -
- Install the app on the customers phone and provision it with QR code
- Show them your best looking IP Phones
- Use the free license key to setup a live trial for the customer
- Here is an example demo script
“Use the free first year offer to your advantage!”
The Deployment - Preparing for the installation
The quote is complete and the customer has agreed to the work involved, now is the time to actually do the work. Preparation is key for deployment. Before you deploy at a customer:
- Install 3CX in house and familiarize yourself with it
- Follow the 3CX Basic training course
- Get certified
- Ensure you use certified IP Phones and Trunks
Prepare a deployment sheet with the key information you will require during installation - you can use this example phone system deployment sheet. Having the know how and information ready is key for looking professional and for getting the job done.
Deploy off site and test run BEFORE going live
The best way to limit the down time for your customer is to have most things set up before going to their office. You can configure most things ahead of time in your own office and by doing this you are able to show up to your customer’s office and spend just a short time with the actual deployment. This will limit the time they are without a functioning system and will make you look more efficient and professional. 3CX has support staff ready to help if you come across issues during deployment or testing. You can await answers and fix issues without your customer looking over your shoulder and stressing you out. Take advantage of 3CX’s capability to deploy and test at your office - it will reduce a lot of stress.
The Follow-Up Meeting
Following up with the customer after deployment is key to ensuring satisfaction. Set up a meeting sometime between one and two weeks after deployment is complete. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure everything is working as it should be and that all staff are feeling comfortable with the new system. More importantly it ensures a happy customer and a good reference for future work. It’s also a great time to upsell them on the PRO or Enterprise edition.
When organizing the quote make sure you budget time for this meeting. There may be some changes discussed in the meeting so it is always good to have a couple hours of buffer time allocated from the quote to be used at this stage. You may choose to have this part as a complimentary service, but do not neglect it because it is a critical part of the process.