Standing still in the indirect channel is a ‘death wish’ says Qualitel managing director Mike Ridgway (pictured, left). But this is not a situation faced by the Newcastle Under Lyme telecoms dealer.
Ridgway claims to have felt few effects of the recession. Staff numbers have remained consistent at around 19. The company even shaved thousands off its cost base by switching some company BMWs to VW Golfs. Naturally sales staff also had to pay closer attention to their monthly targets which remained consistent at around 650 contracts and renewals a month.
The secret to the company’s sustained growth is the way it gets its own clients to pass on business leads.
“I don’t like the phrase referral programme but it fundamentally is. People who trust us refer their customers to us. We transact with them. The person who has referred them gets a revenue share or a margin of the deal. We have waited to find the best partnerships.”
Qualitel’s search for additional revenue streams meant it created the partner programme made up of IT and fixed line companies. The programme, which launched in October comprises 16 “quality” partners across England and Scotland. They get a cut of the margins or an ongoing revenue for successful referrals.
“You can’t be purely commission-based. You have to be able to cover your overheads on the quieter months when there are less acquisitions. The partner programme has been very successful.
“We do a lot of work with non-mobile partners such as PBX, and IT companies. We have expanded, increased turnover 10 per cent and generated a decent profit. We have an awful lot of partners and have been introduced to their IT. Companies who want to move from BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) to BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Service).
“But their IT guys don’t know much about mobile and see potential for both of us. They have clients they introduce us to. We take that relationship and grow it. We visit that client with our partner and do the full sell.”
Qualitel chairman Andy Smith (pictured, centre), well-known to the industry from his many years with Vodafone and Anglia, adds: “From a direct sales point of view, it was better for us to focus on our core areas in the West Midlands. But from a dealer programme, it can be anywhere. We use the partners to expand further beyond our traditional market reach”.
Full article in Mobile News issue 463 (May 10, 2010).
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