Vodafone will boost partners with a new training scheme to develop online sales and services as it readies a push into the converged market.
The Vodafone Partner Programme was announced last week at a special partner event in Manchester, and revealed the operator’s aim of converging fixed line, mobile and IT in an attempt to shift ‘from being a mobile communications company to being a total communications provider’. Key to this change is extensive employee training for partner companies and helping them to improve their online sales processes.
Rob Mukherjee, Vodafone’s head of partner services, told Mobile: ‘The Vodafone Sales Academy and certification programme is for partners and their employees to help them develop their abilities. We started [the certification programme] last year and it’s a key part of our programme.‘Partner enablement is all about being easy to do business with. We’ve already made a significant investment and we’ll continue to invest in our single access partner portal in the future. The ultimate goal is that this covers all areas of interface between us and our partners.’
Existing partners are being incentivised to converge their operations and offer other services from the Vodafone range. For example, traditional mobile dealers will be encouraged to offer fixed line and vice versa, and partners will be provided with training and favourable call rates to sell onto their customers.
Mukherjee added: ‘There are three key aspects to delivering what partners want: better operation agility, better connected employees and better with customer engagement – and that’s where we are going to differentiate.’Vodafone has revealed that the plans have sparked interest from potential partners. Although the scheme was created to aid ‘existing fixed, mobile and IT service partners’, a Vodafone spokesperson said the operator ‘always likes to attract new partners’ to stay ahead of competition from rivals O2 and EE.
The initiative coincides with the work done to improve Vodafone’s network. The operator has spent upwards of £900m to develop its voice and data infrastructure, while the creation of an advanced IP network had also been completed. The recent takeover of Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW) has provided more scope in terms of offering customers a converged service.
Nick Birtwistle, sales director for SME and partners, said the investment work will be central in getting potential partners to choose it over rivals. He said:‘There’s no one else out there with the same pedigree. We have the right brand, the infrastructure and the capabilities. And now it’s all about how we bring these converged solutions to market.
‘Enterprise is an increasingly important part of Vodafone’s business in the UK, and it’s a great opportunity for us and our partners to talk to more British businesses,’ he added.
Author: Matthew Campelli