iiNet Business admits it has been neglecting its resellers and is undergoing changes to make the most of its channel base.
The ISP has traditionally been more focused on the consumer segment but is looking to ramp up its Business unit.
“There is an opportunity for iiNet business to exceed the consumer side,” iiNet’s head of Business, Greg Bader, told ARN. “Many of the things that have made iiNet strong in the consumer side – simplicity, value for money, easy to deal with – are 100 per cent transportable to the business segment as well.”
Through the acquisition of Westnet in 2008, and subsequently TransACT and Internode last year, iiNet inherited a large reseller base that has largely been neglected. The ISP categories resellers as partners that support 1-15 seat companies while system integrators and high-end channel partners deal with larger clients.
“It would be fair to say we never really did support that reseller base as much as we could have,” Bader said. “Specifically for the resellers, I can apologise for history.
“We are going through the process at the moment, especially on the Business side, of looking at the resellers we have that are capable and want to support or sell our range of products.”
Having now released a range of products that suit business customers of all sizes, iiNet saw it as a good time to reconnect with its reseller base and cultivate it accordingly.
“Historically, our resellers have found out about new products as the same time as he market did – it was the wrong way to do it,” Bader said. “These guys need to be brought in as a valued part of our team and they need to contribute to innovation and development of products because they are touching customers just as much as we are.”
iiNet plans to provide resellers with additional support through hiring dedicated channel staff.
Currently, 95 per cent of customers go through iiNet directly, according to Bader. Within 24 months, he wants to see around 20 per cent of the business going through the channel.
The first step will be shrinking down its reseller base. Ideally, iiNet wants around 10 or so resellers that have a good rapport with their local community as well as being aligned with iiNet’s brand and culture. They will not only be focused on offering telecommunications but IT products and services as well to offer a holistic solution to customers.
These resellers will most likely be located in regional or outer metropolitan areas.
iiNet has significant amount of infrastructure in regional areas already.
“Going forward we do want a small select group of partners,” Bader said. “If partners do well then we do well so it’s obviously in our best interest to support them properly.”