ADT officials weren’t available for comment when I wrote recently about an industry’s analyst’s report on how ADT had “culled” about 100 low-performing companies in order to improve its dealer program over the past year.
But in an ADT investor call last Friday, Alan Ferber, president of ADT’s residential business unit, confirmed much of what the analyst, Jeff Kessler, Imperial Capital’s managing director of institutional research, had said. Ferber also outlined ways ADT is working to “stabilize” that channel.
According to Seeking Alpha, which published a transcript of the Dec. 6 investor call, Ferber said:
So in 2013, we began to optimize our dealer channel to focus more resources on those that are [indiscernible] to evolving with ADT's overall direction and the trend towards automation. And while we're eliminating about 100 dealers, which obviously impacted overall net adds, our focus on the right dealers has resulted in the quality of the customers that come through that channel to remain high and actually have been improving. ARPU is about 10% above our average ARPU and growing about 5% over the past year and the creation multiple has actually come down even though there's been an increase in SAC. But we do remain focused on strengthening and continue to optimize this dealer channel to drive growth over time.
… In addition, channel growth was impacted by some changes among our largest dealers. We purchased 1, 1 had some cash flow issues that impacted their ability to increase adds and 1 left ADT for a competitive program. I'm very pleased, however, to report that, that dealer has now returned to the ADT family once he experienced the negative impact on his business of not having the powerful ADT brand behind him. So it's reconfirmed our dealer value proposition with that dealer and with many other dealers as well.
But more importantly, we're taking a number of actions to stabilize this channel. We are investing in enhanced funding to help drive further Pulse adoption, particularly higher end Pulse, where that higher level of automation has a very significant retention benefit as well. And increased funding will also enable some incremental sales and marketing activities by our dealers and also the recruitment of new high-quality dealers that are positioned to further drive automation.
… We're also investing in staffing and support to ensure success. We've added resources to provide better support for planning and performance management, and we've enhanced training and other tools to get new and existing dealers more productive, particularly with our new services. And while we certainly expect some noise in the next couple of quarters, we do believe these actions are establishing a very strong foundation for growth over time.