For over the last 20 years in my career, I have realized one thing that agents and programs I worked with had in common. When they brought up a sale for the customer, they barely cared about the solutions but only asked one simple question, “What is the SPIFF?”
A Master Agent vs a Master Solutions Provider
For every business, the importance of revenue earned every month is undeniable. For those who work as agents, the chances of earning some SPIFF as a bonus from their vendors are even more desirable. That’s why agents seem to care about how much they can earn from sale above everything else and leave aside all after-sale period, which includes:
- project management
- training and support.
If the end users bring up questions or have any issues after the project is completed, agents usually point them to the vendor and move on. Agents don’t get paid for what they know but for who they know, so if a customer asks about a product or a service agents cannot provide, they tend to pass the customer on to somebody else. This shows that agents have more interest in short-term sales than maintaining long-term relationships with customers. And this is a legit way of doing business as long as everyone's interests are being satisfied. However, if we take everything into considerations, we will understand why these people get into a business of being agents only.
Master Agents serve as a hub for the agents by consolidating the access to multiple solutions and a convenient 'one-window' billing platform, and distributing the available SPIFFs from their vendors for the deals closed by their agents.
A Master Solution Provider, on the other hand, cares about customers after-sale experience and owns the entire projects from discovery through implementation and beyond. By combining the access to multiple solutions (just like the Master Agent) with top notch engineering resources, Master Solutions Provider can help their Partners focus on their own business by managing the whole project from A to Z. Thus, Master Solutions Provider is the perfect resource for companies like MSPs for the specific projects they are challenged to handle by themselves. UCaaS and CCaaS projects are the perfect example.
This allows the MSPs, who work hard to build their customer base, retain and serve their customers better by providing the wider portfolio of solutions backed up with the expertise and care for the customer experience.
Let’s dive in into more details to see how collaborating with a Master Solutions Provider can help a managed IT company reduce the risk of losing their customers.
How a Master Solutions Provider helps IT companies reduce the risk of losing customers
Sometimes MSPs might have to refer their customer to an agent for the solutions they don’t provide themselves. In such case, MSP doesn't have control over the experience customer get during and after the sales process, neither MSP can influence the choice of the solution and the flow of the project. If the customer gets disappointed they might blame the MSP for the poor reference and the hard-earned trusted relationships can get jeopardized.
In another scenario, once established the relationships with a customer after this first referred deal, an agent might approach them with competing offerings using the buying power of the Master Agent to get an access to solutions and SPIFFs.
By allowing partnerships with a Master Solutions Provider, MSPs can avoid a lot of risks they might have when referring to an agent. Here's what MSP can expect when working with a Master Solutions Provider:
- They act as a representative of an MSP, who are willing to support top solutions without making SPIFF a priority.
- They will recommend the best possible product and work hand in hand with an MSP and a customer to select the right product.
- They follow the proven procedure that includes discovery, project management, installation, training and support to ensure the best outcome for the customer.
- They take control of every aspect of implementation and after-sale period. If there’s a problem arising after your network is built, give them a call and they will surely fix it for you.
- You get a significant portion of the MRR for the project plus available SPIFF!
It is time for MSPs to stop the practice of letting go of their existing clients because they fail to fulfill the clients’ needs. MSPs also should no longer give revenue away to a third party and avoid the risk of competitors entering your customer base. Stop saying, “They used to be one of our clients.”