Vodafone dealer Excalibur Communications is boosting its management team as part of a two-pronged strategy to grow the business organically and acquire rival dealers.
Excalibur’s MD James Phipps told Mobile: ‘We are on the acquisition trail. We have several conversations running at the moment and have invested heavily in the infrastructure of the business over the past three years – now we are looking to add more base and customers through acquisition and organic growth.’
To help drive the strategy, Excalibur has strengthened its management team, bringing in Ben Rossiter (pictured) in the new role of sales director, Amanda Barlow – who previously worked for rival Evolve – as marketing manager, and Karl Mutton in the new role of finance director.
The firm has also boosted the sales team with three new account managers and is now on the hunt for another six sales, administration and technical staff.
Phipps said: ‘It’s about having the right management team and infrastructure so that we can go for decent sized acquisitions. We are looking at acquiring both customers and bases in mobile, landline and IT. We already have several targets in our sights.’
Excalibur is neck and neck with Evolve for the position of Vodafone’s biggest b2b connector and is hoping its twin strategy of acquisition and organic growth will see it take the number one position this year.
The company is also completing its withdrawal from the retail sector, in which it had 21 stores trading as the Mobile Phone Centre. Phipps said the move out of retail, which began five years ago, was ‘the best move we ever made’, adding: ‘We have just a couple more stores to close. I have absolutely no regrets about getting out of the retail sector. We are now playing to a much, much bigger audience.’
Phipps says Excalibur’s strength lies in the quality of the company’s service.
He said: ‘We have a quality conversation with our customers. We take a consultative approach and understand our customers needs. It is not about smash and grab for us. We may do something for our customers that makes no money for two years just to establish that level of trust.’
Excalibur has a base of around 6,000 customers and approximately 30,000 connections. Phipps said the company is aiming to add another 500-1,000 new customers this year. Excalibur is targeting the smaller end of the SME market, with most of its customers taking between one and 20 lines. ARPU levels are high, with Excalibur customers delivering an ARPU of £47.
Phipps said the company had grown rapidly in the past three years. ‘We have had a great recession. We have doubled turnover from £8m to £16m in the past three years and 2010 was our best year yet. Now it’s about having a platform to grow even further, which is why we are looking for more acquisitions and more sales staff.’
The company is also divesting itself of its non-core businesses to focus on its b2b ambitions, recently disposing of its ecommerce and web studio businesses in a management buyout.
Excalibur is based in the south of England and has five office locations. Its headquarters are based in Basildon, Essex, while significant business is carried out in the company’s Swindon office, which is relocating to new premises this month to make room for the additional new staff.
At present, the company has no ambitions to increase its geographic footprint. Phipps said: ‘I believe there are more than enough opportunities for us in the SME sector in the south of England without moving further afield. Our current office locations in the south mean we are never more than 30 minutes away from any our customers.’