Micro-P is stepping up its recruitment drive as part of an ongoing strategy to expand into the mobile and converged technologies markets.
The distributor has taken on another seven staff over the past month at its mobile division in Stoke-on-Trent and is planning to further expand the mobile team from 30 to 50 by the end of next year.
The number of business development managers (BDMs) in the mobile division is set to more than double in the same period, from eight to around 20 staff.
Speaking to Mobile, Micro-P MD Gerry O’Keeffe says the BDMs played an important role in driving the distributor’s expansion into both mobile and converged technologies.
O’Keeffe says: ‘We have to ensure we grow and expand the number of BDMs on the road. You cannot get close to the dealers through telesales, and getting close to the dealers is a key driver of ours going forward. It is all about helping them understand the products.’
O’Keeffe says Micro-P is fully committed to the converged market, which it began targeting in 2009. ‘I firmly believe convergence will happen. It won’t happen overnight or even this year, but it will happen overtime, and since 2009 we have made sure we can capitalise on that in terms of technologies and routes to market. So getting that message across to our dealer estate is the work we have to do.’
The Nokia distribution contract, which Micro-P was awarded last month after seeing off competition from incumbents 20:20 Mobile and Data Select, brings significant change for Micro-P, O’Keeffe says.
He explains: ‘It gives us the capacity to focus on the consumer as well as on b2b. My approach was that this deal would be a game changer for us in that with Samsung and Nokia on board and other relationships forming we see ourselves in a position to really demonstrate our ability in the b2c environment.’
Following the Nokia contract award Micro-P has stepped up its campaign to grow its mobile dealer base, which currently stands at around 700 out of a total of 9,000 resellers on the company’s books.
In terms of the Nokia deal, Micro-P is currently working with the manufacturer to develop much closer ties with dealers.
O’Keeffe explains: ‘In the past Nokia relied on its two distributors to sell its products to the channel without engaging in where those products went. Nokia was not close enough to the channel. Now it is clearly focused on wanting to be closer to its customers. This is central to its new distribution strategy – to work with its dealers in a much more joined up way.’
To this end, Micro-P, in partnership with Nokia, is managing a number of dealer events this quarter to promote the benefits of Nokia’s products and highlight Micro-P’s new VIP Dealer Incentive scheme.
The events will take place at Micro-P’s offices in Basingstoke, Altham and Stoke-on-Trent. There will also be the first of a series of Nokia Partner Events at the National Space Centre in Leicester on 23 November.
O’Keeffe dismisses claims that Micro-P, as a relative newcomer and with only 5% share of the mobile distribution market, could struggle to transition mobile dealers over from Data Select and 20:20 Mobile and ultimately lose Nokia market share to its rivals.
O’Keeffe says: ‘[Conor Pierce, Nokia general manager] made clear at Nokia World that the transition would be completed in this quarter and it will.
‘From both our perspective and Nokia’s, that transition is happening in line with expectations. We are very much on track and we are very clear on what we need to do to deliver that. We have all the focus we need, all the people we need, our relationships are up and running and, as proof of that, we have already traded 330 dealers on Nokia in the past month.’
He adds that overall Micro-P is aiming to double the total number of monthly mobile traded accounts over the next three months.
Dealer incentives for Q4 2011
Micro-P has launched a welter of incentives in the fourth quarter aimed at boosting mobile and accessories sales.
The VIP Incentive programmes are ‘above and beyond’ competitors’ incentive schemes, the distributor claims.
There are two VIP Incentive Club programmes – one for Nokia products and one for Micro-P’s direct vendors’ products.
The distributor’s direct vendors include Samsung, Jawbone, Acer, Jabra, Dell, Doro and Plantronics.
Nokia VIP Club prizes for high performing dealers include trips to the Moulin Rouge, West End theatre weekends and Red Letter activity days.
The Micro-P Mobile VIP Incentive Club is offering dealers tickets to the Cheltenham Races, the ATP World Tour Finals and Red Letter activity days as incentives.
Micro-P’s general manager of mobile John Doughty says: ‘These incentives blow away any Platinum or Partner programme others are offering.'