As agent programs go, there are many variations on the theme, but one company is borrowing a model from the retail industry and creating a franchise option for agents. Telcombrokers, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based agency, has had an informal franchise model for several years with a few agents that otherwise would have been subagents. Now, the company has stepped up its back office and is formally launching the option to the agent community.
Dominic Antonini, president of Telcombrokers, says franchisees can use Telcombrokers name and logo and its office systems, including e-mail addresses and an extension on the companys phone system. This past spring, the company implemented a custom version of the sales automation software from Masterstream Software (also known as Salestream Software Inc.) that allows partitioned views of customer bases and subagents, so that franchisees can leverage the embedded proposal generation, contact-management and order-tracking tools as if they licensed the software themselves.
Unlike typical franchise programs, there are no upfront licensing fees. In fact, agents get a higher commission percentage. The catch? Franchisees must agree to exclusivity.
Antonini likes the franchise model because it ensures customers get the same experience no matter which subagent is representing Telcombrokers. In addition, it helps the agents with key issues, such as overhead and lack of brand identity. The idea is its turnkey, plus the agents have more credibility with a bigger image, he says, noting in addition to its office infrastructure, which is difficult for an independent agent to replicate, Telcombrokers has established customers and letters of reference.
DaVinci Communications Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., has been a franchisee for Telcombrokers since 2002. The company started in 2000 as an outgrowth of another business leasing telecom hardware and software. DaVinci President Louis Najera says the company became an agent for a number of carriers, but after the telecom bust, establishing and maintaining carrier relationships required navigating through dangerous waters, making Telcombrokers franchise offer attractive.
Working with Telcombrokers, says Najera, allowed DaVinci to focus on its core business of selling. This model allowed us to grow our book of business without having to negotiate pricing and, more importantly, critical terms and conditions with carriers, he says. He adds that leveraging Telcombrokers Web presence, customer list and references has been helpful to building its business.
Today, he says, DaVinci is promoting its own brand and image, and Telcombrokers is supporting that transition. In fact, says Najera, the new Masterstream software uses DaVincis logo when generating quotes. Salestreams ability to track orders from paperwork request to provisioning status to commission tracking is invaluable. It saves time and is a much more efficient process, he adds.
|DaVinci Communications Inc. www.davincicomm.com
Masterstream Software www.salestreamsoft.com