In this interview Julien Parven, SMB Marketing Director for Daisy Communications explains how they are empowering dealers to retain margins without the threat of a direct supplier.
CBM: Can you explain how your direct and indirect arms co-exist at Daisy Communications?
Julien Parven (JP): We don’t wasn’t to be falling over ourselves creating false competition. If you look back at the history of Daisy it was a Channel business. My mantra is that everything that we are doing should have a partner first lens on it.
In Daisy Communications we have a direct sales function where we manage customers directly. The benefit of having a direct and indirect is we are able to lean on the respective parts of the business. Our view to approaching the Channel is that if a partner feels confident and are self-sufficient in selling any of the services then they can go and do that and we’ll do what we do in terms of managing the billing and customer service and we’ll pay them a residual or an upfront commission. Where a partner is less skilled, but has the appetite and desire, we lean on our learning and development teams to take them on that journey.
The whole Daisy model we have has been built on the products and services we have and cross selling them into the existing base. We take the view that without express permission (from the partner) that isn’t our right to do with a partner managed customer. In that scenario it’s about the partner asking us to engage because they aren’t comfortable with the product set and often happens to stop the core services already in place being unlocked and moved to a new partner.
CBM: What are the big changes you are seeing in the market for dealers right now?
JP: Things are changing rapidly in the market. The Ofcom regulations coming into play in February around Contract End Notifications will be significant. We are looking at how we react to that and how we build a model which gives partners visibility. We are obliged under Ofcom regulations to communicate to those customers and inform them that their contracts are coming to an end and of the right to terminate. We are looking at how we give partners the opportunity to recommit those customers earlier so they can continue to see their commissions on revenues.
The PSTN switch-off is beginning to have an impact, there are partners starting to gain from that. New partners that don’t have a base can come in and SIP has a low point of entry. We are seeing that those guys in the IT support sector, IT dealers etc, are starting to play in this space. The connectivity is entwined in their other services so they can be quite aggressive in their approach to the market.
CBM: How are you helping your partners with the price pressures in the market?
JP: Our service wrap is not, and never will be, the cheapest. Winning that race to the bottom is not good for anyone, Daisy or the partner base. The question is how do we insulate partners from that by creating a service wrap which sits around the services they can sell? We also Help them be more efficient in their dealings with their customers and give them access to our service teams so they can retain their margins without having to have a huge back office. Ultimately, we are their back office and support function.
We will be more visible this year and partners will see more simplification in the ways they can deal with us. If a partner decides they want some form of exit strategy I don’t think it’s any secret how we support partners within that scenario. We encourage the partners to go out and sell to the customer and we have a model where we buy those customer bases back and that can be done on a single one-off basis or perennially. Partners can sell us back the customers in the previous period and we pay them in recognition of that and they can use that cash go and acquire more customers.
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