Todd Hirshorn can feel your pain. The president and chief revenue officer of Miami-based RingByName may not be a household name in the office technology dealership realm. However, he’s aware of the challenges dealers face in finding that net-new revenue generator to bolster coffers in the face of declining MFP sales.
More importantly, Hirshorn believes he has the right product to help spark that new revenue growth. It’s easy to learn, easy to sell, and Hirshorn has a template that can take dealers from zero to multiple sales in a matter of days. And before you roll your eyes at the thought of a get-rich quick scheme, take heart—it doesn’t come with a set of Ginsu steak knives. But it does offer a simplified solution to the age-old business communications tool, the telephone, married with the latest technology and features that integrate with the most-popular CRM solutions on the market.
Attendees at ITEX in Las Vegas earlier this spring were treated to RingByName’s introduction to the industry, of sorts. While office dealers are among the 4,000 reseller customers under the RingByName umbrella, ITEX was the first concerted marketing effort in a campaign that hopes to accrue 100 channel partners by year’s end.
Keep it Simple
Knowing the industry’s propensity for simplified sales pitches, Hirshorn has devised a single document that takes reps from site survey to deployment. Reps can absorb the pitch, training, quotes, competitive landscape and site surveys within a matter of a few hours. The learning curve is practically flat, and the dealers who signed on following ITEX were able to notch sales virtually immediately.
“What separates us from other VoIP offerings is our ease of deployment,” Hirshorn observed. “From the time dealers decide to join us to the time they’re out there selling our system is literally days. The couple of resellers who came on board immediately after ITEX had brought on three customers within three days. We can get them to be comfortable with the talk track, learn the language and be able to quote within hours.
“Once they’re up and running, we show them where the low-hanging fruit exists. We’ve been doing this for 15 years, and we can take what some people may view as a complicated deployment and walk them through it with a single, simplified document.”
RingByName offers a cloud Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone system. The parent company InPhonex, which was founded in 2003, rebranded as RingByName but still retains its original name as a global concern. In addition to two Miami offices, it has sales, support and app development in Brazil and a customer support branch in Buenos Aires. A majority of the 4,000 resellers offer it as a white-label product, and RingByName relied on its wealth of experience with other channels (including VarPhonex) it developed to tailor a program that speaks to the needs of office technology dealers.
There are three solution tiers under the RingByName portfolio, serving business, enterprise and non-profit end users. Some of the main features under each discipline are:
- Automatic call logging of missed calls
- Voicemail-to-email notification
- Unified contact management
- Shared note taking and document storage for all contacts
- Call forwarding to mobile phone
- Enhanced CRM at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions
- Single sign-on Enterprise Hero Platform for multi-location deployments
- Cookie-cutter independent multi-location PBX scenarios
- Advanced call reporting and analytics
- Hybrid solution that allows admin and call center features on a single PBX
- Compatibility with 1,000-plus CRM and business software packages, including Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics
- Local Everywhere, which provides local numbers everywhere in the world
- Low capital investment, maintenance and internal support costs
- Managed service layer monitors network conditions and telephone device health for optimal performance
- Advanced reporting and analytics that track phone usage and employee performance
- Extended equipment warranty with on-site replacement
- Project management from design to deployment
- High availability infrastructure with unrivaled up time
“For each of these three unique spaces, we’ve designed the tools that the reseller needs to support the sale, but we also provide the ideas that those businesses need to embrace and move over to the technology,” Hirshorn noted. “A lot of what we do for our resellers is help them solve problems, and each of those three spaces has unique challenges.”
Features that Matter
Competing offerings have systems that are rich in features, but many of them tend to be esoteric and not as valuable or frequently employed by the end user. RingByName has done a deeper drill across many verticals (backed by beta testing) to devise an offering that enables users to become more efficient, add to their bottom line and maximize their resources. As Hirshorn puts it, “To be able to do more with less.”
One of the key features is intelligent routing, which identifies the caller and automatically connects that person to the individual last communicated with at the user’s business (even routing to cell phones). RingByName also features what Hirshorn dubbed a “skinny” CRM for customer tracking and planning, a contact-management tool. The built-in CRM includes a note field that enables information sharing, logs inbound and outbound voice calls, provides rules setting for incoming calls (with prioritization), converts voicemail to text and text to speech, and offers other features that can maximize a user’s customer relationship-management efforts.
“We integrate with all of the CRMs that are important, such as Salesforce,” he said. “But through our resellers, we know that Salesforce is not the right solution for all businesses. So we decided to build the ‘skinny’ CRM, which costs 10 percent of a Salesforce-type product and has a high percentage of the most-popularly used features. And since it’s our own licensed CRM, there are no fees going to anyone except us. Dealers can offer our CRM to a small business and it’s not going to break their bank.”
RingByName is also highly API-servant. Via Zapier, users can integrate the RingByName system with more than 1,000 of the most-popular CRM, help desk, accounting and various other programs businesses use, including Salesforce, Mailchimp and Slack. The system also integrates with Amazon Alexa for hands-free calling.
Hirshorn sees the API capability as a huge opportunity for dealers to help customers build out a system that best suits its needs.
“We can allow for those resellers who really embrace integration to take this system to the next level,” he noted. “They can wrap around the phone service within the company’s management system. It really comes down to the reseller’s ability and interest in offering it. There are going to be some resellers who don’t want to get involved with API, but there will be more in the future who do. A good service provider like us that has a straightforward, easy-to-use API is going to allow that reseller to generate additional architect and deployment fees by providing the ability to further integrate down the line.”
Hirshorn and the team at RingByName created a business model especially for the dealer channel, of which he estimates 20 percent of the program is unique to the channel. They’ve gone to great pains to take the “scare” out of the process and transform dealers into phone systems providers, with RingByName doing all of the heavy lifting and dealers reaping the profits instead of referring clients elsewhere.
He noted that RingByName was receiving increasing interest from the dealer community roughly a year to 18 months ago. With input from resellers, they designed a timeline document that speaks to the channel’s sales process, rhythms and door-knocking volumes.
“Office equipment guys are very process oriented,” Hirshorn said. “Their reps knock on 100 doors a day and they need to have a simple process that was replicated from their sales team. You don’t want the salesmen to go off script and on tangents—you want them to stay focused. We made a single, simple process that fits well with them, whether they’re new, technologically advanced or a mature, legacy rep.”
Once a dealer is signed on, their reps will go through a week of live training and webinar learning. The second week is dedicated to self-learning through knowledge-based videos and recorded seminars they can absorb at their own pace. Within 10 days, reps are sufficiently armed to go out and work with the timeline document.
RingByName will be ramping up its marketing efforts through advertising and supporting BTA-sponsored events. They are also counting on dealer clients to turn their fellow dealers—particularly legacy dealers who haven’t ventured from MFP boxes—onto VoIP and RingByName in particular.
“What’s going to make us successful in this space is the ability to change fast enough to add the features and services of the future,” he added. “If we do our job right, showing the industry the difference between us and other players through word of mouth will go a long way.”