Partnerships with telecoms players O2 and BT and technology companies HP and Palo Alto Software have helped Bank of Ireland (BoI) double sales of a banking package aimed at small businesses, according to Dermot Nolan, head of business marketing at BoI.
BoI recently announced details of its Small Business Offering, part of which involves discounts on O2 handsets and BT broadband.
“We launched this offering a number of months ago,” Nolan told siliconrepublic.com. “When I looked at my sales figures before the offer was launched and since then, we’re up by 50pc. The only thing that has changed is these new partners. The banking elements are unchanged.
“The start-up offer is targeted at new businesses in Ireland,” he explained. “They get the usual free banking and free online banking for two years but with the partnerships they get a discount off the O2 handset and we also have an arrangement with BT on their broadband service so that our customers get a discount on that service too.”
Customers who sign up for the package will be eligible to receive up to 50pc off O2 line rental as well as 20pc off a mobile phone of their choice, along with free desktop text software and a choice of BlackBerry email devices at reduced prices.
They can also avail of free installation of BT broadband and an almost 18pc discount on the monthly charge.
Other benefits include up to 20pc off the HP list price on selected mobile computer devices, desktop computers, printers and network equipment, as well as €50 off Business Plan Pro 2006 and Business Plan Pro Premier 2006 from Palo Alto Software .
The bank is also partnering with Shopcreator, a UK web design company that will help BoI customers build websites at a discounted rate.
The partnerships are not exclusively tech-related: they also include deals on marketing and accountancy services with companies such as Golden Pages, DHL and Big Red Book.
Another part of the package includes a new online banking service called 365 Business which goes live next Monday.
“We’ve developed a small business version of our personal service called 365 Business,” Nolan elaborated, which, in contrast to BoI’s already existing Business Online service, “is more directed at the sole trader, the self-employed and the small operator. Customers can use either one but we felt perhaps Business Online was a bit too rich in functionality for a lot of our customers.
“The online needs of a small business are more similar to consumers than they are to a larger company,” he added.
By Niall Byrne