The right call: how Ciqual connected with Vodafone

Thanks to a leading GlobalScot, a promising opportunity to engage with a telecoms giant turned into a real catalyst for growth.

Most technology firms can only dream about pitching their products to the senior team of one of the world's leading telecoms operators. But for Edinburgh-based Ciqual, the dream became a reality when an initial phone chat with GlobalScot Kyle Whitehill, CEO of Vodafone Qatar, led to an invitation to travel to Doha to pitch to the company's management team.

Ciqual delivers customer experience management services to mobile operators which allow them to take quick action to identify and resolve any issues customers have. Recognising the potential of the firm's technology, Kyle's willingness to open doors to the key decision-makers at Vodafone was a real turning point for Ciqual.
David Bonner, vice president of marketing for Ciqual, said: "Thanks to Kyle's sponsorship, our CEO Tom Walls was able to pitch to the full senior team of Vodafone, including their chief financial, procurement and technology officers.
"Getting all those guys in the one room is the sort of breakthrough that a GlobalScot can deliver. All companies like ours ask for is the opportunity to tell our story to people of influence and for them to make an assessment on whether or not it's worthwhile doing more with us."

Connecting with key influencers

Ciqual's relationship with Vodafone developed rapidly due to Kyle's decision to introduce the company to influencers within his organisation.David continues: "The type of help companies like ours really value is the opportunity to make a pitch and go for a sale. Small companies find it difficult to get to the real decision-makers and, under normal circumstances, we wouldn't get access to the board of Vodafone Qatar."
"The chief executive of a major company is the best possible starting place and it's very rare for a start up to get the opportunity to pitch to the CEO of an organisation like Vodafone. Typically, you have to work lower down in the organisation, show value and then work on getting higher visibility. But the ability to get in and the first guy you meet is the CEO - that almost never happens."

Developing a growth plan

Ciqual's pitching opportunity turned into a sale, which David admits would not have happened without Kyle's backing.
"We made our first sale into Vodafone Qatar in July 2014 and a follow-on sale to them in early 2015. Kyle's continuing support has since led to an introduction to senior people at Vodafone India. "We're focusing heavily on Vodafone as we see the Qatar sale as the start of a significant amount of business we could do with them across the world.I can't speak highly enough of Kyle in the sense that he took a risk on us. He wanted to make something happen for us and we've done a good job of meeting his expectations of what he thought we could do for his organisation."

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