Swedish Startup Space

Rebtel Recruits Sales Activists To Outsell Its Competitors

Written by on April 26, 2016
Editors Note: This post is part of a series called Featured posts, presented by Breakit.

Swedish startup Rebtel takes a new approach to reach out with its VOIP service. The company is now creating a new sales staff from its customer base with a new “activist app”.

Rebtel was founded by Hjalmar Winbladh and Jonas Lindroth in 2006. After keeping a low profile for a few years, the service was relaunched early in 2016.

The company hopes that the new app, Rebel Calling – yes, that’s what it’s called, is going to change how we make international calls. The difference from, for example, Skype and Viber is that you do not need to be connected to the internet and the app will cost $ 1 a month to use.

The app uses your mobile operator to connect locally to the Rebtel server. The call is then routed over the Internet to the phone number you wish to call almost anywhere in the world. The result is, according to Rebtel, that people can make international calls via local calls – with the same quality and reliability as regular mobile phones.

But, as mentioned previously, Rebtel is not the only company that tries to cut international call fees with VOIP. That’s why the company is now taking the next step on the journey – changing the sales process for phone services.

“The distribution of telecom was built in the 90’s. We still go on Kungsgatan and just happen to walk into a telecom shop, which is not particularly enjoyable. You meet a salesperson you might not really trust, and do not always understand what you’re signing”, Fredrik Wrahme, CMO at Rebtel, says.

Rebtel is now launching a so-called activist program, in cooperation with the mobile marketing agency BBH Stockholm, to change that. The idea is to cut out all the middlemen and turn the company’s most loyal customers into digital entrepreneurs and get them to recruit their friends, acquaintances and other people to the service.

Every new customer that you attract into the system provides about $20.

“In this way we create a communication channel that goes straight towards the target group which feels much more honest. They rely more on their friends than the traditional merchant, “says Fredrik Wrahme.

Johan Granlund, COO and Head of Sales, is in Gothenburg, but video conferences in when we meet Rebtel. He describes the activist program by drawing parallels to the transport company Uber.

“It is heavily inspired by Uber and turn our customers into contractors. If you sign up 20 customers in a week you’ll earn $400. Most of our activists are students who leave their night jobs as Uber drivers or servers to sell our products”, Johan Granlund says.

People can apply to becoma a Rebtel dealer by downloading a special activist app. The service is currently only available in the US. A pilot project was introduced in Miami in February. There are many Cuban groups there that Rebtel has chosen to target first.

“We already have several hundred activists and are still growing by 30 percent per week. We do not disclose the sales figures for the program, but a significant part of our total sales are already made through this channel after just two months”, Johan Granlund says.

The goal is to launch in more US cities to subsequently scale the concept to additional markets.

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