9 VoIP Benefits and Drawbacks for Remote Sales Teams

First arriving on the scene in 1995, VoIP has been around almost as long as the internet – but it’s only in the last decade or so that VoIP’s popularity has truly taken off.

Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic  which led companies scrambling to set their sales teams up to work remotely, VoIP systems have quickly become essential for business communication. 

Below, we’re offering a balanced take on VoIP and the impact it can have on your business and remote teams. We’ll explain what VoIP is and how it works, then dive into its top 5 advantages and disadvantages for your remote sales team.

What is VoIP, and How Does it Work?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is a technology that allows you to make calls over the internet, rather than via traditional phone lines. No copper wire or telephone jacks are required, just a power supply and an internet connection.

So how does VoIP work?

Well, when you speak into a VoIP device (such as your smartphone or computer), it breaks your voice down into digital data. This data is then further chopped up into ‘packets’ (tiny units of information), and transmitted via the internet or an IP network. At the recipient’s end, that data is reconverted into audio, allowing them to hear your voice, facilitating a conversation.

VoIP Call Process
VoIP Call Process

The 5 Top Benefits of VoIP for Remote Sales Teams

Through their wealth of features, integration with the software you use every day, and affordable pricing, VoIP phone systems can save you time and money – all while empowering your remote sales team to be more productive, and more rewarded at work.

But how? Let’s take a look at our top 5 VoIP benefits:

1. VoIP Cuts Call Costs – Domestically and Internationally

Having your sales teams work remotely is already a big cost-saver. You don’t, after all, have to spend big on office space, catered lunches, or in-person team-building events.

However, if your remote sales team is still relying on clunky, analog phone systems, those savings are being canceled out.

The solution? Switching to VoIP.

Because VoIP systems use the internet rather than traditional phone lines  to transmit calls, they’re far more affordable than their analog counterparts. What’s more, VoIP doesn’t require any of the unwieldy (and costly) equipment PBX (Private Branch eXchange) phones do.

Take international calls, for example. According to The Federal Communications Commission, international landline calls cost between $1.50 and $3.50 per minute. Through VoIP, however, calls to overseas numbers cost less than a dollar a minute – so they’re ideal if your remote sales team does business beyond borders.

Better still, because most VoIP providers offer unlimited or flat-rate calling plans, they’ll not only reduce your per-minute call costs, but also wrap all your business’s calls up into a single, transparent monthly phone bill that’s easier to read.

The exact savings you’ll see when you trade up your old phone system for a VoIP one are up for debate. Some sources claim businesses see average savings of between 50% and 75%; other research has found that VoIP can save new businesses up to a staggering 90% of all their communication costs.

The bottom line? That as a business, your bottom line is vital. And VoIP can help you boost it!

Best VoIP Devices
Best VoIP Devices

2. VoIP Saves Your Time and Automates Manual Tasks

When you switch to a VoIP system, it’s not only money you’ll save – but time, too.

By drawing together voice, video, and messaging into a single platform, VoIP allows your entire sales team to communicate through whichever method they’re most comfortable with wherever they are in the world, without having to switch between different applications.

VoIP systems also come with a huge range of features that can save your remote sales team time. Call routing, for instance – which automatically redirects calls to the right individual or department – reduces the need for manual call transfers. While visual voicemail – which transcribes audio voicemail messages into text – allows your employees to quickly scan and prioritize incoming messages to save time.

The statistics agree. One source reports that small businesses save an average of over half an hour (32 minutes) per day with VoIP, while another claims that VoIP can give mobile workers up to 40 minutes of lost time back – every day.

Artificial Intelligence and VoIP
Artificial Intelligence and VoIP

3. VoIP Integrates Your Calls With Your CRM Software

Another VoIP benefit is how seamlessly it slots into the processes and platforms your remote sales team uses every day.

Take your CRM software system, for example.

With an analog system, your sales team chews up hours having to manually add details about leads, customers, and call notes into your CRM. It’s easy to miss important calls, to forget their key details, and to perform below peak in vital sales conversations (simply because you’re so focused on taking notes in them).

VoIP systems, however, remove these bugbears from the equation by integrating with your CRM software. By eliminating the need to search separate systems for the data your team needs, you save time; and, by utilizing VoIP’s call recording and transcription features, reduce the amount of time you spend taking notes. Better still, you can use these recordings and transcriptions to train new staff going forward.

Advantage of VoIP and CRM Integration
Advantage of VoIP and CRM Integration

4. VoIP Gives You More Data – at Your Fingertips

When it comes to understanding and growing your business, access to the right data is crucial.

One of VoIP’s benefits is that it provides the latest, most relevant insights into your remote sales team’s progress and performance. From analyzing individual calls to evaluating wider long-term trends, VoIP’s data-driven approach allows your reporting efforts to be as granular, or as broad, as you like.

For example, VoIP systems generate detailed logs for every call your remote sales team makes or receives. By getting to grips with this data which includes call duration, caller and recipient IDs, timestamps, and more – you’ll get useful insights into peak calling times, call volume, and call patterns.

You can even generate customizable reports, from a centralized online dashboard, that allow you to dive even deeper; crunching the numbers of your team’s call abandonment rates, call response times, and call outcome data.

VoIP Data Includes:

VoIP Data to Help Improve Your Campaigns
VoIP Data to Help Improve Your Campaigns

5. Cultivate a Happier, More Productive Sales Team

VoIP makes for a happier sales team because it’s a remote-friendly solution. Most VoIP providers offer an app for mobile (as well as desktop) devices, meaning your remote team members can make calls from wherever they are, however they choose.

This cuts out their commute, giving them more time to spend with their family and loved ones at the beginning, middle, and end of each working day. With this renewed work-life balance, your team members will be happier – and the link between employee happiness and productivity is well established.

But there’s another reason VoIP can improve your remote sales team’s productivity – and it links to the increased access to data these systems offer. 

We’re talking, here, about VoIP’s call recording feature. We mentioned this VoIP benefit earlier in terms of saving time, but it also has another purpose – quality control.

By regularly reviewing your team members’ sales calls, you can learn more about each salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses – identifying what they’re good at, and where they can improve. Sales managers can then use this information to help team members work individually, and collaboratively, with each team member to help them become even better sellers – and reward them for what they’re already doing well.

Motivated sales team members that feel rewarded, know what they’re good at, and know exactly where their room for improvement lies? Sounds like the recipe for a productive sales team.

Happy and Productive Sales Team with VoIP
Happy and Productive Sales Team with VoIP

The 5 Biggest Drawbacks of VoIP for Remote Sales Teams

Though we barely scratched the surface of VoIP’s myriad of benefits for remote sales teams, we’ve recapped five VoIP drawbacks.

1. VoIP is Totally Dependent on the Internet

Just as VoIP’s reliance on the internet (rather than traditional phone lines) is good for businesses, it also has a downside: if the internet goes down, your telephone system does, too.

And it’s not only direct outages that can stop or stymie your sales team. VoIP relies on a stable, high-speed internet connection to function. If your remote employees don’t have access to this – even temporarily – then dropped calls, poor call quality, or interrupted communications could become the norm.

Some of the ways in which insufficient bandwidth or subpar connectivity can manifest in a VoIP call include:

2. VoIP Comes With Security Threats and Concerns

Another of VoIP’s drawbacks? As we’ve seen, it depends on the internet – and,  the internet isn’t always the safest of places.

Hackers, fraudsters, and bad actors patrol our online spaces – and around 2,200 cyberattacks take place every day. Websites are usually the target; but unfortunately, VoIP systems are vulnerable to these same online security threats. These include:

Sample phishing attacks
Sample phishing attacks

Phishing attacks – in which a scammer sends a bogus email impersonating a legitimate brand, attempting to entice the recipient to click – can make a VoIP system vulnerable to cyber threat.

No VoIP system will ever be completely immune to these threats – but there are plenty of things you and your remote sales team can do to mitigate them. Multi-factor authentication, firewalls, strong passwords, regular software updates, and robust intrusion detection systems will all help.

Equally important, though, is employee training. Educate your staff (particularly your remote teams) as to what phishing attempts look like, and explain why vigilance around passwords and device security is paramount.

Security breaches also increase the risk of damaging brand reputation. Taking the precautions outlined above will help maintain your business’ healthy online reputation.

3. VoIP Service is Reliant on the Provider – and Not All Are Reliable

Another of VoIP’s key disadvantages? That it doesn’t just place your remote sales team at the mercy of the internet, but on the reliability of your VoIP provider.

And of course, not all VoIP providers are created equal.

In terms of uptime, some VoIP companies are more dependable than others, with certain providers being more prone to outages and technical issues. So before you settle on one VoIP system for your remote sales team, do your research and compare and contrast the uptime percentages of each.

4. VoIP Can Still Be Expensive

While a VoIP system can and does cut operational costs (particularly when compared to a traditional phone system), it’s not always cheap.

For one, your VoIP system may still require specific hardware and equipment (such as IP phones or headsets) to ensure the productivity of your remote sales team. Secondly, VoIP providers tend to offer their services as part of a tiered pricing plan – offering packages that add features and functionality as they increase in price.

What this means is that, if you want to unlock access to some of VoIP’s finest features – including call recording, call routing, call transcription, visual voicemail, and detailed call analytics – you’ll generally have to pay more. (How much this is, precisely, will depend on the VoIP provider you select).

In addition, VoIP providers are SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) companies – so they typically operate on a subscription billing model.

While this allows you to avoid the hefty upfront outlay required with a traditional PBX phone system – and instead spread the cost out over months and years – the overall costs can still be higher depending on how advanced the plan you pick is.

Different VoIP providers
Different VoIP providers

Key Takeaways for VoIP for Remote Sales Teams

Like all business communication tools, VoIP systems come with both advantages and disadvantages.

While they can slash your costs compared to traditional phone systems, some providers can still be expensive. 

Small business owners with financial constraints may need to seek outside funding to afford a VoIP system. 

While VoIP’s features can revolutionize how your remote sales team works, those features will also cost you more money. 

And, while VoIP’s use of the internet is what enables faster, cheaper calling, it also makes it vulnerable to call quality issues and power outages.

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Edgar Abong

Edgar is a skilled software developer with a passion for building and evaluating software products. His expertise in software development enables him to provide in-depth evaluations of software products. He can draw out insights about features, functionality and user experience.

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