In 1995 Rick Sheldon, co-owner of master agency Intelisys, experienced a light bulb moment -- a way to streamline the chaotic and costly process of running telecom commissions. His big idea finally was made real when RPM Telco was born in March 2003.
This year marks the 10th anniversary for RPM Telco, which is now the premier commission-tracking system for the telecom agent community. Intelisys and RPM Software celebrated the milestone at Channel Connect 2013, Intelisys' annual partner summit held Oct. 9-11 in San Francisco.
Here's their story as told to Angela Leavitt of Mojo Marketing for Channel Partners:
As any master agency can tell you, commissions are essential to their business. Unfortunately, complicated contracts and unique situations are the reality of the industry. However, companies that get commissions right are able to shift their focus to more strategic needs – like growing their own business.
“Until you get commission payments right, nothing else matters," said Sheldon. “For your business to be successful, you have to do a lot of things right, and you have to do commissions exceptionally right. If you do, you build good will and trust with the people upon whom your business is built. And then more people want to do business with you."
Back in 1995, the commission payment function in the industry was mostly manual; there was very little automation at all.
At first, Sheldon ran Intelisys’ commissioning function using Microsoft Excel, but in 1996, he moved the function moved to Microsoft Access, where he built in as many automated functions as possible over the next several years. Still, to process the business of just 10-15 carriers, he would run endless calculations before manually preparing as many as 150 checks -- a process that would take up to five full days. This clearly was not scalable.
Sheldon recognized the severity of the problem. By 2001, the issue came to a head. Intelisys was growing rapidly due in part to telecom financial meltdown which had carriers downsizing their sales forces and in need of feet on the street; as a result, Intelisys’ recruiting grew tenfold annually.