Jola Cloud Solutions' Blog

Four awards in the last five months

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 11:48:12

Jola, the channel’s leading mobile data specialist, won four prestigious channel awards in the last five months. In June, Cherie Howlett, our Marketing Director won the very first Comms Business, Women in Channel Award.  In October at the Comms National Awards, Jola won Best Wholesale Service Provider and Best Mobile Distributor. Last week at the CRN Women in Channel Awards, Cherie Howlett was named Entrepreneur of the Year.

We established Jola five and a half years ago. Andrew Dickinson, Adrian Sunderland, Lee Broxson, Cherie Howlett and Antony Dearden were the founders. We had previously worked together at Griffin Internet, as had Rob Stevens, who joined us in July 2016. The team has grown to twenty seven, supporting over six hundred channel partners. We run the company using very similar values to those used at Griffin, customer first, accountability, results, integrity and respect.

Jola’s ethos is to work with partners to uncover profitable opportunities, which generate recurring revenues, increase ARPU and build eBITDA, whilst keeping operating costs to a minimum. We do the hard work with the carriers to provide resellers with a wide choice of products, at the best possible pricing, with tools to make ordering, provisioning, management, support and billing easy. We focus on developing innovative new products such as Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams Phone System and eSIMs to give resellers a way to profit from new technologies and win against the retail carriers. We are passionate about helping partners succeed and grow and just as passionate about supporting our own staff to reach their potential.

We are one of the fastest growing companies in the channel and look to recruit bright, can-do professionals, who can grow with us. We are a diverse organisation with an inclusive ethos, great benefits and flexible working. We use the products we sell, champion our employees and the resellers they support.

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Topics: marketing

New Business

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 11:12:16

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%. So why, when it is five times more expensive to win new business than it is to retain existing partners we can cross-sell and up-sell to, do we focus all of our efforts and budget on new business?

I think it is because we are looking for bigger and better deals to help grow the business. We want bigger brand names to add to our case studies and to be able to provide, in many cases, much more of a solution to embed customers with us, reduce churn and increase ARPU.

We often underestimate how long it takes to; build a list of key prospects, craft campaigns, build trusted relationships, have the exact proposition they need, in a situation where they can’t get it from their existing supplier. As a marketer or salesperson with a big target, time is not our friend.

In the meanwhile, crafting campaigns to existing customers can help get some quick wins and build confidence in the strategy. Adding new product content to communications, presentations and proposals, especially as an easy up-sell, can be really effective.

The other short cut comes from existing relationships. If you have a trusted relationship within a prospect you can often leverage this to get you in-front of the right people to understand requirements with a view to start proposing a solution. Being sponsored into a new prospect by an existing customer is very powerful and should be encouraged.

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Topics: marketing

Marketing Tips for New Partners

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 15-Nov-2019 10:49:20

New partners tend to sign contracts with a new supplier either because they have made a strategic decision to add complementary services to their portfolio, or they are working on an opportunity which requires services they do not sell.

The first scenario is often driven by the senior management team, engaging departments as required, to help onboard a new product. They have a clear idea on who their target audience is, their requirements and price points to win business. They are familiar with competitive offerings and are keen to leverage USPs. They know how to package and position solutions to gain competitive advantage, and are quick to act.

These partners are happy to use white-label marketing materials to enhance their own website, campaigns and sales literature. They focus on the products that exactly meet their requirements and quickly skill-up, in order to sell, provision bill and support. They track their success financially and put pressure on suppliers to ensure they continue to win, in changing market conditions.

The second scenario is driven by a current opportunity. Pricing is key as well as a successful test of the product. If the testing goes well and the commercials cost-in, orders are placed as and when they are needed. If deals are successful, they may be productised. Focus is often on the original deal and case studies and testimonials crafted to support sales and marketing campaigns to win similar deals.

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Topics: marketing

The benefits of sponsorship

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-May-2019 09:12:21

Sponsorship is the financial or in-kind support of an activity. It is used to reach specified business goals and is considered a qualitative rather than quantitative medium, aligning a company with a person, activity or event. In the channel there are plenty of opportunities to sponsor awards and events and there are companies working with well-known sports people.

Enhancing brand image and customer relations

Many companies associate themselves with popular, well-established events, that appeal to their target audience. The objective is to shape buying habits and influence decision making, by creating a positive emotional connection with their target audience.

Building brand awareness

By sponsoring an event you have the chance to get your brand name in-front of your audience at an opportune time. You can often promote your attendance in advance and address your audience directly on the night. The objective is to influence decision makers, so that when they have a need for your services, they remember your brand name and can locate your contact details.

Increasing reach

A good sponsorship opportunity will enable you to reach targets you can’t easily contact through other channels. It can promote positive word of mouth, with potential for positive conversations long after the event. It can generate supporting press and brand coverage, before and after the event.

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Topics: marketing, MSPs

Productising Processes

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 29-Jan-2019 17:03:53

In the channel we are well-versed in productising products and services. We know how to package them, how to promote them and how to sell them, promoting our USPs over the competition. We seem to accept processes as part and parcel and rarely productise them. Are we missing a trick?

When the processes we offer form part of our USPs, we are definitely missing a trick by not productising them. Everyone says they offer ‘excellent customer service’, but what if this is the one thing you know makes you different from the competition? By productising your processes, you can demonstrate the value to your customer base and reap the benefits.

Where to start?

By defining your customers needs. What are customers looking for? How do you meet these requirements better than the rest? What evidence do you have to support this? By noting down the journey, you can productise your unique process, reflecting back the customers’ needs and how you are meeting them.

Understand success

By mapping processes next to KPIs to help you track success, you can start to see how you achieved success. Analyse your biggest customer deals, where did the original lead come from? How was it generated? How was it converted? How was the first opportunity generated? How was this closed? How was the order placed and processed? How did you prevent any installation issues? How did you ensure the customer was billed correctly? How did the customer feel when the first order had gone live? What support was given along the way? How does the customer rate the support given?

Map your unique process

Once successful order journeys have been mapped, unique processes ensuring success become visible. Describe and name each step of the process. Write it up as a flyer and advertise it on your website and as part of your proposals.

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Topics: marketing, jola

How to update your website, without damaging your Google rankings

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 27-Nov-2018 12:53:13

If you are thinking about re-designing your website, it is important to consider your SEO – Search Engine Optimisation, to ensure any changes you make, do not have a negative impact on web enquiries.

Strategy

The first thing to do is to revisit your SEO strategy and consider how major changes may affect this. For example, you may have written many blogs on a subject, which include source links back to your webpage. If you decide to remove this webpage completely, when readers click through your blog pages, they will receive error messages instead of the content you wanted to point them to. By mapping your existing strategy, you can ensure that page links are re-directed to the new content.

Structure

Secondly, consider your structure. It is important to ensure that any new URLs, page titles and meta descriptions all match up properly, because if they don’t this may affect your Google rankings and key word traffic. This may result in your prospects not finding you when they need you.

Build on what you have

If you have a good flow of high quality web leads, you should protect this. Don’t remove historically important pages, edit them instead and build additional content and links into those key pages.

Understand your site structure

Spend time understanding the flow of traffic to your website and where visitors spend their time. It is worth mapping all the URLs your content points people to, to ensure any changes do not break old links.

Noindex

It is worth ticking the noindex box to ensure Google does not index your test site pages as you are drafting them, otherwise when you launch you will create duplicate content, which has no value in the eyes of Google.

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Topics: marketing

Repositioning your brand

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 21-Nov-2018 10:37:06

As part of our on-boarding process at Jola, we help partners with current opportunities and explain how our product portfolio can help them to win them. Many join us with a growing need for internet connectivity or hosted voice, and as they move through our training programme, they uncover opportunities for additional services such as mobile data.

Adding new services can lead to brand repositioning, to reflect new solutions and USPs in key vertical markets. It is tempting to think that by changing your website you will achieve brand repositioning, however the strategy will impact every area of your business.

Where to start

Start by establishing why you are repositioning your brand. The reasons why will determine the extent of change that is necessary. For example, if you want to be known as a specialist in one area, you need to research the market, the suppliers, the competition, the customers and the products, to see where you fit into it and how you can differentiate yourself within it.

Testing

Test your messaging to ensure it reflects reality. Are you the market leader? If you are, then back it up with facts. It you are a new entrant, you need to test your content and your messaging over time, to reflect reality. Build up case studies and testimonials across key verticals and target similar prospects, to build market share. Ensure you use the right terminology, as this will help prospects find you.

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Topics: marketing

Top tips for channel partners launching new products

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 31-Oct-2018 11:20:40

Over the last twelve months Jola has launched on average, one new product a month. This takes a lot of detailed planning to ensure we have the right product, at the right price, which meets the specific needs of our partners and their customers. Once we have launched a new product, we help our partners launch to their customers and measure success against clearly defined targets. We have developed some top tips to help partners with their own launch process as follows.

Step 1 – Know your audience

It is tempting to think that every customer will benefit from your latest new product, but this is rarely the case. We encourage partners to think about problems faced by existing customers, which the new product could solve. We then get more granular in defining the problem and the characteristics of the customers that could benefit. From this we build a list of top prospects.

Step 2 – Plan your communication

Using the information gathered in step one, we encourage partners to define the problem, then simply explain the solution, outlining what the product is, what it does and how it solves the problem. We provide a lot of the basic information, but it is important to tailor the content with specific concerns and relatable solutions. We advise partners to research the competition to understand how their solution is different and promote the differences over and above what is already available. This information gets written up on web sites and incorporated into campaign materials.

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Topics: marketing

How did you measure the success of your last event?

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 25-Sep-2018 09:49:05

So often success is measured on anecdotal evidence. “It’s not as busy as it was last year...” “I was expecting more...” On the basis of one or two opinions, events can be deemed successful or not worth repeating.

Most marketers will be ready with measurables, such as leads generated, meetings conducted and predicted returns, however unless objectives and success were defined prior to the event, the figures lose their impact.

Before planning an event, it is useful to draft objectives, set a strategy and outline deliverables. Involve key parties, such as the sales team, to set joint targets everyone agrees defines success.

Key measures such as total cost of exhibiting, hosting or attending, plus total visitor numbers are good to gather as a starting point. You can then set targets for lead generation against costs, or as a percentage of the total audience, and follow up with leads converted and order values over time. This way you can calculate the return on investment and time taken to achieve the return.

Analysis of last year’s attendees and performance compared to this year’s statistics, gives you facts you can analyse. You can also compare visitor numbers and break them down into target audience and compare that with the number of leads generated. If target audience numbers were up and leads were down, you may want a closer look at how the stand was run.

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Topics: marketing

Balancing the ‘new’ with the tried and tested

Posted by Cherie Howlett on 19-Sep-2018 14:23:31

The challenge for marketing teams in the channel is to continually promote their USPs to win new business, without becoming predictable. As marketers, we plan our strategy to deliver on objectives. Overtime we develop messaging and campaigns that work and we know which buttons to press to get results. We need to balance new copy with existing key messages, to stay on track.

Business owners are often focussed on the ‘next big idea’ and can influence copy. Some companies change their brand, their messaging and their offer regularly to stay fresh, but can lose brand identity and enthusiasm for the campaign, if it doesn’t deliver expected results.

As marketers, we know that prospects don’t absorb every key message the first time they see it. It takes time and several touch points to attract their attention, engage with them and convert them. We also know the importance of key messages and layouts to differentiate ourselves and build a recognisable brand.

Don’t be tempted to throw out what is working in favour of the next new idea. Try to incorporate the new idea into existing templates, that contain key messages and USPs. This way the copy can be regularly updated to meet changing demands of the market, without losing your brand identity and key messages.

Reporting is key. By analysing engagement, conversions and order value, you can see if the new campaign is working and make necessary changes.

For more marketing tips, read our blog.

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Topics: marketing

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