Comms Business Magazine met up with Rob Scott, CEO of Lancashire based reseller Denwa, to find out how his company are faring and what is the secret sauce he is using to drive sales.
Denwa was established in 2006 when Rob Scott returned from a two-year spell in Japan working for Inter-Tel. Today the company, which now has over 30 staff, retains a link both to Japan and Inter-Tel with Denwa meaning telephone in Japanese and a portfolio that includes the Mitel 5000, a system originally designed by the US firm taken over by Mitel in 2007.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): So having got the history out of the way what is happening today in Denwa?
Rob Scott (RS): “Essentially we sell all things Mitel, the 3300 for larger customers, Mitel 5000 for SMEs and MiCloud their unified communications as a service for cloud based deployments.
Last year Denwa acquired an IT company which provided us with further cloud based skills as well as data networking and Microsoft accreditations.
As a result we achieved our goal of becoming a rounded and more complete ICT provider with a wide ranging set of applications and services to offer our users. Of course we also supply connectivity solutions and work very closely with both Gamma and Daisy who just happen to be in the same town as Denwa.”
CBM: How is the PBX market today?
RS: Our approach is to offer value added solution sales to a target market that is SME based. We have seen a huge rise in the adoption of cloud, VoIP and SIP trunks however we find that many SMEs still prefer to have CPE based solutions. So working with a Mitel portfolio is perfect as their systems are ‘cloud ready’.
To answer your question our sales are up 50% on last year. There are so many TDM and ISDN based systems in use out there and they really are legacy systems that represent an easy target for us. We approach these users on an ROI basis stripping down all their existing costs and showing users how they can pay for their new investment simply through the money they will be saving. It would be fair to say that two-thirds of our sales are CPE based.
We have had a look at hosted telephony but 90% of what is available is Broadsoft based and we are not impressed with what it has to offer.
CBM: So why have you chosen to stick with Mitel as the provider of your communications platforms?
RS: As I said before, there is a route to the cloud if customers want it. Likewise, we sell solutions; we sell a lot of call recording and computer telephony integration and it is here that we can lead with the Xarios applications. Xarios has been working with Mitel for many years and only recently their Phone Manager has been incorporated in to the Mitel portfolio worldwide. Furthermore Phone Manager now ships as a standard application with Mitel 5000. What users want are simple to use and easy to understand applications and the front end of the app is really good – customers love it and what it can do for them. It would be fair to say that most of our Mitel sales are predicated on showing the customer Phone Manager and with the end-to-end Mitel support now available we have full peace of mind.
Whist users do not pay for the application in its entry level base pack form there is an upgrade to an advanced Professional version that is chargeable that has all the bells and whistle features. We are close to Xarios and have to say their team is superb.
We buy through both Mitel for the 3300 and Trust for the 5000 series and also carry out all our own installations.
CBM: What is your outlook for the coming year?
RS: We are very confident in the business and its ability to thrive. The future is as good as you want it to be. To be successful you need to maintain consistent investments in marketing your business – you have to take risks, calculated risks. You need to make sure your service levels are right for your customers.
Our USP is that both our marketing and service is right and we shout about it.
My advice would be not to stand still. Resellers need to expand their portfolios as they can’t afford to be just a one application, say PBX, supplier.