Planning for Growth

Nikki Lee, Head of Marketing at Sunderland based reseller Nice Network, explains the reasons behind their recent name change and how the company, started by her father Chris in 1986, intends to double in size by 2020.

Like many resellers established in the 1980s, the company, then named CCS, began by selling mobiles phones in the early, nascent days of the new and liberalised market.

“We quickly moved in to the B2B market,” says Nikki Lee, the current Head of Marketing who did two weeks of work experience at the company when a teenager.

“Back then differentiation in the mobile market was all about customer service – getting phones to people the same day as their order. We had to be quicker than the network providers.

Our philosophy, then and now, is to talk to our customers, listen to what they had to say and learn what they wanted. We then scope the market and try it ourselves before selling new products and services.

Since the foundation of the company we have grown organically through word of mouth customer referrals built on the service we provide. We still have our original customer #1 as a client but now have a growth plan that takes us beyond that strategy.”

Many of Nice Network clients have been with them for 15 years and growth was achieved through upselling new services.

The new growth plan, which includes rebrand, will mark the start of an exciting chapter of growth for the 26-staff strong business that will see it streamline services for customers, ensuring that every client – new and old – gets the ‘nice experience’ Lee says the company has become renowned for.

This is all backed up with investment; the company has spent £250k on a new CRM solution with the aim of improving customer service.

“We have automated many oprocess but at the same time retained personal touches. We anticipate that with the way we are working at the moment that we’ll double headcount in a couple of years.”

Lee says that one important part of the new strategy is data communications.

“For example, we now have a focus on IoT and have already achieved major success at Newcastle Airport where we have installed sensors to monitor noise pollution.
Earlier this year we recruited Geoff Burns as Head of Sales. Geoff has great business background and is an experienced sales director; specifically he’ll also be mentoring and growing our sales team.”

With collaboration key for the company – the sales and marketing teams work as one, Lee says she has also noted a generational shift in the industry.

“Millennials are now a key part of the workforce, their outlooks are now reaching all parts of business and influencing IT directors and buyers. Will customers see a difference? Not per se but they should notice that we’ll be talking to them more frequently about what they think. One of the results of that is likely to be helping Finance Directors to better forecast their businesses with our billing solutions.”

Looking ahead Nice see an exciting time ahead for IoT applications with Lee looking to exploit specific verticals.

“We are fortunate to have an established customers base to analyse – we can see trends over the last, say 15 years which will enable use to focus on verticals where we are strong and we want to be authentic in our approach so customers know they are dealing with real people that care.”

Nice Network subscribes to WGSN the global trend forecasting company where they report in as a trend spotter and come up with new insights from 800 other trend spotters across the world.

“It’s not just about what’s selling or predicted to sell it’s also about gaining early insight in to how users like to be approached and sold to which is an important part of the selling process today.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine