Telephony distributor Catalyst Telecom on Friday told solution providers attending its BusinessPartner Conference 2003 here it is rolling out new tools to help them sell more converged communications solutions.
Catalyst Telecom, a unit of specialty distributor ScanSource, plans to launch Catalyst System Central, a new software package for tracking factory orders of Avaya's enterprise IP telephony products, said John Black, president of Catalyst Telecom, Greenville, S.C.
The tool is in beta testing now and should be available to solution providers this month, he said.
To help solution providers target IP telephony solutions at vertical markets, Catalyst Telecom recently launched Solution City, a Web-based knowledge center partners can access to learn about a variety of vertical markets, including health care, education, government, retail, finance and professional services, such as legal and accounting.
"This is a resource for you to go to that has executive overviews, tells you the language they speak, the issues that are important to them," Black said. "If you're better prepared for this vertical market call, you'll outperform your competition."
In the future, the tool will also include material to help solution providers target utilities, the hospitality industry and manufacturing.
"This is going to help our guys go in and take a look at some of the buzzwords and key things [vertical market customers] are interested in," said Scott Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Communications, a solution provider in Lake City, Fla. "It's sort of like cramming for a test."
Catalyst Telecom developed Solution City by sitting down with people in the different vertical markets to find out what problems they face, what terminology they use, who the decision-makers are and what questions solution providers should ask potential customers, said Farrar Pittman, vice president of sales and marketing at Catalyst Telecom.
"The days of making good margins on just selling hardware are gone. You have to be that consultative salesperson," she said.