EarthLink Business has rolled out new agent agreements now that it has integrated four legacy companies – New Edge Networks, Deltacom, One Communications and STS Telecom – into one unit. The individual companies’ contracts only allowed partners to sell specific products in a specific area; the updated version lets agents sell all EarthLink Business services throughout the country.
Of course, the new contract also comes with some financial changes. But Cardi Prinzi, executive vice president of marketing for EarthLink Business, said partners have indicated the terms are fair. For starters, EarthLink Business is not revamping the clauses affecting business sold under New Edge, Deltacom, One or STS. Only new sales are impacted by requirements such as annual sales commitments, which Prinzi said are typical. And, in the case of EarthLink Business, the quotas “are not onerous," he said. However, if a partner doesn’t meet the agreed-upon number, EarthLink Business may reduce commission percentages.
“At the end of the first year, if agents don’t make the sales commitment, we have the option to bring the commission rate down for any new business from that point forward," Prinzi said. Yet, if a partner turns around and meets quotas over the following year, EarthLink Business may increase percentages again. And for agents who exceed expectations each year, commissions are likely to continue climbing. “The more they sell, the more they can move up and get a higher percentage," said Prinzi.
Partners seem to be on board with the changes. Indeed, Telephony Partners and X4 Solutions are the first master agents to sign the new EarthLink Business terms. And a large master agent in the Southeast already had closed five deals for EarthLink Business before signing the contract. Prinzi said EarthLink Business was in the last stages of negotiations with remaining agents, noting that feedback has been positive. In fact, he said, a lot of masters “wanted teeth" in the new contract. That’s because “the smaller guys that don’t hit their sales commitments make it tougher for everybody in the business," said Prinzi.
Overall, EarthLink Business needed to get agents out from under separate agreements that limited their geographical reach. Soon, EarthLink Business partners will sell the same hosted VoIP service in Boston, for example, as they can in the Pacific Northwest. “We wanted to get a lot of the agents, particularly larger masters, back to selling a nationwide footprint," Prinzi said. So Telephony Partners, for example, no longer is restricted to focusing on the Southeast.