Belfast Telegraph

Yelling out that opportunities are available for all

David Malone, Northern Ireland divisional telesales manager at Yell, says solutions are out there to help businesses grow

Tell us about your business

Yell is a leading provider of digital services within the emerging local eMarketplace for consumers and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across operations in the UK, US, Spain and some countries in Latin America.

Building on our strong presence in the local market through our current digital and print portfolio, Yell is developing a broad range of digital services tailored to the converging needs of SMEs and consumers.

Our Northern Ireland office in Donegall Square South, Belfast opened in 2005 with financial investment from Invest NI. With a face-to-face sales presence for more than 30 years, Northern Ireland has always been a very important part of Yell's UK network. We currently have more than 230 Yell marketing consultants based in Northern Ireland, with just under 200 of those based in our Belfast office, advising small businesses all around the UK over the phone. The remaining people are in face-to-face marketing roles advising businesses based across Northern Ireland on marketing solutions to help grow their businesses.

What is your unique selling point?

Yell offers SMEs and start-ups a one-stop shop proposition for all their digital marketing needs. We produce websites, create social media pages, run Google and Bing search advertising campaigns, make videos, and run display banner ad networks, including Facebook. We are currently piloting the provision of eCommerce sites to merchants and as part of our new strategy we are developing additional new digital products to meet the needs of not just SMEs but also consumers.

Who are your customers?

Small businesses are at the heart of our business, and always have been. One of our core objectives is to help SMEs connect with their customers.

But we're also developing exciting digital services that address what we see as the converging needs of SMEs and their consumers.

What have been the biggest challenges for your business over the last year?

Our business customers all over the UK continue to experience a challenging economic environment but as confidence returns, opportunities in our market remain substantial. We continue to support small businesses by offering value for money products and services to suit all budgets and types of business, including free listings and advice as well as a range of effective marketing packages.

Where do you see the opportunities for your business in the year ahead?

Mobile will get even bigger during 2012. We have seen an explosion in consumer usage of mobile services over the past couple of years, largely driven by the rise of smartphones. Larger businesses are now starting to take advantage of this new channel to reach and interact with their customers.

How do you view the health of the Northern Ireland economy?

As with the rest of the UK and Ireland, the economic backdrop is still tough for many businesses. Nevertheless, the quality and quantity of entrants into this year's awards is just as high as in previous years, proving that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Northern Ireland. In fact, Yell is currently recruiting for a number of field and telephone based consultant roles in the region, details at:

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Plan ahead on how you are going to reach your customers.

Yell are sponsors of the Best Small/Medium Business Award in the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in association with British Midland International (bmi)