O2 is aiming to create an SME proposition council in early June to deliver stronger propositions to the market, O2 business sales director Ben Dowd told Mobile last week.
The council will include several types of partners from the b2b side of the business, including Centres of Excellence and Avenir which recently announced that it had entered into a five year strategic deal with O2.
Dowd said: 'It's a very good way of validating customer insight. Customers and channels that are very close to whats happening in the market. We will have a valuable means of getting insight and it will be a good way of being able to collaborate'.
The council will meet as often as it needs to meet and will be driven by market requirements.
The new Avenir deal will see the distributor working with O2 for a further five years, building on the pairs existing relationship. The strategic deal means that Avenir will benefit from exclusive marketing support, selected propositions and priority access to O2s partner care support.
Dowd said: 'This is a longer term agreement, where Avenir will enjoy far more engagement with O2. We believe we are the network of choice for any independent partner.
'We see what Avenir has done in terms of our strategy and see them as a great example of a distributor. We want to grow in b2b and the channel, and help them grow their business'.
Avenir was given a number of O2 titles at the end of 2009, resulting in it becoming the networks first strategic partner.
However, the relationship is not closed to other interested parties and Dowd is keen to emphasise the opportunity to others in the indirect channel.
He said: 'The deal is open to other partners. They [Avenir] are the first ones to sign up to it, but its not an exclusive club. O2 is keen to grow the volume in the channel.
'We have got a great relationship with our partners and a very close dialogue at all levels we want the channel to challenge us'.
Avenir, O2s first strategic partner, has been given a string of titles recently including: O2 partner of the year 2009 based on four KPIs: gross connections, secondary connections, ARPU and customer churn.
Topped O2 distributor league table for three consecutive quarters in 2009, the champions league awards.
Avenir has also sold more landline products than any other O2 distributor since the launch of Joined Up.
Ben Dowd gave a glowing review of Avenirs performance over the last two years. He said: 'Over the last year, Avenir has achieved some extraordinary things in customer solutions, high value, low churn, high sales of BlackBerry and smartphones. And, they have embraced the 'joined up' strategy'.