Part 3 of 5 Part Series: How to Source a Business Communications System

July 11th, 2011

Part 3: Putting it all together

Now that you’ve probably narrowed it down to 2 or 3 vendors and have spent some time going over what you need, you can take a few minutes to sit back and relax.

These guys are going to head back to their computers and start putting together proposals and power point presentations, diagrams and system requirements, maybe even talking with a few people they know at the phone companies along the way to try and negotiate a better rate on your service contract. All of these things are perfectly reasonable and probably even helpful when it comes to explaining what they believe you should buy. They might even be able to save you some money from the carrier side of things so that you can afford it!

Here’s where the “buyer beware” comes into play.

No matter how pretty the presentation, what great things the system can do, how much they can shave off your phone bill, or how nice a restaurant they take you to for lunch, it will all come down to this: Did they address your needs completely? Did they truly help you uncover deficiencies in your existing system, and offer solutions to improve your overall business, not just the phones?

You see, many times vendors completely lose track of why you are looking to acquire a phone system – and it’s probably because they are trying to SELL A PHONE SYSTEM.

You don’t need a phone system. There’s a phone on your desk and it works. You need a solution to a problem that may be big or small. It could be a budgetary issue or a customer service deficiency. It could be that your phone system is simply ancient and no one can help you anymore if something breaks. Whatever your reason for looking into this purchase, I’m willing to bet it was to solve some sort of problem.

If your vendor is not able to put together a solution that will solve every concern that you have with your existing system and its limitations, you should not buy from them. No two companies are alike, and some out-of-the-box package deal is either going to be too much or too little for what you need. They need to show you step by step how your concerns will be addressed by their proposed solution as well as any tangible results it can help you attain.

Another thing to consider is at some point in this process the subject of money has most likely come up. Not many companies have the option of waiting around for a salesman to call. Whether your budget for this process is big, small, or non-existent and depends on that phone company savings to do anything at all, this solution needs to include options to help you obtain it. Some companies offer financing, others expect you to find it on your own through a business loan if need be. Make sure that your Total Cost of Operation (TCO) has been addressed and is within your expectations.

A comprehensive solution, specifically Architected to meet all of your business communication needs, will help you to weed out the companies that you don’t want to do business with.