" ITREALMS: Distributors’ impact on Etisalat’s market growth

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Distributors’ impact on Etisalat’s market growth

THE first one year of doing business is usually tagged as the most difficult part of any start-up, be it small, medium or large corporation, especially in an environment like Nigeria, where most of the ‘common’ social amenities are in absentia.

So, it calls for celebration for the Etisalat family in the country to roll out drums at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja recently, mostly to honour those the telecommunications operator envisaged as oil in its engine; the distributors of its products and services.

A distributor, according to American Heritage Dictionary is rhetorically defined as a device that applies electric current in proper sequence to the spark plugs of an engine. Consequently, distribution partners of Etisalat could be said to have been the device applied by the telecom operator as electric current, properly located nationwide to deliver its services, thus literally connecting the plugs to the engine.

So, it was not out of place for Etisalat Nigeria in reviewing its performance in the last one year of commercial deployment to come up with the strategy of rewarding these distributors, more so, according to their performances, which varies from one region to another. In view of this, Etisalat hosted over 50 major distributors in Abuja.

Speaking at the occasion tagged ‘Distribution Partners Awards,’ held a fortnight ago, the chief executive officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steven Evans, described it as a special day that offers an opportunity for the network to celebrate its distribution partners and their immense contributions to the success of the operations. He reiterated Etisalat’s commitment towards maintaining a good relationship by continuous support of the operator’s business.

Evens noted that last year, Etisalat invested $800 million and plans to spend $700million this year, insisting that investment in the network is still top priority on board’s list. Stressing that already, it has deployed 1000 cell sites and is not relenting as it plans to even roll-out more, invariably every single day, even as Etisalat is involve in co-location and site sharing talks with older GSM providers as well as independent site owners and these talks are at an advanced stages, all in order to hasten the spread of the network.

“As at today, we are in all 36 states of the nation with strong presence in over 260 towns and cities, over 2000 communities and also on 50 major and minor highways across the nation. Also, we have set a target for ourselves this year to get at least four million new subscribers onto our network so that a lot more Nigerians can experience our qualitative network and enjoy our innovative products and services.
You will recall that last year, the NCC adjudged us the best GSM network in terms of quality of service.

As said by him, the awards ceremony was particularly unique because it represented the first time any telecoms operator would recognise partners within a year of commercial roll out, an indication to show how much Etisalat appreciates them, assuring that his firm looks forward to doing bigger and better business in the future.

“Our business is principally driven by you our partners as you ensure that Nigerians are able to experience our network by bringing our products to them at all levels. Today is therefore recognition of efforts you have put into selling our SIM and recharge cards and to encourage you to do even more in the coming years,” Mr. Evans tasked, just as the business plan for 2010 is even more robust than 2009.

“We will continue to engage in promotional and other activities that will help drive sales and create a special bond between our product and our subscribers,” he said, calling to mind that in 2009 Etisalat had the biggest promo in Africa which saw the emergence of Kizito Egeonu, as the winner of $1million grand prize.

“Kizito was certainly the luckiest customer on our network last year though over 5,000 other winners won different cash prizes and gifts as well. As a global brand, we are bringing global benefits to the people of Nigeria,” he said.

Evans pointed out that Etisalat recently introduced an environment-friendly Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) into the market, otherwise called ‘ECO SIM’ and that was evidence to demonstrate that the operator is a leader in innovation in the Nigerian market.

“The ECO SIM is also a manifestation of one of our key values, caring. It shows that we care for our environment and are committed to playing our part in the reduction of our company’s carbon footprints,” Evans declared, expressing no doubt that the distributors will continue to be as supportive as you have always been.

For the Director Sales, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Tolu Ojo, distribution partners are the most crucial factor to the success of operator’s business last year and they are appreciative of this sincerely.

At Etisalat, Ojo said, they believe very strongly in reward system where people are appreciated and celebrated for achieving success with renewed commitment for greater performance, as well as recognise the need for bonding with the partners while providing the necessary marketing and promotional support for a mutually beneficial experience.

This year, the director said, promises to be more rewarding for business and telco. As part of the support for business, he said, distributors have all been provided with trade agents that are assigned to their territories to assist them in pushing products to retail touch points thereby helping in developing these territories in terms of product availability and penetration, which has ultimately translated into an increasing rate of stock turn around.

In further support for the distributor, he said, they also decided to implement a trade credit scheme in view of the tight financial climate the industry is witnessing. “This will help alleviate the liquidity problem most of you are currently experiencing thus ensuring product purchase and availability in your various outlets,” he said.

Ojo pointed out that as a flexible and world class organisation that is open to change and constantly trying to improve the way to do business, the operator is currently having a team of internationally-acclaimed consultants, specialising in market execution strategies who are reviewing the channel strategies with a mandate to make recommendations that will help Etisalat to deliver better value.

“You will also feel our support via road shows and town storms to increase awareness directly among prospective subscribers to our products and services. We are also committed to provide you with prompt stocks of our products and services thereby eliminating gaps that could cost you loss of revenue as our partnership progresses this year,” he said.

One major issue critical to meeting this year’s target, he said, is the SIM registration regime of the Nigerian Communications Commission, which Etisalat has put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that the process of registration runs smoothly without any negative impact on the operations.

“Let me use this opportunity to request for your feedback as at when necessary. We are committed to providing a feedback mechanism to ensure better understanding of your needs and challenges. Let it be understood that your feedback is a valuable platform to understand challenges and needs and the feedback will also provide us with the opportunity to serve you better,” Ojo submitted.

Pledging that Etisalat would continue to avail its partners with innovative products and services which the operator has come to be known for globally and periodically provide platforms to review performances, share thoughts and understand expectations for improved business success.

The event saw Etisalat rewarding its distribution partners with high profile gifts including, all expense paid trips to Dubai, 12 seater-buses, generators, laptops and a host of other prizes.

Based on their performances for 2009, the winning partners were adjudged to have supported the company the most at regional and national levels, with beneficiaries drawn from six categories, namely the highest dealership growth, highest airtime sales, highest percentage of SIM activations, best virtual airtime distributor, best trade key account distributor and distribution partner with the best overall performance per region.

A total of 30 distribution partners were honoured with different prizes with the top seven nationwide rewarded with all expenses paid trips to Dubai and a 12 seater bus each.

There were over 70 distribution partners and their guests in attendance at the memorable event which was also graced by several dignitaries including the Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Sylvester Anyawu, Director Compliance, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs Akiode, Assistant Director Legal and Regulatory Affairs NCC, Mrs Akinloye and a representative of the Consumer Protection Council, Mr. Edward Amlai among others.

Appreciation Etisalat for the gesture, chief executive, Stanqueen Investments ltd, Mr. Stanley Iherobiem noted that a company that is smart enough to honour its dealers like this knows its onions.

“What Etisalat has done tonight is a crystal clear indication that the company cares about its partners,” he declared. Stanqueen Investments emerged winner in highest airtime sales award, Lagos north region and best overall performance award in Lagos north region respectively.

Other distribution partners in the best overall performance category included Cantstop Nigeria Ltd (Lagos South Region), Helpline Telecoms Nigeria Ltd (South West Region), Gabros Divine Technologies Ltd (South South Region), Vicyntel Enterprises Nigeria Ltd (South East Region), Alennsar Infinity Company Nigeria Ltd (North Central Region) and Jihan Global Services Ltd.

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1 comment:

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