Communications provider Mitel has made it a strategic priority to focus on customer lifecycle management (CLM) principles to ensure its customers are getting full value from their investments in its technology.
For Mitel, this is a key initiative as CLM in unified communication (UC) is important in making sure customers are maximizing business value and, at the same time, future proofing themselves. Hybrid work has shifted UC requirements in favor of collaboration platforms that connect people who are dispersed across many remote locations.
The process that organizations must go through to update their UC stack to meet these changing requirements is quite complex. This is where CLM comes in—it helps organizations link their goals with the UC technology they’re adopting or upgrading.
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Evaluating UC Providers on CLM Capabilities
A 2022 market report from IDC found that digital communications that facilitates today’s hybrid work needs to support a wider variety of use cases. Since every organization is at a different stage of digital transformation, each company’s technology needs are unique. CLM plays a key role in the selection process because it guides organizations in choosing a suitable stack based on their needs. This typically happens in four phases, according to IDC.
- The first phase in CLM is to understand current usage and determine if an organization needs software assurance (SwA) or whether it’s time to upgrade its UC systems.
- The second phase is to explore different solutions and identify potential challenges. This includes looking at different deployment scenarios that can meet the needs of both today and long-term.
- In the third phase, organizations must develop a plan for deploying and installing the systems, as well as integrating them into their infrastructure.
- Phase four involves driving adoption by rolling out the systems, then providing training and support to the users.
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Partners Play a Critical Role in CLM Success
A vital part of CLM is to work closely with reseller partners, who have a deep understanding of the market and a close relationship with customers.
In its report, IDC recommends having partners reach out to customers, so vendors can focus on developing their UC software stacks. UC solution providers can collaborate closely with partners by sharing customer data and training partners to act more like consultants, rather than just selling and reselling the UC systems. For partners, this is a great opportunity to leverage vendor insights and add even more value to their relationship with the customer.
Mitel has made deepening its channel relationships a core tenet of its CLM strategy. The provider of UC business solutions works with partners on joint strategic planning, marketing campaigns, and shared analytics and insights. Approximately 90 percent of Mitel’s businesses is indirect, where partners are involved, so having its partners follow CLM practices creates multiplicative value for the company.
“We’re helping provide our partners with all the campaigns, content, and promotions. We’re finding with many of our partners, that they’re pretty engaged on CLM and they’re talking to their customers every day,” said Daren Finney, Senior VP of Global Channel Sales at Mitel, in an interview with ZK Research.
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Data Analytics: Insights to Refine CLM initiatives
Mitel uses data and analytics to help partners determine where specific customers might be in their lifecycle management journey.
For example, the data might show that a customer would benefit from shifting to software subscription or migrating to a new solution like unified communications as a service (UCaaS). In fact, Mitel is offering UCaaS through its partnership with RingCentral, as part of its CLM strategy.
The other aspect of Mitel’s CLM strategy is providing partners with programs that reward both the partners and the customers. In addition to offering various incentives to customers, Mitel has a global program, where partners earn points and accreditation. Depending on the level they reach by collecting points—silver, gold, or platinum—the partners get compensated with discounts and rewards.
“We’re hearing from partners and customers that no one is talking in the UC space about CLM,” Finney said. “So, we’re making a conscious effort to do that – that’s where we’re going to continue to focus.”