Vertical Communications - Can They Succeed Selling Direct?

That's the big question in my mind after attending the analyst event hosted by Vertical Communications earlier this month in Dallas. I've followed the company - albeit not that closely - since their last analyst event in 2012, but they're certainly on-trend now for the UC space. We heard a lot about their cloud platform, a consistent experience across all endpoints, WebRTC, customer engagement, focus on vertical markets, mobile support and even contact center. In fact, there wasn't much they didn't touch on - well, perhaps social media, but that's fine.

Clearly, their palette is quite broad now, and while Vertical can attack many business problems this way, it's hard to nail down what they're really good at. Of course, versatility is a virtue, but when you're not that well known - as is the case with Vertical - there's a risk of not being able to stand out and a make a winning first impression.

One way Vertical is addressing this is by building their value proposition around "workflows", and they did a great job articulating - and demonstrating that - with us in Dallas. I think this can be an effective approach, as it takes them out of the arena trying to sell against the established players who are selling a more recognizable value proposition in the form of UC, telephony, conferencing, video, collaboration, etc.

While it's debatable whether these value propositions are themselves all that strong anymore, rather than focus on these technologies and communications solutions, Vertical's mantra is on what these things enable - workflows - and they're sticking to it.

Whether there's a long term business case for that remains to be seen, but the bigger question for me is can they be successful with a direct sales model? That's another mantra we heard in Dallas, and I think they have a pretty strong rationale. It won't be an easy road, but this is a path that could distinguish them more than anything else, and since there's no proven recipe for success in this shape-shifting space, who's to say it can't work?

That may be all you need to read from me about Vertical, but I do have more to say, and wearing my UC Expert hat, my take-aways have been posted now on the UCStrategies portal.  While you're there, I encourage you to read another post about Vertical from colleague Blair Pleasant, which includes a couple of video interviews she conducted there with Vertical executives.