With a Big Assist from ZINFI and Its Partner Portal, Tele-Plus Successfully Launches UNIVERGE BLUE® Cloud Services Offering
In just a few months, Tele-Plus sales team closes on approximately 15 new hosted telephony packages that will produce ongoing revenue for years to comeDownload Success Story PDF »
Originally established as a home-based telecommunications and telephony business in 1977 in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, Tele-Plus Corporation now operates out of its Hagerstown, Maryland headquarters, offering a complete line of products and services solutions in telecommunications, data management, networking, security, life and property protection, workspace enhancement, digital signage and more. Tele-Plus serves approximately 7,300 customers across the four-state region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Washington, DC.
Tele-Plus has offered on-premise telephony products to businesses, municipalities, health care organizations, churches and other customers for years. In 2021, Tele-Plus began developing plans to launch its first hosted telephony offering, UNIVERGE BLUE®—a comprehensive suite of cloud services including integrated phone system, video conferencing, messaging, virtual events, contact center and more.
Frank Guthrie, VP of Business Development & Sales at Tele-Plus, was excited about the new cloud-based offering. “We’ve traditionally been an on-premise telephone services supplier,” says Guthrie. “The main challenge for us was getting the word out to the customer that we now offer hosted services.” But Guthrie also wanted to be sure his salespeople were able to present the new solution to prospects in a way that made its benefits crystal clear. “It was important to launch it with professionalism,” he says, noting that UNIVERGE BLUE had the potential to generate significant recurring revenue for the company.
The answer to this challenge turned out to be partner portal technology from ZINFI, a leading provider of channel management automation software. ZINFI provides businesses around the world with software and services for partner relationship management, partner marketing management, partner portal management and more. The partner portal enables partners of OEMs and other businesses selling through the channel to market and sell solutions more effectively and more efficiently. OEMs use ZINFI partner portal technology to communicate directly with their partners and to support them in their marketing and sales activities. The portal comes with a comprehensive set of powerful marketing tools, as well as an extensive documents library customized to specific partners and partner types—including a variety of co-brandable assets for particular products.
Identifying and co-branding appropriate marketing materials was the primary focus for Tele-Plus as it prepared for its launch of UNIVERGE BLUE. Guthrie and a colleague participated in a brief training session with ZINFI, which was conveniently timed to coincide with the launch. “The gentleman who trained us did a fantastic job,” says Guthrie. “He was very professional, very informative, and the training we received was more than we expected. He taught us a lot about navigating through the partner portal, and was quite the asset to our marketing efforts.”
Being able to quickly download and co-brand pertinent and professionally produced marketing collateral and sales slicks made an immediate difference for the Tele-Plus sales team as they began informing prospects and existing customers about the new hosted offering, says Guthrie. “Once we’ve gotten in the door and used the assets we got off the partner portal to market with, we’ve been able to use the material as one-pagers and leave-behinds, and we’ve been able to do quite well on selling the platform. I think the sales staff quickly gained confidence in the materials from the portal. They were professional, well put-together, easy to understand and easy to explain to our customers. It created that confidence in the sales team to go out there and push this new product.”
According to Guthrie, since Tele-Plus launched UNIVERGE BLUE a few months ago its sales reps have provided quotes to around “50 or 60” prospects, and they have already sold 13 to 15 UNIVERGE packages, ranging from 4 to 12 phones each. This activity has already generated approximately $12,000 in monthly recurring revenue and $20,000 to $30,000 up front. Guthrie expects even more sales from quotes that are already out there.
“It’s been a good process for us,” he says. “We lead with the co-branded materials we have downloaded and co-branded from the partner portal. The materials are professional, well put-together, easy to understand, and easy to explain to our customers.” Having a readily available arsenal of quality marketing assets has been decisive. The portal was “really the vehicle that allowed us to launch the product,” says Guthrie. “It was very exciting for us. Without it, I’m not sure what we would have done. We’re very appreciative.”
Looking forward, Guthrie anticipates expanding Tele-Plus’s use of the ZINFI-powered partner portal. “We’re not experts, and there are probably a lot of tools in the ZINFI platform we’re not aware of…. I’m sure there are many more features we could use. We need to be a little more aggressive in learning more about what the partner portal can offer us.”
In the meantime, would Guthrie recommend the technology to other companies? “Without a doubt,” he says. Tele-Plus began using the partner portal “so we could launch it like professionals, and it did that for us.”
At a Glance
Headquarters: 916 Eldridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740-6842
Vertical: Networking, protection and communication services
Solutions: Fire alarm, security/intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, telecommunications, data communication, network cabling systems, IT services and more
Solutions Offered Using ZINFI Platform: UNIVERGE BLUE®, a hosted telephony solution
Number of Employees: 42 total; 5 external sales, 2 internal sales
- After decades of selling on-premise telecommunications systems to thousands of loyal customers, Tele-Plus was preparing to launch its first hosted offering, UNIVERGE BLUE, and needed to generate awareness among customers and prospects
- Co-branded marketing and sales assets downloaded from the OEM’s partner portal, an integral part of ZINFI’s channel marketing automation platform for companies marketing and selling via a partner network
- In just a few months, Tele-Plus sold an estimated 13-15 UNIVERGE BLUE packages–representing about $12,000 in new monthly revenue—along with nearly $30,000 in upfront revenue
Since 1977, Tele-Plus has been committed to providing innovative communication, protection alarm, network cabling products and maintenance services to business and residential customer. These include Fire Alarm, Security/Intrusion Detection, Access Control, Video Surveillance, Telecommunications, Data Communication, Network Cabling Systems and IT Services. Our professionalism and reliability are a few reasons why many top-tier firms have chosen us as their source for these products and services. Our team goes through extensive research and training to assure our customers are utilizing the most advanced and cost-effective solutions available. Our experience ensures confidence in everything we design, propose, implement and service. For more information, visit www.telepluscorp.com.
About ZINFI Technologies
ZINFI Technologies, Inc., the leader in Unified Channel Management (UCM) innovation, enables vendors and their channel partners to achieve profitable growth predictably and rapidly on a worldwide level. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, USA and founded by channel veterans with extensive global channel management experience, we at ZINFI see an immense opportunity to build high-performing sales channels by deploying an easy-to-use, comprehensive and innovative state-of-the-art SaaS Unified Channel Management automation platform that streamlines and manages the entire partner lifecycle through three core state-of-the-art SaaS applications—partner relationship management, channel marketing management and channel sales management. In 26 countries, these three core UCM SaaS applications are locally supported by ZINFI’s global marketing services team members.
For more information about ZINFI’s Unified Channel Management platform, please visit our website at www.zinfi.com. You can also follow ZINFI Technologies on LinkedIn and at the ZINFI Channel Marketing Best Practices blog.