Dealer Sales Corner: Orange business sharer plans

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New sales opportunities for dealers. In this installment, Axis Telecom managing director David Meyers discusses Orange business sharer plans and other killer propositions

We’ve had to become more canny about the way we sell as more dealers battle for the same slice of the market at a time when corporate customers are looking for ways to slash costs.

To keep customers on board we have to earn their trust with red-hot deals and top-draw service.

That means operators have to give dealers all the tools and support they need to take care of customers – and to invest in incentives with long term rewards instead of fast-buck one-off bonuses. For example, networks should pay dealers a bonus when the customer signs and then another each time the customer renews the contract.

Although Axis Telecom is a relatively new entrant to the mobile market, we’re on the back of Orange merged with T-Mobile, and offer all the main handsets. Flexibility and choice are important, but you also need that strong network backbone to retain customers.

Our combination of partnership and independence means we can also offer some very cost-effective packages to business users.

Sharer plans, with big bundles of minutes for a fleet of handsets, can really attract bigger businesses. Dealers have been keen to sell this one, as the margin is good – they can make up to 6.5 per cent of the gross bill – but it’s also a package that results in satisfied customers. We’ve seen a 50 per cent increase in the take-up of these over the past year.

With over 10 years experience in the fixed line sector we’ve learned a lot about what customers like and what irritates them and applied that to the mobile market. A strong focus on customer account management means technical support is offered quickly and any issues are ironed out as fast as possible.

Online billing, say, can give up-to-date call data which the customer can access in the office or on the move, and the dealer can also log in to view activity, spot trends and usage patterns, and also detect faults online.

Many operators have stopped paying upfront bonuses on connections and instead just pay dealers residual commission, with a percentage of the cost of every call their customer makes.

We offer both, with residual commission at a competitive 6.5 per cent, plus a sliding scale of commission for numbers of handsets sold.

We don’t want dealers to feel pressured into grab’n’run sign-ups. I think any operators still doing that will soon start to struggle. The support we give dealers to develop relationships is our signal to them that we want customers to stick around.

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