‘Every January I think to myself “this is going to be the hardest year yet”, but then we seem to get through it and do more business than ever before,’ says Redstone Mobile’s MD, Dave McGinn.
‘You get the doom and gloom people who talk about the recession, and we’re not complacent about that, but during the last one the telecoms industry was never really affected.’
Redstone sees one of its key objectives as educating its dealers around the potential of additional revenue streams. McGinn (pictured, right) says: ‘Two years ago the market was voice and most business partners’ perception of what data actually involved was just text. But now they are really starting to grasp that there are additional revenue streams. In three to five years we believe that mobile will be only 50% of our business partners’ propositions.
Like any conscientious mobile business in the saturated market, Redstone is keen to highlight the importance of retention. Roy Abbott (pictured, left), national sales manager, says: ‘The marketplace is about retention and upselling on that. Upselling gives more value to customers and revenue to dealers. We also need to make sure we are in line with the networks’ objectives, which means maintaining customers on networks.’
Redstone sees data as a crucial tool for upselling: ‘A year ago data penetration was sub 10%, now it’s around 35%,’ says McGinn.
New products and services
In terms of service, Redstone views its most important duty as educating its dealers, especially about data. The company recently appointed data specialist Vicky Brame to ensure dealers are up to speed.
Abbott says: ‘Thirty three percent of our business partners have already had our training and we are looking to increase that number. One of the hardest parts was encouraging dealers to shut their doors and go training for the day.’
’The main issue for our business partners to overcome is the fear of not understanding,’ says McGinn.
Like its competitors, Redstone has reaped rewards of dongles, and the company is confident it has discovered the next big opportunity Ð businesses tracking their workforce.
Last month, a new piece of legislation called ‘Corporate Manslaughter’ was introduced, which means that companies now have greater liability for their staff when they are out of the office.
‘We are looking at pre-empting the Corporate Manslaughter legislation. We expect it to be a big take off, now the legislation has come in. When the law came in about mobiles in cars we sold a huge amount of car kits,’ says Abbott.
Like some of the other distributors Mobile has spoken to, Redstone has great pride in its low staff turnover.
Abbott says: ‘It’s been a stable ship for a long period of time. The biggest change has been to our waist lines!’ McGinn adds: ‘A lot of the staff we recruit we already know. We get a lot of people leaving and coming back because the grass isn’t always greener – just a different shade.’
The strategy to bring in familiar faces applies all the way to the top; when David McGinn worked for Sony as its national sales manager in distribution, Redstone was one of his customers.
Financial controller Jamie Macrae says that changes are constantly being made to the company’s internal system to ensure that dealers are paid promptly every month. He adds: ‘Every business partner is different and they all have different needs. We have business partners who have been with us for years and that’s because we regularly engage with them at every level.’
Redstone aims to maintain its continuity, while squeezing a bit extra out of the saturated market by making the best of additional revenue streams. McGinn believes that for every trough the industry goes through, there is always another new product around the corner that can bring it back to a peak.
McGinn says: ‘We are continuing to do what we have been known for – the key is to be more efficient with what we do. Our figures show we’ve gone in the right direction since last year. You can try too hard and you can change for the wrong reasons. Some distributors feel the need to re-invent themselves but we’re constantly evolving so we don’t need to.
‘My PA thinks I’m an insomniac because I send her emails at five in the morning - but it’s only because we’re passionate about what we do.’