When looking at the customer demographics of Hosted VoIP buyers, professional service firms represent the largest category. Marketing and Advertising firms are included in this category and are moving their phone services to Hosted VoIP at a rapid rate.
A recent report published by Software Advice suggests that 33% of small businesses business buyers are in the Professional Services category. At sipVine, a Hosted VoIP company based in Kansas City, we examined our customer profile and determined that 20% of our customers fall into this category, as we have a stronger percentage than normal in the finance, insurance, and real estate industry. Within the professional services category for sipVine, 20% are made up of Marketing and Advertising type businesses.
Traditional advertising agencies, web design, and marketing consulting firms dominate the customer profile, but we're also seeing many new entrants in this category. Start-up firms specializing in digital marketing and social media are in need of a low investment, scalable solution for their business phone needs.
Driving Factors for this Industry's Move to Hosted VoIP
As with most businesses, the advanced features offered by a hosted system are very attractive to firms in this market segment. Many employees of these firms are very mobile, working with their customers on location or moving from meeting to meeting. Having features such as voicemail to email, find me follow me, or soft phone applications, allow them to be reachable and very responsive with their client base.
Further, these businesses do not need to invest in an expensive, on-site phone system to receive the benefit of these features. One of the great benefits of a hosted platform is that the up-front investment is very affordable. You are not paying for the system, installation, or the on-site resources to administer it. Businesses only need to pay for the VoIP phones utilized.
Another common feature valued by marketing & advertising firms is three way conferencing. A account executive can conference a customer and an internal resource with a few strokes on the VoIP Phone. Conference bridge services offered by many hosted providers can pull together large meetings of remote employees or customer contacts.
Finally, with a hosted service, employees or contracted resources can be on the company phone system wherever they are deployed! We have seen where marketing firms hire resources where the expertise exists or deploy them where they can be most effective. Thus, employees or contractors deployed on a customer premise, out of town, or simply working from home can all be provided VoIP phones or soft phone applications that provide the appearance that they are all working under the same roof! They can be provided direct dial numbers and internal extensions and calls can flow to them.
Common Features are Great, but Customize Your Service
We've discussed several of the great features or attributes that make Hosted VoIP services right for these agencies and firms. However, one thing that is apparent to us at sipVine is that most businesses operate differently and have divergent priorities when it comes to their internal and external communications. The power in Hosted VoIP is that it is essentially a program, one administered by professionals. Thus, Hosted VoIP providers are in a great position to listen to the needs, priorities, and unique characteristics and build the call flow, auto attendant, and phone set-up to match.
Take time to find a provider who will do just that for your agency or firm. Hosted VoIP, custom built and deployed for responsiveness, should provide the communications platform that will arm your agency with another point of differentiation in a very competitive market. Wow, I'm even sounding like a marketer!
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.