Here are 5 things to think about before approach an Agent:
- What is your Value Proposition? As an unknown brand, why would an agent sell your stuff instead of a branded quantity like Level3, XO, Packet8, New Edge, etc.?
- Do you have the marketing available to support an agent? In other words, a message, a product webpage, testimonials, a sales engineer, a proposal template, a quote form, etc.
- What is your commission structure? Agents want a cut of the monthly recurring bill for as long as the customer uses your services. Can you profitably afford that with your margins? Can you track these commissions and pay them in a timely and accurate manner?
- What is the internal sales process? After an agent brings you a lead, what happens? How does the agent get a quote? How long to get a quote? to get a contract? to place the order? What do the status updates look like?
- Is your company a good fit for this agent? Why? (Also, is the agent a good fit for your company's sales goals?)
When an agent is representing your company, he is lending his reputation in the marketplace to you. When a company burns an agent or the agent's customer, it creates an environment of distrust, which in telecom is what we see a good amount of.
Everyone likes to use agent and channel partner as inter-changeable. They aren't. A Channel Partner is someone that adds value and is valued by his (or her) vendor partner.