More Agents or Lift the Ones You Have?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

More Agents or Lift the Ones You Have?

If you are a carrier or a Master Agent, do you need more agents or do you need to give a lift to the ones you have?

There's a sales management theorem that when you use Pareto's Principle, you should spend you time with the Top 20% of your sales force not the bottom 20%. Why? Because the people bringing 80% of your sales are the ones you want to keep happy. Also, the more efficient and less bumpy you can make the sales process for them, the better for all the sales team, but especially the top dogs.

If you have a bunch of agents who signed up, what are you doing with them? Is your Channel Manager talking with them? What's he saying? The more you know about their business, the bigger the opportunity for you to actually work together.

Knowing the goals and strategy of your agents can help you target training, leads, case studies, white papers, and tips to them. The more relevant, the better.

Right now, I would be looking to add value to my agent channel. How?
  1. Seminar with a tax specialist right now.
  2. Seminar with a Financial Planner about IRA and the market
  3. Seminar with a sales trainer for improvement in Consultative Selling
What? None of this has to do with telecom, you say? No kidding. But it shows that you value them as business people and want them to be successful. Sure. You could give them more webinars on MPLS or whatever the new acronymn is for cloud-based WAN connections, but are you really adding value? Do you know the Kawasaki 10-20-30 Rule? Do you survey your channel anonymously to get feedback on any training you give -
  • one week later what do they remember;
  • was it valuable time spent;
  • what can they directly apply;
  • any clients in the database that might be a fit now?
  • do you know how to pitch the service/product?
  • do you know who we target? and why?
  • have you looked at your notes since the call?
  • is working with you "easy & enjoyable"?
A couple of years ago, one carrier asked me what they could do to make working with them easier. Since I am rather direct, I answered explaining about the poor follow up. Sadly, it was never addressed. If you are going to drop the coin on a channel, don't set it up for failure.

As we head into Channel Partners Expo in Vegas, carriers and master agents will be looking for new agents and visiting with old ones.
  • What are you specifically looking for in your next agent?
  • What questions will I ask a prospective agent?
  • Are we a quoting machine or lowest priced carrier?
  • Does the agent already have a carrier like us? If so, why is he looking?
And I know some of you are thinking, "We just want to sign up agents!" Sure, but it isn't about numbers. It's about Enrolling partners into your Program." (or maybe it is just a Numbers Game - lots of agents, thousands of quotes, hope for the best, why aren't they selling my stuff?).

Right now, wholesale VoIP providers are looking for me to help them train their customers to sell more SIP trunking and Hosted PBX. They want their client ITSP's to be more successful. If you are a VOIP company and you have 75+ partners, is that a successful channel? Not unless 15 of those partners are selling a deal every week.

I'm not saying don't add new agents. I'm saying look at your current agents and figure out how to make them more successful so that they can create more revenue for you. It is a partnership after all.

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