Exertis Micro-P is launching a major airtime push into the IT market backed by Nokia and O2 and spearheaded by Fridolin Engel, former national sales manager at O2.
Engel joined Exertis Micro-P last month as regional sales manager of Conect, the distributor’s airtime division. He is tasked with driving sales of Conect’s airtime and related products into the company’s base of 7,000 it resellers.
The campaign will launch with a series of airtime workshops next month supported by Nokia, Microsoft and O2. The workshops are aimed at the first tranche of 50 handpicked IT resellers.
The workshops will focus on Nokia’s Lumia smartphones and tablets and O2’s Microsoft Office 365 proposition. They will include seminars setting out the benefits of selling airtime and related cloud-based products and training workshops.
Resellers buying into the proposition will be given follow up face to face training sessions and total inhouse sales support. The distributor is also offering upfront payments for resellers.
Engel said: ‘What is staggering is that the volume of it resellers that do not appreciate the margins available on airtime. Hardware brings single digit returns whereas airtime provides significantly more.’
Engel said the workshops are aimed at clearing all obstacles preventing it resellers moving into the airtime market. This includes creating a simplified system and substantial back up for IT resellers and flexible payment options.
Engel said: ‘Traditional airtime is convoluted with hundreds of legacy tariffs. We want to simplify it with simple tariffs and a support system to take all the pain away.’
He added: ‘Airtime gives resellers the opportunity to have a recurring revenue model. But we are also looking at providing upfront payments as we understand that the recurring revenue model is not an overnight thing. So we will give resellers the option of either the upfront model, a recurring revenue model or a mix of both.’
Engel said rising sales of tablets in the b2b space and the increasing shift from WiFi to data enabled tablets is already stimulating it resellers’ interest in airtime sales. He said that the increase in cloud based solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, Link, Sharepoint and Dropbox operating across PCs, tablets and smartphones was another key driver.
Conect is targeting IT resellers that have already expressed an interest in airtime and those that have bought significant amounts of hardware. ‘The challenge is to identify those resellers most likely to adopt airtime. We have 500 resellers as an initial target and we will focus on the top 50 from that tranche,’ Engel said.
He added: ‘Our focus is not to target the existing mobile base. If mobile resellers come to us that is fine but our focus is on how to convert it resellers. That is the opportunity for us.’
Engels said his previous experience at O2 will stand him in good stead in leading Exertis Micro-P’s campaign to penetrate the it reseller market.
He said: ‘I spent five years at O2 Telefonica as the national sales manager of the solutions team responsible for launching non-mobile products across the dealer channel, getting them to take products like fixed line, broadband, Office 365 and generally upskilling existing airtime partners.
‘Exertis Micro-P is doing something very similar, albeit in the opposite direction in trying to penetrate the ICT reseller market and getting them to recognize the opportunities airtime gives them.’