Vonage has been a leader in getting consumers to give up their POTS lines for VoIP service. POTS is telephone industry speak for Plain Old Telephone Services. VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Basically, a VoIP service uses your high speed internet connection to carry calls versus traditional phone lines. In the last few years, Vonage has expanded to serve business users. The company has over 540,000 business users from over 65,000 companies.
I had an opportunity to speak with Vonage VP of Product Marketing Aaron Charlesworth, about the direction of VoIP. The following Q & A is reconstructed from my notes and not an exact transcription.
Does Vonage integrate with other software or SaaS services?
Yes, Vonage integrates with many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms. Our integrations include tools such as Salesforce.com, Netsuite, Zoho, CLio,, Oracle and Google Apps for Work, among others. This seamless connection to mission critical business applications, using voice as a platform, allows the user to work anytime, anywhere and on any device, aligning with workflow and driving greater efficiency and productivity.
Can you give a specific example of how a recruiter could take advantage of these integrations?
A recruiter might speak to dozens of candidates while conducting an executive search. It is very difficult to remember the specific details of every conversation. These integrations allow phone call interviews to be automatically recorded, transcribed, and placed in the candidates CRM file. When the recruiter is trying to remember what the candidate said on a particular subject, they can simply do a keyword search on the transcribed conversation.
Can you give an example of what integration law firms use?
Vonage offers an integration solution with Clio, a commonly used CRM system for law firms. Time tracking for lawyers is integral to the billing process. Lawyers often have to manually calculate and record the time spent on phone calls and then input the information into their CRM system. The integration between CLio and Vonage automatically imports the call information in real-time, recording the date and time of the call, automatically tracking the information for future use. To find it, the lawyer just has to type in the client’s billing code, eliminating the need to manually update within Clio at a later date and resulting in less missed billable hours.
Can you explain what unified communications mean?
I might call a person from my desktop phone, my cell phone, or my home computer using a softphone. Also, after a phone call, I may have forgotten to ask a quick question and text the person using my cell phone. From a practical point of view, unified communications brings everything together. The person receiving calls from me will see all communications coming from the same place and when I receive a message or communication back, I will be able to access and respond to them using a single account from any device. This consistent business presence is especially important for businesses that have a need to work from any location – whether in the office, at offsite meetings or on-the-go.
From a high level, how is Vonage’s services different from your competitors?
Many of our competitors have a one-size fits all solution for VoIP services. We have great solutions for companies of all sizes and needs. Many companies want a solution that is easy to setup and maintain. Larger companies often want more complex functionality. We find many larger companies want the savings that come from using business VoIP, but want to have functionality that emulates how they set up their old PBX phone system. Vonage provides a highly customized solution for any size business in any industry, unifying and simplifying the ways they communicate. For the small business owner, unified communications creates a complete solution that considers the business need for mobility, video and software integration with voice as a platform.There are no hardware costs like those associated with the PBX system in the closet, and a cloud solution is fully scalable, with very low operating costs, and more features and functionality, such as virtual receptionist, mobile app, never miss a call features, voicemail transcription, music on hold, call groups and more.
Vice President of Product Marketing for Vonage, Aaron Charlesworth focuses on the Company’s marketing efforts related to its business offering, serving customers of all sizes, from SMB to mid-market to enterprise.
With 17 years of experience in the technology and software space, Aaron joined Vonage upon the Company’s acquisition of Vocalocity in 2013. An expert in the field of cloud communications, his focus on the delivery of SaaS solutions using a cloud-based architecture has enabled him to hold key roles in business communications during a transformative time.
Aaron holds an MBA from Penn State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Georgia.