In March we announced our strategic partnership with Telefónica and the new opportunities and enhanced capabilities that would be generated for large enterprise and MNC customers across our respective geographic footprints as a result.
The partnership was a big moment for both companies, and we wanted to give personal insight on how and why the partnership came about and what it means for CKH Innovations Opportunities Development (CKH IOD), Telefónica and our collective customers.
Mark Freer, Global Head of Sales & Channel Enablement Multinational Customers at Telefónica Business Solutions and Sean Doherty, Head of Enterprise at CKH IOD, sat down recently to discuss the partnership. What follows is an in-depth look at both sides of the partnership and what it means for the future.
What does the partnership mean for enterprise customers?
"For our customers with international operations it means we are much more relevant to them in terms of geographic coverage and the products and services we can offer."
- Mark Freer, Telefónica
Mark Freer: For our customers with international operations it means we are much more relevant to them in terms of geographic coverage and the products and services we can offer. In Europe, we can more effectively deliver communication and digital services across the major countries including Germany, France, Spain and now Italy through Wind Tre.
Sean Doherty: For our customers, the partnership means access to global products and solutions that have been tried and tested by Telefónica and are today used by some of the world’s largest enterprises. For CKH IOD sales teams we will work with Telefónica on expanding our relationship with our customers and prospects into Telefónica territories and vice versa for Telefónica.
What does the partnership mean for both CKH IOD and Telefónica?
SD: This alliance with Telefónica further increases our relevance within B2B. Telefónica has a strong B2B heritage and the global presence that Telefónica has forged throughout the world will complement our local presence perfectly.
MF: From a partnership perspective, we were particularly interested in a number of markets in which Three already has a strong presence. Italy, in particular, is significant. Many of our multi-national customers don’t have headquarters in Italy but do have a presence. The initial focus will be on growing this side of the business and addressing the needs of our customers in the region by giving them the flexibility and agility they need to transform. Wind Tre is a critical partner in this initiative and our commercial team will be working closely with them to align their strong domestic B2B capabilities in Italy with our global value proposition and digital-first sales approach.
Why is now a good time for the partnership?
MF: Both groups recognise that B2B is a very relevant marketplace in both our enterprise and multi-national segments. Telefónica’s B2B operation has a clear growth strategy that Wind Tre can leverage. The combination of Telefónica’s global presence and network of partners will make us more relevant for customers in the global market.
SD: There were a number of different factors. It was the right time to explore opportunities in Italy and Europe.
"Our customers are looking to partner with companies that have an established European presence, and which can help them to get the most from their technology investment going forward."
What has been the response to the partnership so far?
MF: We have had positive external press coverage which certainly suggests the partnership is both relevant in the marketplace and of interest. The focus now is to get our account managers to consider offerings where Three have coverage and are able to support customer proposals. Executives from both Telefónica (Juan Vicente Martin, our MNC Global Director) and Wind Tre (Gianluca Corti, Commercial Director for Wind Tre) are both engaged and supportive of the partnership and are driving direct engagement with customers. We have also recently had executive meetings with Enel/Endesa (which has its HQ in Italy) to explain the partnership and the improved coverage, services and products we can now deliver to customers and help them on their digital transformation journey as a result.
SD: Internally, there is a lot of excitement among our sales teams. Externally, the feedback from customers has been excellent with many saying that the consolidation of offerings between the two companies in their complementary geographic footprints will help them to access new territories and consider new digital services.
How do you see the partnership developing over the next year?
SD: We have hired a team of global account managers specifically to focus on multinational customers. They have sales and revenue targets that need to be achieved before the end of the year and once this is completed, we can continue to grow and expand the model.
We’ve learned a lot through our rollout in Italy and the plan is to streamline and mirror these processes as we roll out to other operating companies in the future. We will have self-sufficient teams in place that are totally up to speed on our global offerings.
MF: It is essential that we show commercial success together in 2019. Some very specific targets have been set around developing engagement, opportunities and business with customers, in particular into and out of Italy. We envisage these targets being met and the partnership growing in a similar way to other partnerships we have developed. For example, in France we have a more mature joint venture with Bouygues Telecom which allows us to service the international requirements of French MNCs.
Of course, developing these relationships, building brand credibility and taking customers on a new digital transformation journey takes time. However, with the right targets and objectives in place, we expect to grow and explore options that develop the partnership further as we move into 2020.