Several Carriers have notified agents that in 2011, they will be "managing to their contracts". "Some Carriers are having monthly reviews with their Contract Divisions to see which Agents are not meeting their obligations. While most Carriers were open to allowing Agents to roll their bases under a Master in 2010, we are seeing this to be a lot more difficult in 2011."
I would take this as a heads-up to review your own contracts to see what you need to do to secure your commission streams in 2011.
Some ideas might be the following:
- sell your smallest contract to another agency;
- partner with a VAR or MSP to assist you in meeting your commitment level for Carrier B;
- collaborate with Carrier Y on ways to market their services more effectively;
- roll your smaller contracts up under a Master if you can.
Meanwhile, Smoothstone has restructured their Pre-Sales support structure to help Agents get the assistance they need to win deals. This support now consists of three RSMs - Regional Sales Managers - who will help Agents qualify prospects for Smoothstone and local Sales Engineers, who will help quote and close the deals.
As carriers try to sell more "Cloud services", Sales Engineers will play a key role in the sales process, which will become a bottleneck to sales. The other key aspect is that the carrier needs to know exactly who the best prospect is and what they look like in order to maximize closing ratios and minimize SE's spending time on unlikely prospects.