As employees start returning to the office, Konftel UK Sales Director Jeff May explains why now is a good time for resellers to capture more conferencing sales
The world of work has been turned on its head over the last 12 months with the ‘work from home’ explosion – but the first steps to a phased return to the office are now underway.
Jeff May, UK Sales Director at collaboration and conferencing specialist Konftel, says hybrid working, where people work remotely as well as back with colleagues, is here to stay, bringing great opportunities for resellers.
“Our working world has undergone dramatic changes over the last year, with video and audio conferencing playing a frontline role. Now, with the vaccination roll-out appearing to go well, organisations need to start preparing for people to return to offices in a limited way – whilst also ensuring they have high quality equipment to continue WFH.”
May added: “It’s a great time to be working in the industry with new reseller opportunities continually being created and innovative technologies to expand their portfolios.”
May says that pre-Covid the market for conferencing equipment was already growing at 20% per annum as businesses adopted collaboration technologies to save time, cut costs and reduce their environmental impact.
“These tools enabled immediate access to people and the information needed to make timely informed decisions, and all businesses in every sector were using them in some form or other,” he said.
“In 2020 demand went through the roof and many vendors sold out, restocked and sold out several times. We all had to work and meet online. From 5% of people working remotely in 2019, it was 90% in 2020. Virtually all business-critical meetings were conducted remotely. And, critically, it wasn’t just a short-term change; it is a permanent change, a new way of working for many.”
May points out that the Association of Global Travel Agents believes it will take three years for business travel to return to anything like the same level as before, if it ever does, with businesses conducting many more collaboration meetings instead.
How big are the opportunities?
As companies prepare for a hybrid working future, many are expected to invest more in collaboration assets and increase the number of meeting spaces and rooms in their offices. On this basis, independent studies predict the market for conferencing equipment will keep growing by 50% or more each year.
May expects businesses to invest more in remote workers too.
“Remote working is here to stay for many, and that means on-going and increased investment in the right tools. There isn’t any bigger sector sales opportunity right now in our industry,” he said.
“Consider how many people have been working from home this last year – many millions. How did they cope? Perhaps a laptop and a mobile phone initially, a panic buy of a headset or a webcam – the cheapest they could get as a temporary fix. Twelve months on, those quick fixes are being replaced by quality, professional alternatives for the long haul. Professional-quality cameras, so we can make the best impression; Bluetooth and USB speakers, so we can be heard – and heard clearly, so our important messages are communicated and understood correctly. All this for many thousands of panic buys represents thousands of new customer sales.”
Time to expand your offering
With businesses facing a growing requirement to equip remote workers with the right tools and to kit out extra meeting rooms, now is a great time for resellers to expand their offering to meet this demand and, in the process, to provide additional value to existing customers and an attractive proposition for new ones.
For May, Konftel is the obvious choice for resellers to partner with, for many reasons.
“We developed the world’s first ever conference phone 32 years ago, up in the very north of Sweden; our heritage in collaboration is unrivalled, so we know this space; we have one of the widest, if not the widest portfolio of any vendor – it’s award-winning, it is quality and reliable and, critically, it is simple to use, so customers keep using it; and, finally, just as important, it is great value for money for end customers, whilst offering great margin for the channel,” he said.
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