Legacy phone infrastructure is known for being temperamental and complex. Unfortunately, many MSPs have had to learn this the hard way. And it’s also the reason many customers are hesitant to make major changes to their telecom setup. That’s why migrating them to a SIP trunk is a relatively painless way to give them some of the benefits of a full-fledged VoIP or UCaaS suite, without the headaches that come with a full infrastructure migration.
Worldwide, many SMBs and enterprises are already making the switch to SIP trunking. A report earlier this year from Global Market Insights projected that the rate of VoIP technology adoption will increase 19% annually through 2025. And SIP trunking is projected to maintain its market share lead as the VoIP technology of choice.
So what is SIP trunking and why will your customers benefit from switching to it? Let’s take a look at five ways it can benefit their business, that just so happen to benefit you as their MSP too.
What is SIP Trunking?
If your expertise is in the latest network technology you may not be familiar with legacy telecom systems. Many established enterprises and SMBs run their business phones through a Phone Exchange System (PBX). This is akin to a telecom ‘router’ that passes calls into a business phone network and out of it through a limited set of external lines. That limited set of external lines is called the trunk, which connects your business customer to the global telephone network (PSTN).
So deploying a SIP trunk (Session Initiated Protocol—a flexible VoIP standard) means replacing that outdated analog or ISDN trunk connection with an Internet-based connection between their existing PBX and the global network. Their T1, fiber, or other network line becomes their universal voice and data connection to the outside world..
This switch creates a variety of benefits for both you and the customer.
1) Simplified infrastructure
So by design, switching to SIP trunking allows your customers to converge one portion of their telephone and data networking. Internally, their existing analog or ISDN lines continue to function how they need to. But their dedicated telecom connection is phased out and voice traffic instead passes over their data connection. This network administration and reduces both current maintenance costs and future costs. It also allows them to scale business operations more easily when only a single outbound data connection needs to be accounted for. When switched to a SIP trunk, to add a new phone line all they have to do is buy a new handset and adjust their monthly service agreement. Connecting users, extensions, and external numbers takes just a few seconds in a web app.
SIP phone lines are also ‘origin-less,’ which means your customers no longer have to worry about racking up long distance charges. If a customer currently places a high volume of long distance or international calls, they will likely see a large monthly savings switching to a SIP trunk.
One thing to be aware of though, is that this switch does increase data bandwidth utilization. So while this may mean their data connection needs to be scaled up, the cost of doing so is usually more than offset by the elimination of legacy telecom network costs.
2) User Mobility
SIP trunking has one very unique benefit: voice data coming over a SIP trunk is very easy to route to a wide range of devices. Calls can go straight to their existing desk phones, new VoIP handsets, to softphones on PCs, or to VoIP apps on smartphones. SIP connections effectively give each user one ‘address’ (Their SIP-based phone number) that travels with them wherever they go, like email.
At an organizational level, this makes it very easy for businesses to move people or whole offices around the world without impacting their lines of communication between employees and their customers. This is especially beneficial for sales or service teams, who often spend most of their time on the road. With little effort, you’ll give your customers more and better options for customizing how they want to work.
3) Improved Connectivity
Since SIP trunking shifts the load to a customer’s data network, their overall voice connectivity improves in a couple of ways. First, since they’re off the analog phone network, downed or cut phone lines cease to be an issue. Second, SIP trunks allow for automatic call fail-overs and other smart routing options, helping them keep their personnel always in contact. This means better business continuity, something at the front of many executives’ minds. Their business stays connected, and you get to field fewer service requests.
4) Simplified Management
Legacy phone systems have legacy management tools, which are frustrating both for you and your customers to use. With a simple SIP web management app it’s easy to modify users, update extensions, add new lines, and adjust call routing. You can make your customers’ lives easier with less effort.
5) Creates an Entry Point for Other UCaaS Services
Just for yourself as their MSP, this might be the best reason to encourage your customers to make the switch. SIP was designed to be a highly flexible Unified Communications (UC) protocol. Once a customer’s network architecture is adapted for SIP trunking, the business is primed to accommodate other UCaaS services into their operations, like video conferencing or collaboration platforms. This means more opportunities to provide new services.
For example, once a skeptical customer sees the value generated by switching their trunk line to a SIP trunk, they’ll be much more amenable to switching to a cloud PBX when their old, outdated PBX system needs to be upgraded.
They might also be more likely to see the benefits of a full-fledged UCaaS suite. Once that same skeptical customer’s employees are happy with their end-to-end VOIP system, and different voice communication tools, you can suggest integrating a collaboration platform like Microsoft Teams. And from there you can segue into offering Office 365 and other cloud services.
Getting your foot in the door with a relatively painless transition to SIP trunking is an excellent way to turn clients onto the wider range of cloud services out there. And you as their MSP are better positioned to deliver them.
By streamlining network infrastructure and providing a richer set of features, SIP trunking better supports your customers’ business operations. But as with every technology, it’s not a silver bullet solution. SIP trunking still needs to be customized for each business’s needs, a migration away from their existing telecom infrastructure must be planned out, and a unique feature set managed going forward. Those tasks take expert insight, which is where an MSP comes in to support it for their customers.
If you’ve ever heard your customers complain about high infrastructure costs, variable monthly long distance charges, or getting a hold of staff on the go, now might be a good time to discuss SIP trunking with them.