King’s sold on Virtual1

Optimising the sales operation in a fast growing channel business is no easy task, but Virtual1 Sales Director Jason King has approached the challenge with all his skills as a strategist and business transformer. Here, he also reveals the passions that drive his sales leadership.

When King got wind of Virtual1's plans for a national Software Defined Network roll out and CEO Tom O'Hagan's expansion strategy along with the advance of a job offer to lead the sales effort there was no looking back. "I resigned from my previous company to join the team as soon as possible," stated King. "I thrive in an environment of growth. With my experience of running successful sales teams I knew I could work with Virtual1 on its growth journey, motivating the team and reviewing its sales processes, helping the company to disrupt the marketplace with its national network roll out and portal enhancements."

The character of King's style of management quickly emerged with the introduction of a more disciplined sales structure that maps talent to opportunity. "Working with the wider Virtual1 team we have been able to align and build a clearly defined sales structure, analyse partner trends and identify opportunities to drive new markets," he added. "Remodelling the sales structure and processes has enabled the entire company to scale up quickly with an agile business model, facilitated by the high levels of automation being brought on line with the national network and SDN capability.

"Ultimately, the software defined network will make life easier for our partners. With the network being automated through 1Portal we're putting our partners in control, allowing them to make adds, moves and configuration changes themselves directly for their customers in real-time. This will enable the sales team to focus on driving incremental growth as the ‘Business as usual' becomes automated."

As well as automation, collaboration with marketing alongside recognition and reward programmes for the sales staff have empowered the team to regularly over achieve, explained King. "I have enhanced the processes around governance and added a clear career path supported by core competencies for all team members," he stated. "I was impressed by their energy, passion and enthusiasm. This is something that runs throughout the company which has gained a Two Star accreditation in the Best Companies awards. Communication and understanding with every team member is vital. By understanding what makes each team member tick and ensuring each of them are clear on the part they play in the delivery of the wider strategy, you create an environment of continuous improvement."

King is no stranger to fast-growth environments as his previous experience shows. He joined Energis in 1996 when the company generated £40 million turnover. Six years later it was a near £1 billion business. "I enjoyed a similar situation at Colt and was fortunate enough to join Virgin Media Business at the outset," added King. "I've learned that it's best to have a mixture of characters in the sales team to deliver the best results. But all team members must have drive and ambition. Belief in the Virtual1 proposition, the vision and a willingness for personal growth and development are also key."

King's historical relationships with key carriers are a boon to Virtual1 as it seeks to form new partnerships at the upper level. And King made a point of emphasising the wholesale-only nature of Virtual1's proposition. "We never compete with our partners," he stated. "Our message is one of incremental growth and how we work with partners to drive more business and win through differentiation. For example, we deliver differentiation through our various Exchanges such as SIP Exchange, UC Exchange and Cloud Exchange. Our levels of automation and API capability overlaid with SDN removes ‘brief case time' and errors through re-keying data, reducing the book-to-bill time frame. Also, our regional model gives us a local presence with national capability."

Virtual1 is attracting strong interest by converting business through speed of delivery with greater automation and APIs. "We will be able to drive costs down in markets where there has been a lack of competition as well as enhanced flexibility," said King. "We will be launching a new commercial structure to reward partners for increasing their volume with other multiple benefits through a partner programme featuring tiered pricing, opportunities for MDF and shared marketing resource to name a few. Watch this space to see how we develop our partner ecosystem."