O2 to get tough on targets in partner programme shake-up


O2 are expected in January to change their partner programme to encourage sales of IT and fixed-line productsO2’s top dealers could face increased targets and an eight per cent reduction in ongoing revenues from the New Year, Mobile News understands.

The changes, which are expected from January (the start of O2’s financial year), are part of a major shake-up of its partner programmes, O2 Approved and Centre of Excellence (CoE), designed to drive sales of IT and fixed-line products within its Joined Up Business portfolio.

The move is being spearheaded by O2 head of small business Paul Lawton, who joined O2 from TalkTalk in July.

The most significant change will be a new tiering structure  governing the way the operator pays partners ongoing revenue from contract sales.

O2 dealers claim from Q1 mobile-only connections will drop from 48 to just 40 per cent.

Dealers will be able to increase their percentage by adding other products such as ‘O2 Landline’, taking revenue to 44 per cent, while a fixed line and an IT service could potentially exceed 48 per cent.

Increased targets

Targets are also expected to be increased substantially for Approved and CoE partners.

It is rumoured quarterly connection targets for CoEs will increase from the 350 required at present to more than 500.

Quarterly mobile connection targets for O2 Approved partners who connect through airtime distribution partners (Avenir, Daisy, MoCo and Carphone Warehouse Business) are expected to remain at 75, but will now include 10 fixed line.

It is claimed O2 has been “relaxed” on partners achieving their targets in recent quarters, instead focusing more on boosting its customer satisfaction performance.

However, a number of CoE and Approved partners say they have been warned O2 is looking to reduce the number of partners it works with and targets must be met to avoid demotion and the loss of direct partner privileges such as volume bonuses and discounted tariffs.

O2 told Mobile News after Mobile News went to press with the story, it has yet to make any decision regarding targets and volumes at this time – but was working closely with a number of partners to for changes scheduled to be made to its CoE programme in early 2013.

O2 business director Ben Dowd earlier confirmed the partner programmes were being.

He said the operator had experienced good success in the ICT space in the past 18 months targeting enterprise business and is now ready to push its services in the small and medium segments of the B2B space.

Dowd said: “We have always been very supportive of our partners and our programmes but we must continually look to improve.

“We feel now is a good time to step back and ask what CoE and O2 Approved look like because we are moving from a world of mobile to fixed to ICT and that creates a bigger opportunity for those partners. The size of the ICT market is vast, and therefore we cannot do it by ourselves.

“Undoubtedly there are partners we work with today that can help support us in that growth, particularly in the SMB space. What we have to do is be really clear what are the products and services we want them to sell going into next year.

“Paul [Lawton] has a good perspective on the opportunity from an ICT perspective and is very supportive and knowledgeable of the partner channel.”

Dowd also confirmed O2 has partnered with Microsoft to sell its cloud-based service Microsoft 365, which will be available from Q1.