Vodafone has seen a doubling of partners selling One Net in the past six months and a tenfold increase in partners selling both fixed and mobile services over the past year. The operator predicts these numbers will double over the next 12 months on current run rates.
Speaking to Mobile at the Vodafone Partner Day event in Manchester, Rob Mukherjee (pictured), head of Vodafone Partner Services, said the operator’s 300-plus b2b partners were rapidly moving beyond selling just mobile to offer a much wider range of unified comms products.
‘At Vodafone Partner Services we are in a really exciting place as our indirect channel has become so important to us. Our ambition is to increase the number of partners selling across our portfolio this year. We have already seen a ten-fold increase in the number of partners selling both fixed and mobile this year and at present rates that number will double next year.’
He added: ‘In the last six months we have doubled the number of partners selling One Net. This has moved from a market push to a market pull now.’
This increase follows a concerted drive by Vodafone over the past year to drive up the number of partners cross-selling its unified comms product range, which includes mobile, fixed line, broadband and data services as well as Vodafone One Net, Office 365 and Vodafone’s Mobile Device Management services.
As part of this drive the operator has also launched a new Partner accreditation revealing the first three companies to qualify at its Partner Day event. These are CommsXchange, Connect Telecom and Redsquid. The Solutions Pioneer accreditation is designed to encourage partners to move beyond mobile and sell across the operator’s entire product range. Partners qualifying for the Solutions Pioneer accreditation will be rewarded with priority status, exclusive sales tools, additional training and marketing benefits.
Nick Birtwistle, sales director SME at Vodafone UK, told Mobile that Vodafone’s partners are central to its strategy to become a total communications company. Speaking from the Partner Day event, he said: ‘I want to reiterate the importance of our partners to us. Research shows over 40% of SMEs say they would chose to take their services through an indirect channel. That is almost half the market and so our partners are a big part of our strategy and our commitment to them has never been so high as it is right now.’
Vodafone has also overhauled its partner service model giving partners the opportunity to access premium services previously reserved for its direct sales team. These include dedicated service management, onboarding management and extended out of hours support.
Vodafone also pledged to continue to iron out commission payment delays. Mukherjee said: ‘We have heard our partners loud and clear on this - we recognise these challenges and we are working closely with them to mitigate these challenges and are talking to them today about how to fix it - we are deadly serious about this.’