Resellers have warned BT that they must be given the chance to offer additional services for its recently launched hosted call centre offering.
BT revealed in November that it would distribute Siebel's hosted CRM software through its Contact Central arm. The software has just become available in Europe.
Paul White, chief executive of BT Contact Central, said BT will be able to offer SMEs a comprehensive call centre service, with hosted CRM, through its channel network, reducing the costs of implementation for users.
This will present resellers with an opportunity to gain skills in Siebel, which has previously targeted blue-chip firms using a direct-sales model.
But David du Toit, solutions development director at call centre VAR Datapoint, said if BT expects an enthusiastic response from partners, it will have to ensure they have opportunities to offer value-added services.
Hosted services could weaken the relationship between suppliers and end-users by eliminating the need for day-to-day involvement. "Partners are not going to sacrifice their relationships with end-users if there is not some shared reward," du Toit said.
However, White claimed BT will reward partners for sales leads, adding that it is also examining where opportunities for resellers can be exploited.
"We have a couple of Siebel trainers working with resellers, and want to make sure they get the chance to upsell," he said.
Hosted CRM also faces the challenge of persuading firms that their customer data is safe, du Toit said. "There's no doubt that there's a market. But businesses will want reassurances before they allow a service provider to hold their data," he added.
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