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Zest4 – Winners of the Best Wholesale Service Provider (up to £10m t/o) Award at the Comms National Awards 2017

October 19th, 2017 by Mandy Fazelynia

Wow – we still can’t quite believe it but we were thrilled to win an award at the Comms National Awards evening last week! We won the Best Wholesale Service Provider (up to £10m t/o) category and our entry really showcased our M2M and IoT solutions and support services.

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The Zest4 team have worked amazingly hard on our M2M and IoT strategy over the last 2 years and I am constantly reminded of what a fantastic team we have. Everyone shares our ambitions and goals and the whole team goes that extra mile to do things right and help us succeed.

M2M and IoT really has been the focus of Zest4’s strategy for the last 2 years and particularly since the launch of our partnership with Arkessa in October 2015. After months of hard work and planning with our colleagues at Arkessa, the Zest4 M2M Partner Programme was launched in the summer of 2016. We were incredibly proud to offer our partners a truly complete M2M package that wasn’t available anywhere else on the market…a package that includes a wide range of M2M solutions, expert M2M knowledge and technical support, training through the Zest4 partner academy, marketing support, optimised tariffs and competitive commercials. The immediate response to the Zest4 M2M Partner Programme was phenomenal. By the end of 2016, we’d followed up with our existing partner base and had enabled a significant number of partners to quote and win business.

But we didn’t rest of laurels! It was crucial that we kept developing our M2M proposition so we quickly began to develop a range of end-to-end M2M solutions for resellers. We first launched Pre-Ethernet solutions offering connectivity solutions for mobile businesses and pop-up offices, followed by Vehicle Telematics solutions for fleet operating companies looking to track and monitor their vehicles. Our most recent addition – the Smart Witness connected-camera – enhances our vehicle telematics solutions with video.

Our end-to-end solutions were designed to help overcome one of the main challenges that our partners tell us they face in the telecoms marketplace today and that’s how to capitalise on the revenue opportunities that new technologies and new solutions provide. Many reseller business models (particularly fixed-line and IT reseller models) are not set up to sell solutions such as mobile and M2M so their sales teams are not incentivised to sell them. But there’s also a lack of understanding and awareness of the revenue opportunity available to resellers and how to go about achieving it. Our end-to-end M2M solutions provide resellers with ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions for different M2M applications that make selling M2M and IoT easy. Plus, with support from our Channel Sales team, partners can benefit from commercial and technical support in whatever way they need – whether it’s over the phone, at a meeting in the office or out onsite with clients. Our team continue to work hard to educate partners on new technologies, not only providing the technical background and knowledge but also teaching partners how to achieve maximum earnings from them.

As well as developing our M2M and IoT solutions and support services, we’ve also worked hard on our marketing initiatives over the last 2 years to help show partners how they can succeed. Our main campaign was a storytelling campaign that illustrated the huge opportunity that M2M offers to resellers. We wanted to show them that M2M wasn’t as complicated as they may think and that by working in partnership with the M2M experts (such as Zest4!), success is just around the corner. The campaign was centred around a series of real life case studies about resellers who had successfully delivered M2M solutions with Zest4 and Arkessa’s support. The stories focused on a range of different market sectors to illustrate to resellers that they would find potential M2M business in their existing customer base. The stories were told from the mouths of the resellers – highlighting their challenges, obstacles and concerns – and showed that M2M wasn’t a scary prospect and can be a win-win opportunity for all. The stories were shared with resellers via social media, email, the Zest4 website and through the popular trade press.

Last but not least in our busy 2 years focusing on M2M and IoT has been the development our Account Management team. We have established dedicated resources for our M2M and IoT programme appointing Anton Le Saux as Head of M2M in September 2016 followed by Ian Davis who joined Zest4 in in May 2017 as M2M & IoT Business Development Manager. Both have vast knowledge and expertise of M2M and IoT which is helping our existing base of mobile, fixed line and IT resellers to open up additional revenue opportunities for now and the long-term.

It really has been a hard-working but very rewarding 2 years here at Zest4 but we’re certainly not stopping there. Watch this space for future M2M and IoT developments and get in touch to find out how we can help you succeed in the M2M and IoT space. Call us on 0161 956 3355.

The importance of face to face contact in building business relationships

October 16th, 2017 by Anton Le Saux

Digital communication methods such as texting, email and video conferencing are fast becoming the norm for both consumers and businesses alike. But with these digital methods gradually replacing face-to-face contact in the world of business, what impact is this having on relationships, particularly when working with partners and resellers where communication is key?

I’ve been working in the telecoms industry for almost 25 years now and for the majority of that time, I’ve been working with partners. I’ve seen a lot of things change over the years but there’s one thing that has always remained constant for me and that’s the value of the relationships that I have with my partners. In fact, in my role at Zest4, relationships are now more important than ever as I’m focused on introducing M2M and IoT solutions which are new to our partners’ businesses.

I can totally understand the logic behind suppliers automating their service offerings via self-service portals and website front ends. It undoubtedly speeds up the sales process, cuts down on resources and increases margins, but I do struggle to see what the long-term benefits are for this approach and the effects it will have on business relationships.

For me, the best way to develop a productive, long-term trading relationship with a partner is to spend time getting to know them and to do that face-to-face. It’s vital to build a personal relationship and to invest time into the relationship in the same way that you’d invest capital into the growth and development of your business. People buy from people they trust, and the only way you can build trust is through relationships.

Face to face contact is certainly my preference when it comes to building relationships and many others agree. A recent survey by Forbes Insights, that surveyed over 750 business professionals, showed that 8 out of 10 respondents said they preferred face-to-face meetings over technology-enabled meetings such as videoconferencing.  They said that face-to-face meetings “build stronger, more meaningful business relationships” whilst allowing better social opportunities to bond with clients and co-workers. It’s also easier to read body language and facial expressions and interpret nonverbal communication signals that indicate persuasion, leadership, engagement, inspiration and decision-making.

Admittedly, video-conferencing does offer a face-to-face opportunity and web-cameras do capture some facial expressions and an element of body language, but there are still many angles that a camera doesn’t convey. And of course, when a firm relationship is in place, email and instant messenger communication can certainly aid discussions and speed things up, but to keep a relationship flowing and growing, they shouldn’t replace the face to face.

In my opinion, face to face contact is also crucial for resellers when it comes to adding new products and services to their portfolios. M2M and IoT solutions are a great example of this. One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen resellers make in the IoT space is assuming they can buy IoT services via an online portal in the same way they buy mobile or fixed line services. Whilst it’s true that most mobile sales are similar and connected via a handful of tariffs, for IoT, every deal is different and usually requires a bespoke build. This can’t be done by ticking a few boxes on a portal – it requires careful consideration and individual attention.

Here at Zest4, the rest of our team happily share my philosophy on face to face contact and that’s what makes us a great company for resellers to partner with. All of our channel partners have a team of face to face Account Managers who are available to help in whatever is needed. To help you grow your business, we’ll talk to you about new business opportunities; we’ll join you on your customer visits and sales calls; and through our dedicated partner programme, we’ll train, develop and mentor your staff on selling new technologies and new products.

To find out more about Zest4 and how we can help you grow your business, call us on 0161 956 3355 and let’s arrange a face-to-face meeting.