Indirect approach

Indirect approach

Peter Kelly, enterprise director, Vodafone

Peter Kelly, enterprise director, Vodafone

Four Pillars Vodafone’s Partner Programme is based on four pillars:

Performance enablers means ensuring partners receive the right commercial incentives, including commissions and coinvestment opportunities.

Dedicated support is about Vodafone offering its partners comprehensive sales and service support, through a dedicated team.

Business development includes providing partners with a business development toolkit that includes the very latest propositions, products, lead generation and network, while also sharing Vodafone’s extensive marketing assets, from its multi-million pound advertising campaigns and Formula 1 sponsorship, to Vodafone VIP and the new Customer Experience Centre at Vodafone’s HQ in Newbury for Platinum and Gold partners.

Capability ensures Vodafone’s partners have the right capabilities to scale up to sell more UC such as One Net, data services, and the latest smartphones, while taking them through the relevant accreditation processes.

Vodafone has launched its new Vodafone Partner Programme to create a strong customer and partner experience, backed by the Vodafone network. The programme will be managed through Vodafone Partner Services in Didsbury, the former Yes Telecom, with staff in several other locations supporting the programme. Here, Peter Kelly, enterprise director at Vodafone, explains the why’s, what’s and where’s of this new initiative.

On the launch of Vodafone Partner Programme (VPP), Kelly states: “This marks a key milestone of our journey to deliver a single dedicated partner organisation to build real long term value for our partners and customers.

“I think we’re just reinforcing our commitment to interact with our partners. Altogether, 25% of our overall business in enterprise comes form our indirect channel already. We’ve put a lot of investment into indirect over the past 18 months, and we’ve done very well. We’ve had very, very strong business over the last four quarters from the indirect channel, with quarter on quarter growth. I think we’ve been listening to our partners, asking how we can better serve them for growth. And so, in response to what they’ve said, we’ve launched VPP.”

Future growth

“As we move from an era of mobile connectivity to selling UC services, it is crucial that our channel partners have the right training, skills and capabilities to sell solutions, such as One Net, to grow their businesses,” Kelly continues. “The Vodafone Partner Programme is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our channel partners and their future growth potential.”

VPP will recognise both the performance and capability of partners of all sizes. Channel partners will be placed in one of three tiers, Platinum, Gold or Silver, according to their performance.

Platinum status is the highest level and partners in this tier will benefit from named contacts in marketing, commercial and account management, along with bespoke commercial agreements and other attractive rewards.

As partners gain further skills in customer services and sell more products, including unified communications (UC), they will have the opportunity to move from one tier to another if they reach their set performance goals at the point of review, says Kelly.

Four tiers

The programme is based on four tiers: performance enablers; dedicated support; business development; and capability (see box for more details on these). The tiers are based on value, volume and levels of capability within that business.

On the programme tiers, Kelly adds: “For a lot of our partners, working in enterprise is about how do you navigate around a large corporation? Before, operator help has been too disparate and fragmented; now with VPP’s dedicated support tier, it’s built around a single support model. Also, from a marketing perspective, there are things we will make available that the channel hasn’t had access to before, including a partner portal, full access to all Vodafone case studies, marketing materials, and for Platinum Partners, dedicated lead generation, which is something we haven’t done before in a meaningful way for the indirect channel.”

 

Kelly states Vodafone’s move to create a tiered indirect channel partner programme will smooth out any inconsistencies partners have found in Vodafone’s competitors’ approaches so far. He explains: “I don’t think our competitors are necessarily addressing all their partners through their Partner Programmes, but ours does. There have been inconsistencies in revenue and support for dealers. The investment our competitors have been making in partners is inconsistent; sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not.

 

Long term

“We are building a long term business here, with more dedicated commercial resources, better clarity around incentives and management information, and revenue share is also a big part of it, especially for our Platinum Partners, whom we’re helping to invest in customer acquisition,” he continues.

Additionally, after accreditation, all VPP members will be able to sell on Vodafone One Net, a unified communications solution for the SME market, and the recently launched Vodafone One Net Express, aimed at companies with up to ten people. Vodafone One Net Express means all landline and mobile business calls go straight to one phone, giving businesses the flexibility to work in an office or on the move and never miss a call.

Kelly notes: “We expect over 50% of our One Net business to come through the indirect channel. Accrediting our partners on One Net and One Net Express will put them in a unique position in the market.”

 

Boost to sales

Concluding, Kelly comments that he expects VPP to boost sales for Vodafone through the indirect channel. He remarks: “We expect VPP to increase indirect sales, and we’ll be pushing more CAPEX, OPEX and resources to focus on the indirect channel to grow revenue. I think out indirect partners are well placed to take advantage here; our dealers and actively grow their revenue and profitability ahead of market growth rates, and we can grow our marketshare, not only in mobile but also in One Net and One Net Express, all through the VPP.

“Our Partner Programme is to be an ongoing journey of refinement, but the programme will have teeth; Silver Partners that achieve will go up to Gold, and those that don’t meet the requirements will move down. All our partners are now aligned to this programme, and it’s going to be good.”

 
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