Easy to sell, easy to install, easy to support: why the 3CX IP PBX is ideal for technology resellers
Software-based IP PBX supplier 3CX is the fastest growing UC vendor in the marketplace and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, CEO Nick Galea has stated that 3CX will be one of the top five PBXs globally in the next 3 years.
In order to achieve this, 3CX is dependent on its growing network of resellers, as, unlike some competitors, it only sells through the channel. It currently has about 2,000 active partners in the UK, of which 45 are Platinum partners.
3CX UK Channel Manager Paul Clarke told Technology Reseller that because 3CX is effectively just another application on the network, it attracts resellers from across the spectrum.
“We have a vast cross-section of partners,” he said. “We’ve got IT companies that use 3CX to put voice into an existing customer and ring-fence that customer completely; we’ve got legacy telephony guys who realise they have to make the transition to IP; and we have people who are already selling IP-based solutions and recognise it makes sense to add voice. If you are an IP security company that might already do a customer’s alarms, remote monitoring and CCTV, voice is an obvious next step.”
Clarke points out that for technology resellers that are new to voice, 3CX is a very attractive proposition, both for its qualities as a product and for the strength of the 3CX partner programme.
3CX is a software-based, open standards IP PBX that is designed to be very easy to sell, very easy to use and very easy to implement.
As standard, it offers complete Unified Communications functionality out of the box, including Presence, collaboration tools and WebRTC-based video conferencing.
In addition, 3CX offers a professional version with extra functionality, such as a hotel phone system with essential features like check-in/checkout, wake up calls and billing. Once again, these are available ‘out of the box’ at no extra cost.
This, says Clarke, makes it very easy for resellers to produce quotes for customers.
“With our licensing model, we don’t charge for features; the customer just buys the appropriate licence and the number of simultaneous calls they need. That’s it. This makes it very easy for resellers to provide a customer with a quote,” he said. In addition to the PBX, softphones and smartphone apps for iOS and Android provide customers with complete mobility.
“We’ve got a web client, which lets me enter an internet café, put in a link and access my phone system. Through the presence screen, I have complete visibility of everyone on the PBX, with all functionality replicated on my mobile device. It’s a cliché, but your mobile device lets you take your office anywhere. I can be anywhere in the world, log in with my mobile app, dial a number and it will present with an 0203 number,” explained Clarke.
3CX is also very secure, earning an ‘A+’ rating from SSL Labs, and comes with a raft of security measures built-in, such as the ability to prevent calls to certain countries.
“So that partners don’t have to, 3CX provides SSL certificates and a managed FQDN (fully qualified domain name), 3cx.com, which provides a secure method of connecting to web meetings and remote extensions. For example, if I am Paul Clarke Communications, 3CX will supply paulclarkecommunications.3cx.com as my domain name. A partner could use their own FQDN if they wanted, but for simplicity this is something that 3CX provides,” said Clarke.
3CX is a true multi-platform solution able to be deployed on-site, on Windows or Linux, or in the cloud, either the reseller’s own private cloud or one of 3CX’s supported cloud offerings, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and OVH.
Being open platform, it can work with a huge range of IP phones and SIP trunks, which means there’s no vendor lock-in for resellers. 3CX does have supported kit and VoIP providers, but if a partner’s device of choice is not on the supported list, there is a good chance it will work.
Clarke’s advice: “If you want to use a device we don’t support, see if you can get it to do what you want it to do.”
That said, he points out that most UK partners use supported devices for added reassurance, especially as 3CX expects partners to provide first-line technical support.
“If something goes wrong that you don’t know how to fix and you are using a supported VoIP provider or supported device, 3CX will troubleshoot that problem end-to-end. If you are using an unsupported device, all 3CX can do is prove it isn’t the phone system that’s at fault,” he said.
3CX’s ease of use extends to the partner programme, which, as Clarke explains, has been designed to give partners everything they need with no financial outlay up front.
“When someone becomes a partner, we give them two ‘not for resale’ license keys, with all the bells and whistles, for them to play with. They can deploy it on Windows, on Linux, in the cloud or on a $150 mini-appliance, so it’s not expensive. And, having two keys, they can deploy one locally and one in the cloud to see how that works, or one on Windows and one on Linux,” he said.
Resellers also benefit from free sales and technical training via the 3CX academy, a series of video tutorials split into three modules – basic, intermediate and advanced. In addition, 3CX holds regular webinars on new features and provides free technical support, which includes help with a partner’s first deployment.
Once a quarter, 3CX goes around the UK and delivers intermediate and advanced training in person, at no cost to partners.
Clarke added: “All of the sales and marketing collateral we use internally we make available to partners through the partner portal, so they have everything they need when they see a customer and for their website. Because we are 100% channel-focused, partners also get the possibility of leads via their 3CX portal and a dedicated account manager (depends on partner level).”
An additional attraction for resellers is 3CX’s free licence key, which can help resellers win new business.
“We carry the burden of the licence fee, which means a partner can deploy a free key for their customers, taking away the initial cost of the PBX and potentially helping them to get a customer on board. The reseller can still charge for installation, support, hosting and periphery services, so once the customer is on board, they benefit from a recurring revenue stream,” explained Clarke.
3CX has been offering a free licence key for years, but in March, as part of a strategy to disrupt the market, it added more features to the free key, making it a Standard edition licence.
“At any period, the customer can upgrade that key. If they do nothing, then the key will remain free for the foreseeable future. This is all a relatively small customer might need, in which case the partner can still get recurring revenue for supporting it,” Clarke said.
Tiered partner programme
March also saw a simplification of the 3CX partner programme, with the move from a points-based to a revenue-based system. Instead of earning points from selling different types of licence, the new system is based purely on the RRP value of the 3CX solution sold, even if it is bought at a discounted rate.
“The partner programme is incredibly simple; you join as an Academy partner, after which it is tiered – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – by revenue and certification,” explained Clarke. “To be a bronze partner you need to have completed the basic certification and you need to have accrued a minimum of £625 in a quarter. If you do £1,000, you will have done enough to be a bronze partner but not enough to be a silver partner, in which case we take £625 from the balance and carry £375 over into the following quarter.”
He added: “Once you get to be a bronze partner, we will promote you on our website, so you have the possibility of getting sales leads. I know from platinum partners that being listed as a platinum partner is very, very beneficial.”
To find out more about how 3CX can help you generate an additional recurring revenue stream, please visit
At a Glance: What you get with 3CX Unified Communications
Out of the Box
3CX includes a full suite of unified communications features without the need for additional downloads, add-ons or purchases. This includes WebRTCbased video conferencing via an open standards browser or through iOS/Android clients and useful productivity features such as Presence, corporate chat, whiteboard and screensharing.
The most advanced and up to date security protocols and technologies are integrated into 3CX, including IP blacklisting, SRTP encryption, automatic detection of SIP attack tools, provisioning of phones through HTTPS, SSL connectivity and an A+ rating from SSL Labs.
Seamless app integration
3CX integrates easily with popular CRM applications like Salesforce, Google Contacts and Office 365, enabling time-saving call pop-ups and journals. In addition, the 3CX ClicktoCall Chrome extension allows users to dial numbers from any website or CRM system by clicking on the highlighted phone number.
Portability with softphones and apps
Softphones for Windows and Mac and smartphone clients for iOS and Android work seamlessly with the Web Client, enabling users to make and receive calls, view the presence of colleagues, schedule conferences, take part in web meetings, transfer calls and more, even when away from the office.