Excalibur plans to take Vodafone partner lead

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Vodafone dealer Excalibur Communications said last week it has set a new strategy to be Vodafone’s biggest B2B connector during 2011

Basildon-based Excalibur said it has reorganised its management team and shareholder structure over six months, and is focused on acquisition of rival dealer firms as well as organic growth to leapfrong dealer Evolve Telecom, which acquired CBS Communications in July, as Vodafone’s biggest parter.

Excalibur, a platinum partner of Vodafone, has a base of around 5,000 customers and 30,000 connections, marginally bettered by Evolve Telecom.

Excalibur has acquired the customer bases of four other dealerships in the past two years.

Managing director James Phipps (pictured) said: “Although we haven’t yet made any purchases, it’s not for a lack of offers [to us]; it’s just we haven’t found the right one. It’s more about the potential of the base rather than the size of it. It’s whether we can get our products and solutions in to them. It might be there are four of five smaller ones, or just one bigger deal.”

As well, Phipps said the business has created new roles in its solutions and mobile teams, and that new-sales targets for staff have been doubled. It is looking to recruit 12 more staff, also, by the end of the year. Phipps said he will only recruit “the best salesmen in the industry” and that he “will not be beaten” in competition for their services.

Excalibur has also switched its focus to smaller business accounts. Phipps said it is now targeting customers with between one and 20 lines, which make up most of its customers already, but relatively few of its connections overall.

Phipps said: “We are striving to be the number one Vodafone partner outright, no question. We will be looking to double our new business in 2011. We have low churn, of less than five per cent on Vodafone, and I want to retain that performance across a much bigger base.

“Our mission next year is to be the number one SME solution provider in the south of England and we expect to be there by the end of 2011. We have a big drive on OneNet going forward – it is being made integral to sales targets.”

He added: “The competition for 100-plus connections is ruthless and we have gone for that market in 2010, but it does not play to our strengths in account management. We have changed strategy with new business, and are targeting much smaller accounts, which there are more of and less competition for.”

Excalibur has sales offices in Bristol,  Basildon, Swindon, Western-super-Mare, Basingstoke, Southampton and Crawley.

Phipps expects the number to consolidate next year, even as staff numbers increase. He said: “There is streamlining strategy going on at the moment. The number of offices will reduce but staff numbers will increase.”

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