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Dash Business Phone System Interface

KP360 Blogs

Kevin Peyton, our Vice President of Sales, is an expert in hosted telecom and competitive roller skating. No kidding. The KP360 series puts his knowledge (of phone systems) to the test.

KP360 – Managing a Remote Team

KP360 Banner - Managing a Remote Team

You have questions about managing a remote team. Kevin has answers.

Our KP360 series continues today with Kevin Peyton’s perspective on managing a remote team. As our Vice President of Sales, Kevin has interviewed, hired, onboarded, and managed dozens of individuals during his tenure — preparing them to sell the VirtualPBX Business Phone System.

Now he’s here to share his knowledge with all other managers who find themselves in remote work situations. His brief interview went something like this:

Hiring a Remote Team

What do you look for in a new hire?

When interviewing a potential candidate for the Sales team, I first want to know if there’s a technical fit between their skills and the requirements of the job at VirtualPBX.

Do they have the requisite experience necessary to perform the job well? This should include hard skills like Sales experience. I want to know that they’ve been involved in finding new clients and closing deals. When it comes to closing deals, I want to hear about their levels of involvement – including situations where they were the architect of the sales cycle and when they worked in group settings.

The hard skills are important to have because they tell me whether, technically, someone can complete daily tasks in my department. More than that, though, they reveal soft skills like self-motivation, competitiveness, sense of humor, and curiosity.

The technical fit (a person’s resume) reveals a person’s cultural fit (their personality and drive) for a position. Managing a remote team requires that I understand both those aspects to my new hires and my long-time team members.

What do you mean by cultural fit?

I want to find out what motivates someone. If they have demonstrated self-motivation by working above and beyond their prescribed duties, that can be much more important than just closing X number of large deals in a month.

What I look for in my team is the ability to answer two questions about any lead: What does a business have now? Why are they looking for something different?

A new hire’s enthusiasm and competitiveness can help get to the heart of those two questions. Their humor and personality also help show me whether they will work well with the rest of the team.

What’s the most important thing you tell interviewees?

I’m candid about what they’re getting into. There shouldn’t be any surprises for either of us.

I want a new hire to understand what the job will be like. And I want to know how the candidate will work in the job. When that knowledge is passed along properly, the process of onboarding and daily work will move more smoothly.

Onboarding a New Hire

How does your remote onboarding process typically proceed?

We take multiple video calls throughout the new hire’s first weeks.

We’ll talk about the systems we have in place, processes we use to manage sales, and products available to our customers, such as our flagship Dash Phone System and our SIP Trunking service. We’ll also work through typical scenarios where I can play the role of a client to see how the new salesperson handles situations.

There’s a lot of documentation and company collateral that employees need to become familiar with. I’ll assign homework, basically, that they can read through at their own pace.

What’s the most important aspect of onboarding?

CRM FieldBoth in managing a remote team and an in-person team, this answer is the same: Employees should follow certain standard internal processes that keep the whole team working as an organized group.

Our CRM system, as an example, could be used 10 different ways by 10 different people who interacted with it. New hires have learned how to use tools in ways that fit their previous organizations. Now I have to get them up to speed with the process at VirtualPBX.

While each individual can have their own style in closing deals and working with customers, the information that makes it into the CRM – or any other central Sales system – should be standardized. When I look at a client’s history one year from now, I want to know where to find correspondence, deal details, phone number, etc. If those details aren’t all put in an expected location each and every time, the process breaks down.

Managing the Remote Team Day to Day

What are your requirements for daily, remote work?

CRM StatisticsI like to have one team meeting a week. This helps keep everyone on the same page. Team members can give progress reports about bigger projects they’re working on that impact the rest of the group.

Additionally, I take time throughout the week for frequent, but brief, check-ins with individual team members. This gives me the opportunity to see how everyone is handling their personal tasks, including closing deals with clients and generating new leads.

I also hold longer one-on-one meetings to discuss issues at greater detail. I might have questions about a large deal that’s taking shape, or the team member might have concerns to raise that wouldn’t be appropriate in group meetings. These meetings are a good time for those types of issues.

How do you make sure tasks are being completed?

I can gain a lot of information from group and individual meetings.

I also have access to metrics like calls made or deals closed in the past week or month. This data gives me a good indication of the cadence of someone’s work. I can also see live statistics about how calls are being handled on the VirtualPBX platform; this will show me how long call sessions have lasted, who has taken any number of calls in a day, and other detailed information about how work is progressing during the day.

If an individual typically completes 50 calls a day and I see that, this past week, they only completed 10 a day, then something is wrong. I can investigate further by speaking to that person in a one-on-one.

ACD Queue Live Reporting in VirtualPBX Dash

How much autonomy do you prefer to give your team?

In a perfect world, I like to give broad directions and let my team members handle the details.

Individual style plays a strong role in how much I interact with employees. One person might need more hand-holding than another.

Similarly, one person might complete 20 calls a day and close a lot of big deals while a second person might complete 50 calls and close many more small deals. It’s best when every individual can show their personality and let that guide them to productive daily work.

I’m always available for assistance. When my team is working hard, completing tasks, finding new leads, making sales, and using tools properly, then the whole machine operates well. The most difficult part of managing a remote team is keeping all those parts moving.

July 2019 Sale Banner

KP360 on VoIP and VoIP Phones: It’s Always Easy When You Know

SIP Trunking & Hosted PBXYou’ve got questions, KP’s got answers. Kevin Peyton is, on the surface, the Vice President of Sales at VirtualPBX, but digging a little deeper reveals so much more. An expert in everything from hosted telecom to competitive roller-skating (seriously) and everything between, Kevin fields whatever we throw at him, so we thought we’d let you have a shot. The gauntlet has been thrown, welcome to KP360!

One of my favorite sayings is, “It’s always easy when you know.” This is true for many things, a new smartphone, a new car, a new washing machine. They all have features and functions that we know nothing about when we first encounter them. This can be very frustrating until we have mastered the basics of these new items. Soon after becoming familiar with new technology, however, we find ourselves more reliant on it than we ever thought possible. The same can be said for a new phone system. Business telephone systems are no different, and in fact, can seemingly be even more daunting to become proficient with. The good news is that modern cloud phone systems are much easier to setup and manage than you may think. To help understanding how modern phone systems work, I’d like to break it down into three fundamental components.

Phone Numbers

Historically referred to as “lines” due to the need for an additional phone number for each concurrent call you may need (ie: rollover lines). Think of phone numbers like your email address in that it’s how you’re found and contacted over the telephone network. Also, just like when someone sends an email to the correct address, the call comes to you. In the VoIP world, the need for rollover lines is no longer what it once was. In fact, a single number can support dozens of concurrent phone calls whereas older technology had much lower traffic thresholds. Alternatively, adding individual numbers can replace navigating through an automated attendant by being designated as direct inward dial (DID) numbers where a caller may call directly to a person or department. There are many other uses too, like marketing campaigns or having a local presence where you may not have offices. This can be easily accomplished by adding phone numbers with whatever area code you need.

Features & Functions

This is the fun part and where all the magic happens. Many of these features used to require an expensive investment in a hardware PBX (private branch exchange), a PRI (primary rate interface), annual licensing fees, and IT staff to manage and maintain it. Other features on a modern VoIP plan may not have been available at all, even with all of that added hardware. The good news is that because hosted telephone systems all live in the cloud, they’re easily set-up and managed through a simple web browser. You never have to worry about capacity, or any confusing telephone people jargon, either. You can simply add the users that you need and can add or remove them at any time as your business needs evolve. A lot happens behind the scenes to make all of the features of a VoIP platform work, but the complexity of it all is hidden with an intuitive user interface that lets you simply point, click, or drag-and-drop to get the behavior you want from your phone system. In addition to ease of use, when you need more help our award-winning Training Team can walk you through it for free, too.

Phones & Devices

An IP or VoIP phone is the only thing installed at your location. There are many choices of phones and this can sometimes be the most confusing part of getting a new phone system. I try to break it down to a few fundamentals that will narrow down the choices. Will you use “Soft Phones” or “Desk Phones?” Both of these are VoIP Phones, one made of software and the other made of plastic. Second is budget, how much do you want to spend? The price range is dramatic with some phones starting as low as below $50 upwards to $1,500 for the most powerful and cutting-edge technology. Third is features like mobility in that would you need a simple desk phone or maybe a cordless phone? Color touch screens with lots of programmable features? Will it be used in a conference room for conference calls? Do you prefer more elegant phones for executives and if you have a receptionist answering all incoming calls, that person will need a useful phone to manage the call traffic. With phones, it’s important to keep in mind what is the most productive phone features for specific roles in your business. Whatever phone you happen to choose, however, the good news is that once you get them plugged into the internet and power and they just work.

KP360 Blog – What You Need to Know About SIP Trunking & Hosted PBX

SIP Trunking & Hosted PBXYou’ve got questions, KP’s got answers. Kevin Peyton is, on the surface, the Vice President of Sales at VirtualPBX, but digging a little deeper reveals so much more. An expert in everything from hosted telecom to competitive roller-skating (seriously) and everything between, Kevin fields whatever we throw at him, so we thought we’d let you have a shot. The gauntlet has been thrown, welcome to KP360!

SIP Trunking & Hosted PBX: What You Need to Know

First of all, what is the world is SIP Trunking and how is it different than VoIP?
In many ways, SIP Trunking provides the same type of service experience that you can expect from standard VoIP plans, and before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s in many ways very much the same. The key differences don’t arise until you dig deep into the actual architecture of a business’ phone system. SIP Trunking provides a path on which companies with an on-premise telephone system can access the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network, and basically where all telephone calls need to go to in order to be placed or received) in a sort of hybrid of both on-site and hosted PBX technologies. Investing in an on-site PBX, that only handles the configuration of the telephone system for the employees in the office, to access the PSTN, they then need to leverage an expensive Primary Rate Interface (PRI) to digitally access the PTSN. Or, they can bypass the need to add to their costs by using SIP Trunking that will perform the same tasks through hosted PBX technology. Either way, all of this also indicates that SIP Trunking is typically used by larger organizations that have the need and resources to invest in large, on-site telephone platforms and therefore generally not the concern of smaller organizations.

You’re losing me, so SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX are the same thing?
In the sense that both are cloud-based telephone technologies, yes, they are very much the same. However, whereas a standard VoIP plan like Dash will handle both the company’s extensions and general configuration in addition to providing digital access to the PSTN, SIP Trunking is for organizations that have the on-site configuration settled but still want to route calls over the internet to save money. Previously, the only way to do that was with the aforementioned PRI, but I compare that to analog telephone adapters in that you can marry some analog systems (an on-site PBX, for example) to digital networks (cloud-based telephone traffic) with an adapter, but you will probably lose some functionality in the process. SIP Trunking is technology with the same cloud-based DNA as any hosted PBX, but it’s designed specifically to be the bridge from an on-site system to the cloud that is totally lossless in terms of sound quality and brings the flexibility that users expect from a hosted system.

Okay, that makes sense. But why then would a business choose SIP Trunking over a VoIP system like Dash?
We’re seeing that new businesses adopt end-to-end hosted PBX systems like Dash at far higher rates than they do an on-site PBX option. This is the right choice for most companies with the freedom to select a system without any encumbrances of having invested already in an on-site PBX or if they’re ending a current service agreement and can switch to VoIP without any hassle. SIP Trunking is the equivalent to other companies that desire the cost savings of leveraging the cloud along with all of the flexibility that comes with a hosted PBX, but that have already invested in an on-premises PBX, as well. Therefore, the question of whether to choose Dash or SIP Trunking is less about functionality and more about the existing telephone system that any particular company is already using. If it’s a proprietary, physical system, they should look into SIP Trunking, otherwise, Dash is most likely right for them.

Are there any downsides to using SIP Trunking to combine on-site and cloud-based communications?
Definitly. Just like with all telecom solutions, there are pros and cons associated with SIP Trunking. Primarily, there will always remain the fact that by relying on physical hardware for a portion of the overall telephone functionality, that hardware will eventually require costly maintenance and hardware replacements or updates. Additionally, by introducing a hosted voice element into a business that has traditionally been exclusively relying on copper-wires for their voice traffic, that also puts a new burden on the network the business uses. Both of these issues are easily addressed in that the hardware can be amortized as the investment depreciates until such time that a SIP Trunking system can be transitioned fully into an end-to-end hosted PBX solution. Also, the network requirements for any hosted platform can be quickly diagnosed and optimized with services like a Network Health Check or VPN for VoIP Service which is unlike any other service available in that it can actually be used by any business anywhere, regardless of who their telecom provider is.

Is there anything else anyone would need to know about SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX
Ha, well there is always more to know about the topic of hosted telecommunications but I’d suggest the most important takeaways are these.

  • SIP Trunking isn’t outside of the world of hosted PBX, it’s just a cost-effective method to bridge physical PBX systems to the cloud.
  • Switching to SIP Trunking typically means that businesses need to find a telecom partner with the ability to diagnose network thresholds for optimum performance.
  • SIP Trunking is also mostly ideal for larger companies and can be most cost-effective at a greater scale.

The most important thing to remember, though, is like all telecom questions, the idea that one-size will always fit all is way off base. I always recommend that people looking to switch to a new telephone system for their business connect with experts in the field to work with them in assessing their true needs and the most value-packed route to address them.

Get Your Own Assessment

You can begin your own journey into leveraging SIP Trunking or Dash VoIP for your business today with a free, no-obligation business communications assessment today. Simply contact our telephony experts and we’ll make an appointment to help illuminate all of the options that make the most sense for you, your business, and your budget! And as always, remember to give us your thoughts on the KP360 blog on Twitter or Facebook, and we always welcome your questions for the next installment in the all-new KP360 blog!

KP360 – What You Don’t Know About VoIP Phones, But Should

kp360 what you don't know about voip phones

You’ve got questions, KP’s got answers. Kevin Peyton is, on the surface, the Vice President of Sales at VirtualPBX, but digging a little deeper reveals so much more. An expert in everything from hosted telecom to competitive roller-skating (seriously) and everything between, Kevin fields whatever we throw at him, so we thought we’d let you have a shot. The gauntlet has been thrown, welcome to KP360!

What You Don’t Know About VoIP Phones, But Should

VoIP Phones look just like a regular phone, what’s the difference?

That’s not where the similarities end, either. The service and reliability of VoIP is something you expect any telephone would have, too. The difference is that the sound transmissions from an older telephone rely on a long wired connection that is vulnerable to disconnection and disruption. A VoIP phone is connected the same way as all of your internet-ready devices and sound travels over the internet in secure paths that are customizable and more cost-effective than their copper-wired predecessors.

Okay, so what’s the difference between all of the various VoIP Phones and why should I care?

Like most modern office telephones, VoIP phones come in all types from basic function to the “floor model” level of fanciness. Determining which phone is right for you comes down to the same things that you should consider for any business purchase. The size of your company will determine the number of ring groups or extensions you’ll need, call volume (and how you field it all) is a consideration, and of course, how much you want to spend is a critical component, too. Phones with full LCD screens are aesthetically quite pleasing but they also provide a more organized view of inbound, parked, or transferred calls in addition to looking boss. For companies with a fairly static workforce, expandability isn’t as important as having a few quick transfer buttons, perhaps. And for teams who are more cost-conscious than others, we extend our industry savings to customers on all our recommended phones in addition to extra savings on refurbished phones, too.

But I just bought a cool office phone, can I just use an adapter for it?

Sure, you can! We’ve found some great deals on adapters that we’re happy to pass along. What you’ll need to remember is that like any cost-saving measure, there will be a trade. In the instance of avoiding a new VoIP phone purchase in lieu of an adapter is that none of the fancy features you have on your analog phone will be functional on your new hosted telephone service.

If VoIP is so flexible and mobile and all that jazz, why do I even need a physical phone?

Well, technically you can use just about any phone, or no phone at all, even. Let’s say you want to just field calls when you’re at your laptop or desktop, if that’s the case you can just use the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone that lets you do all of the work you need to do from any computer. Plus, as a fine compliment to your telephone toolbox, you can also just use the VirtualPBX Softphone App that’s available to download for free in the Apple App Store or on Google Play on your mobile phone or tablet. Or, because Dash from VirtualPBX can work with basically any device you want, you can leverage your data connection to use VoIP from basically anywhere.

Stay Tuned For More

That’s it for the first installment of KP360, we hope you learned something! Remember, though, KP360 is more than just a serial blog post, it’s a way of life that’s happening every single day. Make sure to touch base with us and Kevin online by giving a shout out on Twitter or Facebook, and remember to send us your questions for the next installment in the all-new KP360 blog!