Since 2003, Buckeye Telecom has been a premier Master Agent for telecom services such as Internet, Data, Security, and Managed Services. Buckeye simplifies the telecom purchasing experience for our customers with a truly un-bias consultative sales approach as well as award winning pre-sales and post-sales support.
Once the decision to become an independent sales agent has been made, the next decision is whether to go it alone and contract directly with the carriers or contract with an established master agent. This question is best answered by first understanding that today's environment requires a consultative sales approach. The agent strives to understand the prospects needs and suggests several solutions from different carriers to fill those needs. The customer is given a choice without the hassle of dealing with multiple sales people.
In order to become a solution seller, going it alone then requires contracting with several carriers. Carrier contracts require revenue commitments and typically pay higher commissions with larger volume sales. Conversely, low monthly commitments produce low commissions. In contrast, a large master agent with an established base of business is capable of paying a sub-agent a larger commission with lower revenue commitments than the agent would receive from a direct agreement with the carrier. The larger master agents also represent a number of carriers, each with dedicated sales support teams. Thus, contracting with a master agent provides maximum flexibility -- an important criterion when considering the current level of uncertainty in the marketplace.
Customers generally like dealing with the carrier reps because they feel they are dealing with a well trained representative looking out for their best interest. What they don't realize is the carrier agents have access to the same level of training and are often required to gain carrier certification.
Direct carrier reps are concerned with meeting their short term monthly sales quota to ensure continued employment. They achieve this by maximizing the customer's monthly dollar commitment and contract term. The carrier rep may not be able to offer the correct product or service to fill the customers' needs because many carriers do not have a complete suite of services. The rep ends up selling services that may create inefficiencies within the customers' core business. The carrier rep doesn't generally offer the latest sales promotion until the sale looks like it may not close. Once the sale is closed, the direct rep gets no compensation for support and directs the customer to the carrier 800 number.
Conversely, agents are concerned about their long term viability as an independent company. They build a strong foundation of customers by offering honest evaluations and the best solutions to meet their client's needs.' The agent maintains a satisfied client base through continued support and efficient solutions. In turn, the customer looks to the agent for recommendations each time the carrier contract expires.
Many carriers recognize the importance of their agent sales force and allow 'channel neutral' sales where an agent and direct rep work together to meet customers’ needs. This works to the added benefit of the customer in that they receive honest evaluations and get the reassurance of working directly with the carrier.
The customer signs a standard contract directly with the carrier of their choice. Billing comes directly from the carrier, as do provisioning, support, and trouble tickets.
The agent helps the customer find the best carrier to meet their needs then works with the carrier to generate the appropriate contracts. Agents add a conduit for the customer to reach the right carrier representatives to quickly resolve any issues that may arise. Agents provide an additional layer of customer support when needed.
The customer benefits from an agent initiated sale in that they gain an additional layer of free customer support. Customers can call the carriers directly to rectify problems in the same manor if they used carrier personnel for the sale. They can also leverage the agent to gain access to additional carrier support personnel in the event their efforts with the carrier toll free support staff do not rectify problems.
In many cases, the carrier agent channel has dedicated customer support personnel. Buckeye is on a first name bases with many of the carriers support staff and brings this level of service to our agent base and their clients.