MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDERS: MASTER AGENT OR DIRECT CHANNEL?
The question is simple: should you work as a managed service provider or as an agent of a direct channel provider (read: big shot phone company sales rep). There are several questions that you should ask yourself when trying to make that decision:
- Do you want to make huge money regardless of the outcome for the client?
- Do you know what the rates of other companies are and do you even care?
- Will you lose any sleep over closing a deal that was less than ideal?
If the answer to these questions were all a resounding, eyes gleaming, cash register clanging shut in your head, YES, then you should work as a rep for a direct channel, as in a major phone company or other telecommunications giant.
- Do you want to find the best possible solution for each of your clients?
- Do you think that good service at a fair price is not too much to ask for?
- Would you find it easier to sleep at night if all of the deals that you closed that day were the ideal for each client?
If the answer to these questions were yes, then you are better suited to work as a master agent or managed service provider. The benefits of this career choice for both you and your potential clients are substantial.
A master agent is vendor neutral. Simply put, he does not have to push the services of one company over another. His pay is not based on getting you to take Company A over Company B for instance. His pay is based on getting you, the client, the best telecommunications package that he can find for you. It does not matter if you choose one company or another; it simply matters that you get the right level of service and the right pricing plan.
For the client, the benefits of using the master agent start with convenience. Instead of having to call five companies and deal with five different high pressure, commission-driven sales reps, you can deal with the master agent who can get these five quotes for you- you then can review them and discuss the factors with the agent. You do not have to do anything but sign the contract.
In some cases, the agent may have to take figures to one vendor to negotiate a better pricing plan, something that you could do yourself as well, however you may not be as effective. The carriers know that the managed services providers can get them plenty of work so they want to keep them happy- the only way that they can manage to do this is by providing the best rates and service plans for the customers. When you are working with the phone company directly, they are looking at you like a single entity even if you are a large company- you are still only one rather than many.