Ian Hunter, editor of Comms Business magazine, catches up with Andrew Dickinson, Adrian Sunderland, Lee Broxson, Cherie Howlett and Antony Deardon in a brand new reseller – Jola.
So how did the idea for Jola come about?
Jola is a brand new reseller/VNO in the channel made up of an experienced team with a tried and tested strategy. Antony and I were part of a management buy-in of Griffin Internet back in 2005, Adrian’s (Sunderland) company based up in Derby. Lee (Broxson) had been there for years working with Adrian selling broadband and joined me in Sales. We recruited Cherie shortly after and worked together to build a channel of over 700 resellers, annual revenues of over £20 million and a team of over 130 employees. We had some much fun and success that after the company was sold in 2012 it seemed inevitable that we would work together again.
So what’s your dealer model?
Our philosophy at Griffin was that we were selling with our Partners rather than to them and we have continued this approach with Jola. Automation, billing and paying commissions are expected. Jola’s unique selling point is that we make our Partners more successful. We understand the needs of their customers and all the options available to them. Simply put, our dealers convert more prospects to orders with Jola than with any other supplier. The market for Ethernet and hosted voice is booming and as a consequence it is very crowded. Dealers need to know they have a good chance of winning deals when they come up against aggressive retail carriers.
How is Jola different?
We win new business for dealers by identifying prospects from their own customers. Through SEO and email marketing we generate around 50,000 end-user ‘touches’ a month, creating interest and building our brand. We have been honing a lead identification and order conversion programme for years and would like to think we have it down to a fine art. We understand the SME market, their requirements and the products that will suit them best. We have built great relationships in the channel so are rarely beaten on price and we are trusted by our Partners to visit their customers and help them buy the best solution at the best price.
Where are you based?
We cover the whole of the UK from offices in Cambridge, Nottingham and Saffron Walden.
What’s new from Jola?
At Jola we share our strategies with our Partners and their customers. We are a registered supplier of the Government broadband voucher scheme allowing SMEs in certain locations around the UK to upgrade their connectivity and claim up to £3K to help cover the cost. After a stuttering start this scheme is really starting to make a difference to sales and we think our approach maximises the benefit for our Partners and their customers. Our hosted voice solution is a market leader. We are running demo workshops for our Partners early next year and it always gets a good reaction because it just works. It is plug and play, does a lot more than your average phone system and costs a lot less.
What can we expect from Jola in the future?
As you can imagine we have an ambitious growth plan so will be concentrating on recruiting and growing dealer businesses over the next few years. We are attending Summit North next year so are looking forward to catching up with you all there. We have plans to extend our product range but this will depend on the demand we see over the next 12 months. We see Ethernet as the next big thing with 97% of SMEs still using broadband and Ethernet prices tumbling. Our best Partners are focussed on looking for companies struggling with broadband or with leased lines coming up for renewal. Once their customers have a solid reliable connection our Partners are selling in ISDN replacement and hosted telephony. We also have the best SIM-only deal in the market, which we will continue to develop.
Source: Comms Business January 2015