Closing the Deal with Zero-Percent Financing

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

IT communications solution provider Cynnex Networks provided Wolfgang Puck Coffee with all the unified communications features it wanted at a net savings of $9,000 over three years. Here's how zero-percent financing helped close the deal.

Here's how to sell a unified communications system: hard cost savings over three years, $40,000; total price for system, services and support, $31,000. Throw in zero-percent financing and the deal is a no-brainer.

That's what Ryan Halper, founder of Cynnex Networks, an IT unified communications solutions provider specializing in small business, found when customer Wolfgang Puck Coffee was looking to improve the integration between the phone systems of its two offices, one in Seattle and the other in Orange County, Calif.

Because while unified communications offers many features that executives and users really like, when it comes to laying out the cash those wallets just may stay closed. Factor in attractive ROI and their grip may loosen a bit. Tell them they don't need to pay the cash up front and the wallet is likely to open.

"Zero-percent financing made the decision instantaneous," Halper says.

Cynnex had already installed Cisco Systems phones in the Wolfgang Puck Coffee's main office in Seattle, making the company an early adopter of hosted VOIP (voice over IP). But the second location still ran with a legacy voice and data environment, and the company wanted to make the two offices work better together.

Cynnex deployed Cisco's UC 500 and 700 series IP phones and integrated them to provide some of the sophisticated communications capability that Wolfgang Puck Coffee had requested. The company, which serves the hospitality industry and hotels with its estate-grown coffee brand, employed about five customer service representatives in its small in-house call center. The new system gave them automatic call distribution that queued up callers who were on hold and sent overflow calls down to the California office.

The system also enabled extension dialing between the two offices and provided conferencing capabilities and features such as integrated messaging between voice mail and the company's IMAP e-mail.

"VOIP doesn't always represent a cost savings, but in Wolfgang Puck Coffee's case it had a positive financial ROI," Halper says. "They saved a lot of money and got a much more robust communications platform."

Halper says the $40,000 saved over three years came from reduced telecommunications costs paid to carriers. That estimate did not include any savings from improved productivity or better collaboration.

The zero-percent financing, provided by Cisco for the entire package of hardware, software, services and support, put Wolfgang Puck Coffee's monthly leasing bill at about $1,000 a month, which was more than paid for by the monthly telecom savings.

Halper, whose company also offers wireless networking solutions to multihousing customers, tells Channel Insider that he has seen a stronger interest among end customers in IT communications solutions since Cisco extended its zero-percent financing offer in January.

"It's not going to be the single defining reason why someone is going to buy from you," he says. "I still need to win in all the areas where I normally and historically would have won. But it does give me an upper hand at the moment of purchasing."

Halper notes that while Cisco for the last three years has offered zero-percent financing off and on for particular SKUs, it was never available for everything. But as of a month ago, the company "opened the floodgates for it," Halper says.

"It's now available for every Cisco product, service and support offering," he says. "That's huge. There are now a number of deals on the table that I will certainly be much better positioned to win with that in my tool bag."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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