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Master Agents: The Good and the Bad
By Patrick Oborn
**Editor's Note: The author wrote this in response to a Feb. 11 Channel Partners blog written by TelecomMedic's Bill Leutzinger, titled "No Way Masters Should Require Quotas."
There are two types of "masters" out there. First, there are those who just take orders and pay you a commission (i.e.: contract aggregators). If you don't want anything more than dang near 100 percent pass-through, those are your best options. (Don't worry – I won't mention any names.)
The other type of master is one who will invest in you, give you a dedicated support resource, write software you can use to instantly qualify/price opportunities, assist you with your lead-generation plan, help you spend your marketing dollars wisely, introduce you to VARs in your area, and even request carrier MDF funds for you to use, not to mention project-managing your larger deals and ensuring you are paid correctly. They may even have an annual conference and a trip to an exotic destination built into their comp plan. If this type of a master has the audacity to require a minimum level of commitment from its partners who think these things really do add value, then this is the type of master you want. It's all about helping you WIN (and find) more deals. If you can do this without any help, then you don't need this "full service" master agent.
Each partner is different. Each has varying support needs. Just like not all consumers buy in the same way (Wal-Mart vs. Nordstrom), each agent has to decide what type of support they'll need. With a greater support requirement comes a greater expectation of production from said partner (to support the greater cost). Sometimes that comes in the form of a quota, other times its in the form of a handshake agreement. Either way, commitment should not be looked down upon if true value is flowing in both directions.
Patrick Oborn is founder of Salt Lake City-based master agency Telarus.