MSPs: Benefits of Working with a Telecom Master Agent
We know that Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have a full workload.
Most MSPs must constantly juggle many priorities at once, from handling security, software, servers, support, onboarding… the list goes on. Any additions to your plate are often a big ask.
But one area of service you may not be properly attending to is your client’s telecom services - their Internet and telephone providers.
If you don’t have a rock-solid solution for phones and Internet for your clients, you could be losing out on a significant recurring revenue stream.
Just as MSPs can benefit from working with managed print services providers, they can also benefit from working with a telecommunications provider - A.K.A., a “master agent.”
Print Partner is the preferred print vendor for hundreds of MSPs nationwide, providing your clients with top-level managed print services. We aim to provide premium content to educate our MSP readers and make their businesses run as efficiently as possible. And we believe that working with a master agent can help you achieve that goal!
In this article, we’ll review what a master agent is and how your MSP can use them to provide additional value to your clients while generating revenue for your company.
To create this content, we collaborated with Sandler Partners, an organization that allows MSPs to outsource their client’s selection of phone and Internet services while generating recurring revenue on referrals, similar to how Print Partner operates. As fellow problem-solvers for the MSP community, we are proud to collaborate with them on this content.
What is a Telecom Services Master Agent?
Back in the day, “Master Agent” was the only name for this type of partner. But over the past decade, many new names have popped up. Some call them Telecom Partners, while others call them Technology Services Distributors.
But whatever you decide rolls off the tongue best, their purpose is clear: provide your clients with the right-fit Internet, phone, and connectivity services.
Master agents are responsible for helping their referral partners navigate the not-so-enjoyable process of locating and researching the best telecom service for their customers.
Once a service has been sold, they collaborate with the referral partner to ensure it’s deployed properly. From there, they collaborate as needed on support, offering shortcuts to tier III vendor support.
Why Work with a Master Agent?
Print Partner decided to collaborate with Sandler Partners on this article because many of the benefits they offer to MSPs are 100% aligned with our value proposition. Both Print Partner and Sandler want to add revenue to our MSP partners while simplifying their jobs.
Let’s review some core benefits of working with a master agent.
1. Streamlined Vendor Selection Process
How often has a client come to you with the following question: “I’m opening up a new location. I need help setting up the Internet and phones. What should I do?”
When presented with this inquiry, you have a few options.
Option A: Do It Yourself
When your MSP chooses to provide this help, you’ll have to take the time to research which of the major telecom providers can service the new location, like AT&T, Spectrum, etc.
You then call each of them, tell them your client needs X, Y, and Z, get the quotes, put them in a spreadsheet, and then guide your customer through the selection process.
This is a massive time suck!
And are you even getting paid to do this? If so, it’s probably not enough.
Option B: Work with a Master Agent
Let’s consider how things would go if you outsource the above experience.
With a master agent like Sandler, you can register the opportunity in their portal, let the master agent handle the entire vendor selection process on your behalf, and present your customer with the best options. After a choice is made, the master agent will place the order.
They will also white-label their sales team on behalf of your MSP… You can schedule a discovery call with your customer and invite the master agent to “join your team” for the call.
They will represent your MSP, and you can introduce them as your telecom specialist.
You’ve achieved the same/similar result but saved yourself a lot of time doing something that you’re not an expert at. You’ve also generated a recurring revenue stream, A.K.A. “mailbox money,” for the lifetime of that agreement.
You’ve also made your MSP look great to your customer because the process was handled efficiently and timely.
2. Collaborative Service and Support
Long after the initial installation of telecom services, having a master agent can benefit your service process.
Let’s consider the two scenarios above from a support perspective. Suppose the telecom service you set up fails in a fantastic way, and your team is on the hook to resolve it ASAP.
Option A: Support Without a Master Agent
When you don’t have an ally to help escalate issues with the vendor, your front line or NOC team has one option: call the main phone number for whichever vendor and grind through the issue.
If support is quality, great! If support is lacking, you’re stuck with resources and escalation paths the vendor has made available. If you call on behalf of a virtual “nobody” account generating piddly income for the vendor, you will get treated as such.
Working directly with a supplier can lead to frustrating, long turnaround times for support tickets to be solved, creating tension between you and your client.
Calling 1-800 numbers for support is never fun.
Option B: Support with a Master Agent
Let’s explore the alternative: you deliver network and phone support to your client by working with a master agent. A service delivery issue occurs that downs the network, and your team is on point to resolve it ASAP.
Your team should still start the service request directly with the vendor - they are the resource that can most quickly resolve a simple issue. It’s when things start to drag out, and you’re unable to get answers or progress that the relationship with a master agent comes into play.
Place a call to your master agent, and let them know the situation. Give them the vendor name and the service ticket number. Let their team connect with higher-level support resources that can grant you more visibility into what’s actually going on and the path to resolution.
Instead of being a virtual nobody account, you’re working through the power of a master agent and their service delivery team who interacts with these vendors all day, and have weight behind their requests.
By working with a master agent, you can access the right tier of support for your customer with minimal effort.
This won’t always make a difference in turnaround times - if someone dug a shovel through a building’s fiber connection, you’ll likely have the same amount of downtime with or without a master agent. But having clarity into what’s going on is worth everything when reporting back to your customer, and improves your credibility and brand.
3. Create an Additional Recurring Revenue Stream
Let’s revisit the previous example: your client is opening up a new location for the business, and they need your help setting up Internet and phones.
If you refer your client directly to a vendor, chances are you won’t see a dime of that deal.
As your clients grow, you’ll consistently leave money on the table whenever a new client spreads their wings and opens up new locations.
So don’t do that, and grow alongside your clients!
When you work with a master agent, they will pay you for referrals.
The amounts they pay you vary depending on the company you work with and the level of work you rely on them for.
If you hand over a referral to a master agent and let them handle everything about the sale, you will get less commission and recurring revenue. This is the hands-off approach where your MSP just passes over the opportunity.
You can increase your commission revenue by ordering the service directly through the tools in your master agent’s portal, if you already know what services your client needs or if you are inclined to put more time and effort into the service selection process.
Master agents are more than happy to let you do the discovery and selling to your customer in exchange for a higher payout.
Once a deal closes, your MSP will often receive what we call in the business mailbox money - a check your master agent sends you in the mail every month the client receives service just for setting up the initial deal.
Many MSP owners receive checks for these deals years after the sale, making this an easy, low-maintenance side hustle.
To learn more about other ways to increase your MSP’s profits, read: Top 5 Ways to Increase MSP Profitability in 2023
Print Partner, Sandler Partners, and MSP Solutions
Supplementing your MSP’s current service suite with a telecom services master agent gives your MSP a leg up on the competition.
You can provide your clients with top-level service while creating additional revenue for your business for minimal effort - just hand off telecom services to your agent, and they’ll handle the rest.
After reading this article, we hope you understand the benefits of working with a telecom partner and why it can be a viable and lucrative option for many MSPs.
If you want to find a master agent, consider our partner, Sandler Partners!
Sandler offers full sales support to their MSP partners’ clients and functions as a resource for your MSP.
When your client needs help with phones and networks, Sandler will handle the installation, coordinate with suppliers, pay you for the referral, and collaborate on support moving forward. They are a viable partner for any MSP who doesn’t currently have a telecom solution.
Much like telecom services, many MSPs don’t have print solutions - and that’s where we come in!
When you work with Print Partner, we function similarly to a master agent but for print. You refer business to us, and our parent company, Green Office Partner, takes complete ownership of their print fleet for service and support.
We’ll then pay you at least $250 per introduction, plus $1,000 per copier sold and 5% on clients’ lifetime print allotment.
If you want to make recurring revenue for your business while creating value for your clients, consider partnering with us, a Print Partner you can trust.